archive for January 24th, 2007
honestly, this isn’t as o/t as it may at first appear. i was once (briefly) an archaeologist and have always found design inspiration in the ancient world. i was just reminded how drawn i am to the motifs on british celtic coins, in particular the horses. many of these coins were made in imitation of greek coins (the gold stater of philip II of macedon, in particular):
over time the designs evolved further and further from the original, becoming progresively more abstract:
you can still see the chariot wheel in both my examples. the cross/ear of corn type pattern on the obverse is derived from philip’s laurel wreath (and ears?).
i was searching for a book with plenty of illustrations to use as a design reference when i came across the ultimate resource; the celtic coin index online. there are thousands of images, you can browse by tribe and every image is accompanied by comprehensive information on its provenance, composition etc.
after my recent whinging i decided to take myself in hand and set out to try to find affordable sources of fabric. old bedding seems to sell fairly cheaply here and you get a useable amount of fabric (as opposed to clothing, which usually has way too many seams and awkward shaped pieces to make it worthwhile dismantling). if you can stomach some poly with your cotton you can get your hands on some cracking vintage prints.
the above aren’t all vintage; the far left is current stock ikea but display damaged so a bargain, i got a single duvet cover plus pillowcases and the print is a smaller sale on the cover, which i love. some of these are simple stash building, others already have destinies. M and i are both keen to experiment with pillowcase dresses for the summer. she really wants a dress out of the balloon fabric (a duvet cover with a rather fetching reverse) which i think i’m going to find quite a challenge
highly recommends a crochet book you have to sit up and take notice. i found one online for a very reasonable price (if you’re trying to track down an affordable copy don’t despair!) and snapped it up. i haven’t yet had a chance to settle down for a proper read, but i love that it gives you the real nitty-gritty knowledge that informs a real understanding of the structure of a crochet piece.
i love vintage craft books, i love having a less-well-known source of inspiration. that’s not saying that following a project word for word from a book no-one’s heard of has any greater merit than doing the same from stitch n bitch or knitty (and not knocking that, particularly as a way to pick up new skills, or as simple relaxation). but it offers an alternative aesthetic, as well as techniques that may have been overlooked by modern authors.
i was pretty excited when i heard via inaminuteago that a 1912 embroidery manual – embroidery and tapestry weaving by grace christie – had been added to the guttenberg project. and oh how disappointed i was when i realised that guttenberg doesn’t support illustrations. i mean how much use is that? i’m not a particularly visual learner, i like words (in case you hadn’t guessed ), but really, an embroidery manual without pictures?
i’ve also been browsing the art&design books on ebay and have found a few crackers, though they’ll have to wait for payday. i feel that going back to original sources like this forces creativity – the work isn’t done for you, you have to translate your inspiration into whichever medium you’re working. it’s reawakened my interest in acquiring a more systematic art education rather than the bits i’ve picked up piecemeal over the years. i still have half a shelf-full of art history books on extended loan that haven’t been read and are due back soon, so i’m going to try to work my way through them. now i just have to stop myself falling asleep in the middle of the greek classical period…