Oh, the Places You’ve Been! Crafting Inspiration from Place
We as humans have long had history of making maps. Part of it obviously comes from the need to find our way around, but there is another aspect to charting where we have been that has always resonated with me. It’s the idea of creating something as a declaration to a place that has meaning to you. I was here, and I want the world to know.
As makers this often translates into our work, whether we realize it or not. So, why not take a moment to contemplate what place means to you as a crafter? Follow along as we explore how others have incorporated it into their work.
If you’re a spinner, take a look at Kate Larson’s post about her handspun yarn journal. In it, she describes how to record different aspects of a location for future inspiration; from taking photographs to collecting pamphlets and even collecting small items,she evokes the feelings of the places she’s been.
If you’re a crocheter, look for patterns that were inspired by or look like they were inspired by a place important to you. When naming what would ultimately become the Ghost Ranch Shawlette, Lisa Shroyer saw a connection in the pattern to Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in New Mexico. One of our online content team members Jenn Rein was even so inspired, she brought her Ghost Ranch Shawlette on a trip to New Mexico with her!
If you’re a knitter, you can design an entire collection inspired by place! Take, for example, Free Spirit Knits. All of author Anne Podlesak’s designs draw inspiration from different aspects of the high desert in the American Southwest, one of my favorites being the San Juans sweater. As someone who has spent time in the San Juan Mountains, I love that the steely gray and white pattern of the sweater is reminiscent of the stony jagged peaks. It’s a subtle yet meaningful way to carry inspiration of a place with you wherever you go.
Or, if you are a weaver like me, you can learn a new weaving technique to help you map a location. In one of my pieces from college, I wanted to explore others’ perception of place. I did so by allowing my best friend Kelly to pick a color palette that reminded her of one of her favorite places, the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. I then used those colors to dye a piece I made using woven shibori. After that, I embroidered a map of the waterways in that region over the weaving and let the colors create their own landscape through it.
No matter what your craft is, I urge you to contemplate place and how it influences your work. It’s a seemingly endless source of inspiration, and without sounding too “floofy” about it, Confucius did say, “And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.”