Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Fabric of Inspiration

In 2007 a friend sent me some specialty watercolors made by LuminArte Inc., which I started playing with while painting. One of the first pieces I painted with them was this one (which I then sent to the friend, as thanks):



I get mildly obsessed with colors and patterns, and since 2007 I've painted the same concept over and over -- a tower, towers, castle or ruins made of opal bricks -- like this one I mentioned back in May:



Recently I was at my favorite fabric store, looking for a dark green batik to finish a holiday project, and I pulled about twelve different bolts out to compare colors when I found one bolt with about two yards of this fabric on it stuck in the back of the display cabinet:



I've been in that store at least fifty times over the last two years, and have never seen this fabric in the past. I've never seen this fabric before in my life -- and I've been pretty much painting it nonstop since 2007. So either I've become a fabric psychic, this is one cosmic coincidence, or the universe has been trying to tell me something.

I bought the fabric (how could I even resist?) brought it home and put it on the sewing table. Immediately I began cutting it and making part of it into a book bag -- it just wanted to be a quilted book bag. The rest of the yardage I hung on the wall in my office until the universe figures out what it wants me to make out of it.

I know my watercolor paintings aren't going to set the world on fire, but I'm a little better with fabric. The bag (almost finished) is turning out nicely. The fabric sings through my sewing machine. It pairs beautifully with this deep amethyst broadcloth that I'm using to line the bag. It dances in front of my eyes. It's even started telling me stories I need to write. I can only work on it an hour a day or inspiration intoxication would hit me and I wouldn't leave the sewing table until someone dragged me away.

This is what writing is like for me -- why I don't talk about this part of it very often. When you try to explain your inspiration, or your process, or your joy in creation to others, it generally sounds like this. Like you're a little nuts. And writing is like having an entire store filled with hundreds of bolts of fabric in your head that you've been painting for years before you even saw them or tried to make something out of them.

Whatever anyone says about the fabric of my inspiration, it came to me. It belongs to me, but it's also up to me to make something out of it. Something that makes me deserve finding it and having it. When that work is finished, then I can show it to the world, and hopefully the job I do is good enough that they'll see what I saw, and feel what I felt, and know what I knew.

(Btw, whoever wins the auction for my Darkyn novels will receive them in the book bag I'm making with this fabric. Seems like the perfect thing to do with it.)

22 comments:

  1. Btw, whoever wins the auction for my Darkyn novels will receive them in the book bag I'm making with this fabric. Seems like the perfect thing to do with it

    Well dammit...I really wanted the Stardoc set and was considering bidding on that. The series is near and dear to my nerdy heart.

    You comment, however, is making me seriously reconsider and bid on the Darkyn set instead.

    I've got all the books in both series, and my copy of Twilight Fall is a signed ARC that I won as part of another charity auction. Hmmm...decisions, decisions.

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  2. **I know my watercolor paintings aren't going to set the world on fire, but I'm a little better with fabric.**

    I don't know. I am not big on jewel tones in paintings. I prefer the darker, stark paintings that invoke some kind of bleak, empty feeling in me (talk about a masochist!) but these just caught my eye. I think they're wonderful and I think part of that is, I like to use the occasional batik in my quilts (which are not stark and bleak).

    Will you post a pic of the bag when you're done? I'd love to see the finished piece.

    theo

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  3. I want the bag. I got all the books, too. And I want that bag...lol.

    But I dunno if I'm going to go head to head with Emmy on an auction-I already know what kinda money that chick will plunk out.

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  4. Well, it's at $129 for the next bid now, and who knows how far it's going to go, but if Lynn puts up a pic of that bag too...

    theo

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  5. I think your watercolors are beautiful - they make me think of another, magical world.

    And I'm with theo ~ would love to see a pic of the bag when you're done.

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  6. LOLZ @ Shi

    Now, now darling...it's for a good cause. We must help when we can.

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  7. I know what you mean. I have an obsession with colors, fabric, books, watercolors, writing.

    All of these are like a 'drug' that gives such a great feeling of well-being. And yet that does not even come close to describing it. Maybe it should not be described. Maybe it is only for us to know, to feel, to live.

    Thanks Lynn...I enjoyed sharing in your 'feeling' (lack of better word). It is good knowing others understand.

    Good luck everyone on the bidding.

    Take care and Be Well.

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  8. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Wherever you get your inspiration from, I am grateful for it. Keep up the good work! ~Jen

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  9. karmelrio10:49 AM

    I never would've have been able to cut into that fabric, Lynn. It's gorgeous.

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  10. I really like your watercolors. They are beautiful. Love the fabric for the bag too!

