As we go through life, we will, of course, encounter many people, many situations, many works of art that inspire us and get our creative juices flowing. Whether it be inspiration as a writer, as a creator, or even just in the way to live my life, I’m always stumbling upon things that inspire me – usually in the most unlikely places and when I don’t happen to have pen and paper to hand, it has to be said. Inspiration and creativity is a funny thing, that comes in peaks and troughs, but here are the creative women that truly inspire me on a daily basis, and have played a significant role in my recent creative projects.
Ever since I can remember I have loved the world of Brambly Hedge created within the children’s books of Jill Barklem. They are the most beautiful, most detailed and most accurately researched children’s illustrated books that you’re ever likely to come across, and if you haven’t discovered them for yourself yet then please, go hunt down a copy – you certainly won’t regret it. I have spent many hours poring over Barklem’s illustrations, picking up on tiny detail after tiny detail that I perhaps missed the first or tenth or twenty-fifth time that I read it. There’s so much to see, so much to explore, and they really do feel so full of life that you want to reach right into the page, just to see if they’re real. First published in 1980, these children’s books are truly timeless; as it proudly declares on the official Brambly Hedge website,“The world has changed dramatically since the first publication of Brambly Hedge back in 1980, but the ethos of Brambly Hedge remains unchanged. Community spirit, seasonal cooking and sustainability are perhaps more relevant in today’s world than ever before.”
I love to escape into the charming, idyllic world of Brambly hedge, and its beautiful depictions of the nature and the great outdoors greatly inspire me in my own work. It is the comforting, nostalgic feeling of the British countryside at its very best that makes the Brambly Hedge books so special, and not only is that greatly reassuring to return to time and time again, it’s inspiring, too.
Cath Kidston is, quite probably, the epitome of ‘modern vintage’, and is a brand that I’m sure many small business owners and creators find inspiring. With a handmade, British, nostalgic feel that is loved by many, it’s not difficult to see why Cath Kidston is so popular. From fashion to homeware, they have it covered, yet have somehow managed to retain that quirky, handmade feel throughout all of their products. It is truly inspiring to see, and naturally it makes me wish that, one day, I too could have my very own little shop a bit like it. You can read the fascinating true story of the brand, and how it became the empire that it is today, here!
When you think of illustrations of well-dressed animals, or simply stories filled with a cast of different animal characters, then I’m sure that Beatrix Potter is probably the first person to come to mind. The beloved and world-famous story of Peter Rabbit was first told via a series of letters in 1893, but it wasn’t until 1902 that the story was published and became commercially available for the first time, introducing the world to the beautiful watercolour illustrations and anthropomorphic characters that are still popular to this day. I adore the images within Potter’s ‘little books’, particularly those of the Lake District landscape and countryside, and the little tidbits of Victorian social history that creep ever-so-subtly into the tales (shillings, hearth-rugs, ‘No more twist!‘), and how her stories mix the world of people and animals so very well. Beatrix Potter’s books and work greatly inspires me, but so too does Beatrix as a woman. As a naturalist, a farmer, a reformer, and as a protector of the Lake District, Beatrix is a character that I greatly admire, and who I always strive to be a little bit like.
There you have it, a small list of the people that inspire me creatively and make me want to do better. Who, or what, inspires you creatively?