I love this time of year – the transition between summer and autumn. Gone are the uncomfortably hot, glaringly bright days, and everything seems to take a mellower turn. The colours are a little softer, the sunlight is a little gentler and home is a little cosier. Even the food we eat is a little less crunchy and raw – salads are out, soups are in.
For me, autumn is the kindest of the seasons. Nature is generous at this time of year with hedgerows bursting with berries, fields and verges covered with seed and trees dropping the fruit they have worked all year to produce. It’s a reminder that good things come eventually, even if the wait is painful at times.
I am always surprised that autumn is often used as a metaphor for things being past their best and on the way out. Being in your ‘autumn’ years seems to suggest that ‘the end is nigh’, but for me, it’s a time of beginnings. As a schoolteacher, when I say ‘next year’, I mean next September. I can’t remember the last time I bought a diary or planner that started in January, because for me, each year begins in autumn when the world turns golden and soft. It’s no wonder that I am most inspired at this time of year! Everywhere I look, there is something beautiful.
Nature provides inexhaustible source material for any creator. From sweeping skies to sandy shores, whales to woodlice, fir trees to forget-me-nots, there is something on every scale for every person. And if you want to create pictures of what you see, there are infinite natural colour schemes all ready to be used. Just think of the way pink and green are paired in a slice of watermelon, or blue and beige on a beach, or yellow and brown on an autumn leaf. What about the patterns on butterfly wings or snake skin or shells, and the textures of bark and feathers? Whether you are a painter, sketcher, doodler, sculptor or poet, whether you work in wool or watercolour or wood or words, nature offers up everything you could possibly need to be creative.
At Featherstitch House, ‘Inspired by Nature’ is one of our five core values. Everything we make starts with the natural world. We follow the seasons, observing closely the way the world changes through the year, and try to translate that into our creations. We try not to ‘mess around’ with it too much, borrowing shapes and forms and stylising them a little to make them simple enough to work in fabric and felt and thread. Plus, we firmly believe that connecting more with the natural world is good for the soul!
So, if you are lacking inspiration, or feeling sad now that summer is over, go for a little walk and see what you can find. Go slowly; look closely; listen carefully; take photos; breathe deeply. Maybe you’ll find a juicy blackberry or two; perhaps you’ll find the most beautiful leaf you’ve ever seen; maybe the clouds will part a little and let rays of sunlight fan out across the sky, maybe the wind will tickle the leaves into life or the sound of birds will lift your spirits a little. There are a million tiny miracles happening within five minutes of your front door: nature’s autumn gift to all of us.