Friday, March 26, 2010

Inspirational Fridays: Monsters, Robots, and Creatures! Oh, My!

We asked Naomi Cayne what inspires her to create her unique embroidery. This is what she had to say:

Bright new days full of possibility inspire me. Hundreds of colors of thread waiting to be sewn into a fresh swatch of fabric inspire me. A yearning to come up with appealing images and better items is a constant push and inspiration. I am compelled to create in the same way that hunger and thirst compels me to eat and drink. I am also inspired by other artists, my customers, and friends. Mostly, my imagination is responsible for the images I create.

Inspiration to embroider something specific hits me at random moments. I see, hear or read something that conjures up an image and sticks with me, nagging me to illustrate it. My drawings become inspiration for my embroideries. And I draw a lot. My sketches are often of strange creatures, monsters, robots, or animals with human characteristics. Some of the lucky sketches get to take on a life of their own when they are set down on fabric with a needle and thread. For me, embroidery is essentially painting or drawing with thread.

Inspiration for these creatures may be derived from subconscious memories of children’s books (I always loved the illustrations) and definitely pull a bit from the work of other artists, some of whom I find on Etsy. Like Harold and his purple crayon, I draw what is in my mind, dying to get out. Inspiration often comes from daily life; I try to create characters that have personality, are endearing or charming in their own way and sometimes have real-life human feelings and issues. To me, the creatures can tell a story without a single word.

Some of my pieces are directly inspired from other sources - for example, my series of unsung scientists and inventors. This series started when I read Bill Bryson’s humorous and informative tome A Short History of Nearly Everything, which is basically a science textbook for dummies. Even though critics have found a number of errors in this book, the point of his text still comes across. His book opens up a world that is obscured to many of us, unveiling the many mysteries of the universe. I was amazed by reading about discoveries of things that we all take for granted, yet never having heard of many of the scientists behind the research. These scientists need to be recognized (aside from by the Nobel Prize awarders, from which many have received their due) and my embroideries are a small way to pay homage to them.

For all artists, inspiration is elusive and can be hard to explain. The key for me is to always be open to that inspiration, to let it strike when it chooses to, and to be ready to illustrate or stitch whatever life throws at me.

Related links:

My Embroideries:

Harold and the Purple Crayon

A Short History of Nearly Everything


  1. What cute little critters you make, Naomi!

  2. Haven't followed the blog lately, so glad I did today and read this article! Your work is lovely and I'm a fan of your little robots and critters :)