People ask me all the time where I get the inspiration for my designs. I hesitate to reply with the same old cliche, "I'm inspired by everything around me," because it's so much more than that! A more appropriate answer would include everything I've seen, done, or heard of-- ever.
I'm amazed sometimes how little bits of this and that from my past will creep into my work. Even if I didn't correlate the relationship at the moment of inspiration, I think it's important to try to recognize the connection. Knowing where my inspiration comes from, helps me better talk about my work.
When I started designing the collection for my knitscene feature (pictured above), I didn't think about a source of inspiration. I just started to draw. Looking back with a little perspective, it's plain for me to see that this collection draws inspiration in part from the bold design aesthetics of Navajo rugs and Native American pottery. Thinking about this, I realize that these strong geometric and linear motifs have been present in much of my work, often with an added vintage flair.
Being from Oklahoma, it was an easy family vacation to drive out to New Mexico. My parents began collecting Navajo rugs and Native American pottery on our trips. I remember visiting the rug shops in the outskirts of Santa Fe and Taos. The rooms had that New Mexico smell; pinion or cedar or something woodsy like that, mixed with that dusty old wool scent. I'd walk through the aisles, grazing my hands along the waist high stacks of rugs, feeling the channels of coarse wool under my fingertips.
This is my adorable mother, posing with a painted portrait of me as a child by artist Kathleen Jardine. You can see in the scene she chose to include part of her rug and pottery collection. Also interesting to note, I'm seated in a chair that was designed by my father, cutting out hand-drawn paper dolls.
These are a few pieces from my miniature pot collection. As a child, my parents encouraged this odd little hobby. I think this was mostly to keep me from totally losing-it on the long, torturous car rides in the back seat with my menace of a big brother (don't worry, we're friends now!).
If you think about these adorable little pots, they are not unlike a knitted hat, turned upside-down. Looking at my Arbuckle hat, it's easy to see the relationship, don't you think?