Sunday, April 24, 2011

Artists inspiring other artists

It seems like there are a lot of artists out there but that's because so many of the people I know and love are artists of one sort or another. I think the truth is that artists might make up 10-15% of the general population but that is just a guess. I have not done any sort of actual research into this. I base this on things I notice when I am out and about in the world (at work, at the gym, out shopping). I am always surprised by people's reactions when they find out that I am an artist. They look at me like they are waiting for my other head to rise up out of my neck or shoulders. 

I mention this because I tend to forget that most people don't immerse themselves in art and the creative processes each and every day. Those are things I am beginning to take for granted. Thankfully. I no longer push those sorts of thoughts to the back of my brain. Now, I make sure that color, poetry, writing, and art are part of my everyday routine. And in doing so, I am talking to other artists every day--writers, photographers, cartoonists, graphic designers, other fiber artists, textile designers, knitters, musicians.  I am reading and listening to and observing their works. Their presence in my life pushes me to grow as an artist. 

I believe very strongly in artists helping other artists. Often this takes the form of doing what I can to help spread the word of their available works. Tweeting and re-tweeting PR stuff, links, liking and sharing on FB. But sometimes this also means being inspired by their works; translating their vision into my artistic language. That is how the Balticon colorways came to be. 

As an artist, I have my own favorite colors. I have traditional inspirational sources (nature in particular). But I found in thinking about paying homage to friends who are also creators (in this case, writers and podcasters) that I was forced to stretch my imagination and think about things in a different way. When you read a story, sometimes (as in the case of Alex White's "Gearheart") the author has included colorful descriptions; other times, there are integral elements of the story that evoke colors (as is the case in Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris's "Phoenix Rising").  Listening to the podcast versions of some of these also adds the element of voice and music. All of these things--words, voices, sounds--all blend together to give the person experiencing the work a particular feeling. It was that feeling that I wanted to capture, or translate, into color. My medium is fiber. Sock yarn specifically. 

The person who then buys these yarns that I have created based on my friends' works is then the next link in this chain of creativity. For then, you see, they will use my creations to make their own creations; perhaps socks, maybe gloves or gauntlets, or even a scarf or lacy shawl. What they make doesn't matter. That they create is what matters. Artists inspiring other artists inspiring even more artists...

If you are not already familiar with the works that I have used as inspiration for this series of colorways, please click on the links on the Balticon 2011 page and check out these amazing artists and their works. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.


  1. You are so fortunate to get to "play" with fiber as your work! I love designing, but so far I've only done free patterns just to get myself noticed! I wish I could just knit and create all day long...

  2. Alas, I have a day job too. I don't get to devote nearly enough time to any of my true loves (knitting, dyeing, designing, editing, photography...). I'd love to see your patterns.

  3. You are in luck! You should be able to get to my blog by clicking on my name and then navigate to the free pattern page.... don't day jobs stink?! lol!