Leigh Miller - Creating a Unique Story in Yarn
What/Who inspires you?
The natural world is a powerful source of inspiration for me but, being a homebody, I also find everyday objects and events a frequent, surprising source of inspiration, too. Sometimes, depending on the time of year, the way the light lands on the wall or filters through the window creates a certain atmospheric and ephemeral mood that I want to re-create or re-interpret in a more permanent way.
Of course, I’m inspired by lots of people too, my family, favourite writers, visual and performance artists, musicians as well as those who have a strong story to tell (who might not otherwise consider themselves, or be considered, creative people).
How has the process of seeking beauty changed you?
In some ways, I think I’m very lucky in so far as I feel like beauty has always come to me. The way I see it then, my only job, really, is to be open to it and recognize it. That said, even though I’ve never seen myself as undertaking the process of “seeking beauty”, each experience of recognizing beauty has left me with a greater sense of sensitivity and skill in recognizing it in situations I might not have previously perceived it. I wonder if, somehow, the more we recognize beauty the more likely we are to recognize it again and again.
Where do you find beauty in what you do/make?
What I love so much about knitting are the many opportunities this medium allows for beauty. There can be immense beauty in the “dreaming and planning” stages of knitting, which can differ that that of the artist because knitters can simply follow a preset pattern if they wish. In my mind, anyway, a knitting pattern is just another kind of story told to instruct, guide and/or entertain us towards an eventual outcome that still allows for personal re-interpretation through choice of fibre and colour. I love the idea that even though sometimes we are following a formula, we are still creating our own, unique story - with yarn.
There’s beauty, too, in the process, in the meditative rhythm of working the needles with the yarn, the back and forth, the in and out of it. And then, there’s a certain kind of magic in seeing a knitting project come together to one’s satisfaction and, I suppose, if you are really positive about it, a certain beauty about the knowledge gained by the mistakes and undoing that inevitably happens, too.
One of the occasions of beauty that I’ve come to appreciate more after many years of knitting, is the actual use of an item that’s been knit well. For me, in particular, wearing a piece that I’ve made for myself (or, seeing my family in garments I’ve knit for them) is an incredibly beautiful experience.
What is beauty?
My experiences in the presence of beauty would lead me to suggest that beauty is mysterious, powerful, healing, magical, moving, miraculous, transcendent, and paradoxical but ultimately, I would say by its very nature, beauty is indefinable.
Leigh Miller is a former blog writer, one-time magazine contributor, wannabe photographer and constant knitter. Leigh posts about her life in wool as @leighsideknits on Instagram.