Inspiration is kind of a hard one to pin down for me, because it's incredibly varied and I can't always easily explain the link it has to the things I make. In my younger days, I used to collect mountains of magazines, but now simply spend too much time poking around online for some spark that will set me off on a new project. As I said, the link isn't always obvious: the faded tones of an old advertisement might inspire the colour scheme for a new sweater, or a photo of a ceramic piece might trigger the desire to track down a particular shape of button. Inspiration: it's weird and unpredictable! Nonetheless, I've tried to arrange a few coherent bits for my top 5 inspirations from the past year:
Menswear - I could write a lot of easily contradicted generalizations about why menswear appeals to me more than womenswear (it's more practical, more wearable, less trendy, more understated, etc etc), but the simple fact is I find it easier to picture myself wearing menswear styles than those directed at and modeled by women. Is it because menswear lacks many of the unnecessary details that women's clothes (and sewing patterns) are encumbered with, or is it just that skirts and dresses are not my thing? Who can tell. At any rate, I find most menswear, particularly the coats and shirts, to be endlessly inspiring. Also, any excuse to post a picture of Yuri Pleskun will always be fine by me.
Independent Pattern Designers - If for nothing else, the internet will always be a great thing to me because it has made it possible to access independent pattern companies all over the world, and even download patterns. Growing up, all I had to choose from were the Big Four patterns available at the local Fabricland, and it's a wonder my small-town, teenage goth self was able to stay clothed at all! For whatever reason, many indie designers seem a little closer to their clientele in terms of understanding what makes a great pattern, and seem to take more care in creating patterns with good instructions and fit (there are always exceptions to this, but compared to the weirdness of Big Four patterns, indie pattern-makers are doing alright). All I can say is, keep 'em coming!
Mamma Andersson - Mamma Andersson is a Swedish painter whose work I first came across when perusing this blog, and I have loved her work ever since. Her work reminds me a little of Peter Doig's (another painter I love), but the subject matter seems a little less remote and nostalgic, more rooted in the everyday now. I have yet to actually stand in front of one of her paintings, and I can't even afford any of her art books, but I can honestly say that if I ever actually pick up a paintbrush again, it will be because of this amazing lady.
Margaret Howell - Yet another "twice removed" source of inspiration, due to the fact that I have never been inside an MH store, let alone owned a piece from any of her collections. That said, the simplicity and classic nature of her designs are endlessly inspirational, not to mention the colours and functionality. Her clothes are like blank canvases: relatively easy to pattern-match and whip up yourself, either as is or with something of your own added in. Also, I appreciate that her clothes are intended for people who actually move, and that they're not geared towards any specific age demographic (ie: 25 and under).
Beach Colours - This year more than any year previous, I've started to see a running theme in the colours I gravitate to. Now that my "quick, dye everything black!" days are behind me, I tend to prefer the kind of muted tones you'd find on any beach in the Pacific Northwest: soft grays and dull blues, charcoal and the mustard-red of iron oxide. This palette has the added benefit of being subtle enough to allow for greater combinations than brighter, but more restrictive shades.
Whew, only one more top 5 list to go, and it's done! Thanks to everyone who has visited and commented so far...it's been a great opportunity for me to check out some new blogs :)