Let your hook always be cast. In the pool where you least expect it will be fish
In the past I've written about essential tools for feral knitters: garment design, charts, yarn. But I've forgotten to talk about the resource I rely on just as often: my inspiration journal.
"Journaling" is a big business these days. I see glossy magazines on the newsstand and intimidating books on the Barnes & Noble shelves. Keeping a journal would seem to be a full-time job, to be tackled only by those with plenty of time, money, and god-given talent. Others need not apply.
A few years ago, I decided to ignore all that noise--I needed a way to store and access the many odd clippings and notes I'd accumulated along the way. A large, sturdy, hardcover, spiral-bound 9 x 12 sketchbook proved to be the perfect size (I can't remember who made the one I use or where I bought it, but this400 series Strathmore sketchbook sounds like the one). Like swatching, the goal is not a perfect journal--the goal is a useful tool. With that in mind, I just began pasting in clippings of anything that inspired me. These might be colors in ads or catalogs, postcards of artists I admire, sketches I've drawn while sitting in waiting rooms pondering garment shapes or log cabin square variants, quotes and poems that inspire me, and evocative phrases ("all that the rain promises"). I find material in many different places, but magazines and art catalogs are the best source--National Geographic, Oprah, Smithsonian. Library magazine exchanges or book sales are a wonderful source (I have a love of magazines that could bankrupt me if I didn't control it!). I tried not to get obsessive about making the page look good or even determining whether the particular image was "worth" keeping.
Random pages from my journal:
As time goes on, my journal becomes more and more valuable to me. What interests me most is the unconscious preferences that are revealed when I leaf through the pages: over and over again I am drawn to blue-green/orange combinations and photos of roses, for example.
My journal would not be the first thing I would save if the house were burning down, but I'd definitely grab it on the second dash into the flaming structure!
There are no right answers. But there is a right question. It's the one that rubs up against our self-righteousness, resistance, and fears.... When you ask yourself, "Why not?" you may find yourself in motion, across a vivid and unpredictable landscape, over impossible mountains and beyond the water's edge, where you surprise yourself, once and for all, by getting wet.
~Karen Maezen Miller, in Momma Zen