I was reading a book from the library the other day called Living the Creative Life – Ideas and Inspiration from working artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery and found the following mentioned exercise interesting and wanted to share.
List everything, no matter how silly it seems. Maybe you were entranced by a particular colour you found in your grandmother’s basket of embroidery silks, or the pattern and sheen of a found bird’s feather.
What captured every bit of your attention?
After making your list, circle or highlight the ones that cause a little sliver of interest. These are the ones that still call you.
I’d love to know what fascinated you as a child.
I’ll start the ball rolling.
Cats. I have always had them as pets; looked after them for people, had strays- Insects: ants, woodlice…the way they transform their shape and morph into little armoured beads when they are touched. Butterflies. Their patterns and coloured wings. Caught them in the garden and fed them with a pin and honey, let them go afterwards. Ants. Such busy things, I watched with amazement when they carried ant eggs and leaves. My father’s cigarette making ‘roll your own’ machine. I carefully unfurled the spent filter tips discarded at the back step. Pebble dashing on the outside walls of my Uncles pretty cottage in Kent. Each pebble was different in colour and texture. Flowers: Lupin pods and their seeds exploding on a hot summer’s day, perfume from the roses. My next-door neighbour’s cocktail cabinet. It was a magical thing with mirrors, lights, crystal all reflecting onto elegant glasses and bottles. Catalogues: Seed catalogues with pictures of beautiful flowers, mail order catalogues I used for cutting out and playing shops. All things small like dolls houses. Packs of balsa wood from the craft shop – making miniature furniture. I cut it with spent old razor blades of my dad’s and my brother’s Airfix glue. Patterns made by the frost on the inside of my bedroom windows, all fern like, just like lace. I traced them with my fingernails.Modelling sets with Plaster of Paris and small rubber moulds so small ornaments could be made and painted. Snowflakes, each one a magical thing and different. Watching live shiny eels at the fresh fish shop in the market. Japanese paper water flowers, seeing them grow in a jam jar of water. Lizards…the cats caught them in the long grass, rescuing them and making ‘homes’ for them in an old tin bath, their detail scales, forked tongues. The sound of the sea from a sea shell held to your ear. Fabric, the pile of soft cotton velvet and brocade, the luxury. The changing colour of silk taffeta. Seeds from trees, acorn cups, sycamore helicopter seeds that spiraled to the ground. Writing in the cold darkness of winter with sparklers on Bonfire Night. Collecting spent fireworks with my brother the nextday.Plasticine, so versatile…made minute things from imitation cookies and cakes to tiny rashers of bacon.
My mother’s sewing tin, an old Blue Bird Toffee tin full of odds and ends, assorted buttons, lace. Thimbles. Hooks and eyes, zips, press studs (domes), needles, safety pins, thread, and wool.
This is just a small sample in no particular order.
What fascinated me as a child