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  11. Beautiful work! May we all go a little nuts, with results like this.

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  12. Keita Haruka1:35 PM

    Hehe. I really enjoy hearing what inspires artists to create what they do. To this day, my partner won't tell me what inspires him...and knowing him like I do...I'm not sure I want to know. My own inspiration is is far less esoteric. Thanks for sharing! It does make us "artists" sound less like basketcases. :P

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  13. Your watercolors are very pretty. The whole thing with the fabric is a little creepy, but cool nevertheless.

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  14. Emmy wrote: I really wanted the Stardoc set and was considering bidding on that. The series is near and dear to my nerdy heart.

    Thank you for the kind words. Any bid at all is much appreciated.

    Theo wrote: Will you post a pic of the bag when you're done? I'd love to see the finished piece.

    Sure. If all goes well, I should have it finished this weekend, so I'll take some shots and post them.

    I didn't know you quilted, Theo; how cool. I just won second place in my guild's holiday challenge with this little piece (the lady who won first place did a gorgeous dollhouse/mini-quilt that is 2" X 2-1/2". I think the patches are barely 1/16".)

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  15. Shiloh wrote: But I dunno if I'm going to go head to head with Emmy on an auction-I already know what kinda money that chick will plunk out.

    Emmy's generosity is becoming blogosphere legend. :)

    Leslie wrote: I think your watercolors are beautiful - they make me think of another, magical world.

    Thank you, that's very kind of you to say. I wish I could paint what I see in my mind. But I love what I manage to get out anyway. It's more the paint than anything. The LuminArte watercolors have tiny bits of mica or something reflective in them that catch the light -- and when you paint with them, they spread out over the paper like liquid fairy dust.

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  16. Debra wrote: All of these are like a 'drug' that gives such a great feeling of well-being. And yet that does not even come close to describing it. Maybe it should not be described. Maybe it is only for us to know, to feel, to live.

    I think you're right, Debra. I always feel uncomfortable when I try to talk about it (and not just because I know how very strange this post will sound to people who don't experience the same thing.) Maybe it's me also being superstitious, but I think if you examine it or share it with others too much, you can seriously damage or even lose it. Some things are meant to be kept guarded and private.

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  17. Jen wrote: Wherever you get your inspiration from, I am grateful for it. Keep up the good work!

    Thank you, ma'am. I will do my best.

    karmelrio wrote: I never would've have been able to cut into that fabric, Lynn. It's gorgeous.

    It took a minute for me to get up the nerve, but it was practically shrieking at me to get to work on it, so in the end I just took a deep breath and cut. Batik fabrics have this wonderful sturdiness to them (leftover from the dyeing process, I think) that make them a bit easier to cut up than a more fragile material like silk.

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  18. Liza wrote: I really like your watercolors.

    Thank you. I have a lot of fun with them -- probably a selfish indulgence on my part, but I think we all need those.

    ScrappyPam wrote: May we all go a little nuts, with results like this.

    It was a bit Twilight Zone-ish, but I think it will all make sense in the end.

    Keita wrote: To this day, my partner won't tell me what inspires him...and knowing him like I do...I'm not sure I want to know.

    I have a friend like that who composes music. Very beautiful but dark stuff. And while I'm tempted sometimes to ask what he's thinking when he writes it, I think I'll cling to the mystery instead.

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  19. Karin wrote: Your watercolors are very pretty. The whole thing with the fabric is a little creepy, but cool nevertheless.

    Thank you -- and I have to admit, I'm glad it happened, even though I'm still a little freaked out about it.

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  20. Lynn, I posted my comment on your treasure pouch on that page. I LOVE it though! :)

    Thanks for posting it.

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  21. Karmelrio1:21 PM

    Lynn, your castle/brick motif quilts remind me of the work of quilter Ricky Tims - particularly this one:

    http://rickytims.com/images/Passage_for_web.jpg

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  22. Okay, that's really weird about the fabric. The parallel doesn't exist just in your head either as the paintings do show the same effect. But really, you've got artistic talent as well as writing. You shouldn't talk your painting's down. They're beautiful, and though it's not as clear because of the pictures, they seem to have depth, which is what I look for in artwork...it gets deeper every time you look at it.

    And I have to laugh about the inspiration. In this crowd, you're probably pretty safe putting up a post like that. I'll bet most of us just nodded our heads and said uh huh :).

    Enjoy your cloth. I have some beautiful watercolor quarters that I haven't found the right place for, but I like to look at them every once in a while. You make me want to dig them out. Maybe they'll give me inspiration too :D.

    Cheers,
    Margaret

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