Last year I found so much inspiration for my illustrations in my garden and blossoms, leaves, and plants made up a big part of the objects I used. Then one day a friend on Instagram asked me what I would do when it was winter. Dried flowers? Pot plants? Or maybe even a photo break? Every since she had asked this question and I became aware how much of my work ultimately depended on the material available to me, I kept looking with trepidation at the ever decreasing number of flowers in my garden which clearly heralded the approaching winter.
I think every creative person is worried that they will run out of ideas; and in my case, this worry was suddenly linked to the days getting shorter, decreasing daylight, and nature coming to a standstill.
However, if you look at my gallery of the last few months, it is also certain that winter as such couldn’t stop my ideas and associations. Maybe it made me a bit slower and quieter, but it couldn’t stop me altogether.
And so, instead of blossoms, I took twigs and grasses and let their bizarre shapes and simplicity inspire me. When everything was gray and dreary and I was stuck for ideas, I would go for a winter walk through the fields and bring home some of the objects I found on my way: bare twigs with shriveled up berries, dried hortensia panicles, and birch fruit, which was still clinging to the thin twigs, long after fall had passed.
Even my husband gave me a bunch of flowers one day, saying: “I purposefully picked out flowers for you that look a little bit skewed – so that you might be able to use them for a photo.”
I also notice that I have increasingly used objects which I would normally file under the category things on my website. Just things that are around me on a day-to-day basis and that I happen to come across. For example, I found small paper birds in the craft cupboard at my work at school, which the little monster lets fly in my illustration. I took rice from the pantry to design a photo for the new year 2014. Using colored cardboard, I punched out countless small snowflakes and asked my Instagram followers whether they had ever considered what the world would look like if snowflakes were colored instead of white. When I cleaned up after Christmas, I even found a small moose in a broken Christmas tree ornament.
I think that I made it through the flowerless season quite well; and yet, I experienced great joy when the first flowers appeared in my garden after a pleasantly short winter. The snowdrops announcing the oncoming spring in the illustration “spring preparations” are very conventional, followed by the first green shoots of the lily and a single crocus blossom. Finally, it’s spring again!
And now that I’ll be starting into a new year of Spielkkind illustrations utilizing my garden and plants, I discover that my gallery is, apart from all the things, also always a reflection of the seasons in nature. I am already looking forward to tulips, strawberries, and roses.
Teacher, illustrator, and photographer from Hanover, Germany