It has been a month since I made that resolution to post more often. Being busy is good, but time flies! It always seems to be of interest to people what inspires a designer - My earliest inspiration, and probably the best work of my life, was the Imari porcelain reproductions. Working from the early to mid 19th century Japanese pieces was a learning experience, and a visual joy. Also, the gorgeous colors and symbolism of the Chinese Celadon was inspiring. Recently I have re-discovered an old love of mine - the Mexican pottery. Now called "Talavera-style" to differentiate between that and the traditional Spanish Talavera maiolica (produced in Puebla since the 16th century), it is, by law, produced with no lead in the glazes, and is truly wonderful to behold. The exuberance and joy of the design and colors of the Mexican pottery is wonderful to work with. Talavera-style means that it incorporates the same symbolism as the very elegant Spanish pieces, along with the geometrics that I like as a mathematical challenge - and that symbolism actually kind of traveled the "silk road" all the way from the Orient to Spain many centuries ago. (as well as the colors) The Orientals were done on porcelain, whereas from the middle east toward the west, the ceramics were made of earthenware and glazed with tin oxide to get the white background. (This was quite a learning experience - I enjoyed researching it!) Anyway - besides rearranging motifs and turning round platters into square needlepoint pillows - it occurred to me to use those delightful colors and motifs on Christmas stockings - from mini-socks to full sized ones. I have never done Christmas per se in my almost 40 years of designing - there are plenty of very talented designers out there to do it, and it actually just never interested me. However, these little stockings are definitely different - and I think a nice change - from the same old thing that we are a bit weary of looking at.