Odd inspiration . . .
Sometimes the oddest things inspire, arriving in one’s life at just the right time. I’m working on the first draft of a fantasy fiction at the moment, entitled The Shifu Cloth. Part of it takes place in a Far Eastern inspired country called The Han. My female protagonist, Isabella, meets a character at the time of the Lantern Festival which heralds Spring. And I wondered what this character should look like . . . clothes, mannerisms etc. I had done much research on China and Japan but the research pressed no buttons. And then my dearest embroidery friend gave me a notebook (see left) and suddenly my dilemma was solved. This was my character . . . except in the story, I have given him glasses. He needed to appear myopic and studious, as well as inscrutable and I’ve always liked the way occasionally light shines on rimless spectacles, effectively blocking out eye expression.
The notebook comes from the stunning French haberdashers, Sajou: www.sajou.fr, and my friend Jane gave me some extraordinary thread winders as well. Even these will no doubt provide some bizarre inspiration at some point in some novel. There are so many beautiful things in the Sajou catalogue and whether one’s an embroiderer or not, it makes no difference. One can just spend a wonderful hour being lulled by French quality and elegance.
Meanwhile my odd little Han man is about to tell Isabella that he too wants to leave the secretive Han Province and will show her a way to escape over the bridge that isn’t. And definitely not on a unicycle.
Oh . . . note to self: perhaps not a good idea to call onself Upsy Daisy, even though one does love In the Night Garden. The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch by Australian author Upsy Daisy lacks something in the translation.
Note to Bloggers: see wonderful reviews on Amazon.com for The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch by Prue Batten. (not Upsy Daisy)
OK, so now get back to work on the Shifu Cloth, please! I’d like you to finish it as quickly as possible — I’m ready to buy and read!
I’m trying but I have to finish the re-edit of Paperweights and get it back to London before I can move on with Shifu.
Do I know ‘azumawind’? I’ve racked my brains to make a link.
Re: spectacles – I think I remember reading somewhere that old Chinese spectacles didn’t have wires that wrapped over the ears, but weights at the end of cords that were draped over the ears and dangled by the side of the head. How nice to have this little movement every time the wearer moved his head – maybe a tiny bell at the end of the cord?
I hadn’t found that in my research but I love it, even more idiosyncratic.
Kind of like earrings and specs all in one. So efficient. But it makes me think of those tamborine/drum things on a stick that have little weights on cords. You rotate it left and right and the swinging weights strike the drumhead and make the noise. So that would be a third function…
That’s a prayer drum, Rebecca. I’m positive they first came to use in Buddhist culture (the prayer drum that is). The first time I ever saw them, they were being used by Buddhists in the foothills of the Himalayas and then I noticed them being used throughout Buddhist countries.
But then for some unknown reason I can see an image in my mind of an American Indian with one as well, but it may just be me getting my cultures mixed and who says that isn’t such a bad thing anyway.