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A blog post about inspiration

Button tin

I know what you’re thinking – hardly an inspirational title, eh? Yes I’m sorry about that. Today’s blog post is inspired by 3 things: first up, Creative Nottingham’s very own Charlotte Thomson-Morley writes about everyday items that inspire her. That is, the stuff round her house that inspires her. I write as someone who has a 2-tiered cake plate of felt food on her bookshelf so I recommend that you give this post a quick look over.

Inspirational item 2. At Christmas, I went to visit my aunt-in-law (if such a relation exists). She made us a cup of tea, turned to me and said “I’ve got something special for you, if you’d like it…” Intriguing! She returned with a tin in her hand – her mother in law’s old button tin. To the crafter inside me it could have been a tin of pure gold. Inside was a whole host of beautiful old buttons, some mounted on pieces of card from the manufacturer, others strung together in an easy-to-find matching bunch. There were old skeins of darning thread, buckles, fastenings and all sorts of other treasures. I have spent hours already looking through it, wondering whether to spoil it by adding my own button collection or whether I should leave it as is. For me, the greatest moment of creativity is that bit where you’ve got your idea in your head, the seed is sown, just out of reach. The page is still blank but full of possibilities. So it is with this button tin – what can I do with these? Where can I go with them? How can I show them off to their best?

Inspiration number 3. Libraries. The Independent yesterday joined the growing number of people praising libraries – in an effort to save as many as possible. I feel like I’ve spent half my life in libraries. My first sense of wonder was at the mobile library that visited our road when I was a child – how did the books stay on the shelves? To my mind, the mark of a great society is one where we are willing to have openly accessible public spaces – parks, square, libraries. I have dreamed in a library, I have discovered in a library, I have relaxed in a library, I have learned in a library. Once, I even fainted in a library (during my finals – what a cliche…)

They’re not sexy. They don’t turn a profit. But they’re important. For those of us who need a refuge, for those of us who want to enquire and for those of us who need a place where we can grasp onto those seeds of ideas and get them down on the page, they’re invaluable.

This seems to have turned into a bit of a rant! Goodness me. I’ll go back to dreaming over my lovely buttons now instead…