A Note from Rebecca: Creativity + Wintering

Posted by Rebecca Atwood

“Even as the leaves are falling, the buds of next year’s crop are already in place, waiting to erupt again in spring.” 

– Katherine May, Wintering

It was boiling hot when my family moved to Charleston last August, but my mind was on winter. It wasn’t just that I was thinking ahead to this collection and cooler times. I’d also picked up a book that I’d been meaning to read for ages: Wintering, by Katherine May. I’d heard May speak on a podcast about how winter can arrive any time we’re forced to retreat, reflect, or grieve, and why it’s important that we not ignore it or try to power through it but slow down, embrace winter, and learn from it. This idea resonated with me, and now that I was in a new, different place with no routines, I felt as if I’d been dropped into the middle of a winter of my own.

It wasn’t my first. I weathered a winter when I first became a mother. I went through another in the early days of the pandemic. I’ve resisted them, and I’ve even felt lost in them. But my winters have taught me not to let my creative practice hibernate.

Making something from scratch—whether it’s a painting or a business—is quite a creative practice. When I first started out, it felt exhilarating to see the world of my art flourishing. But as my business grew, I found that instead of drawing in my sketchbooks and pulling ideas from them for my collections, I was creating for my collections. I missed the freedom I’d felt when just starting out. It had been too long since I allowed an idea to be just a sketch, or even to be a painting, without being turned into a design. 

Rebecca is sitting next to a pattern she created in her studio.

Since last summer’s winter, I’ve been working on embracing slowness. I’m giving myself permission to take time for my art—to look, to think, to sit. As May says, it’s so unfashionable, but it’s vital. I want to get back to the place where my collections come from my creative experiments.

In this season’s collection, you’ll see how my ideas from that winter took shape. Many of the motifs have the warmth and comfort I was craving, that feeling of being cocooned; others buzz with energy and the promise that spring will be here soon. There’s a calm happiness in knowing the seasons will always change. 

These designs are visual reminders for me—and I hope for you—that even when we’re in a creative winter, our ideas are still there. We just need to slow down and unearth them.

Thank you, Rebecca