Grace Winteringham takes inspiration from Scotland's great outdoors
Photograph Alan Clarke
PATTERNITY is a conscious, creative organisation founded by global pattern pioneers, Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham in 2009. Underpinned by a core philosophy that ‘everything is connected.’
A ‘hole-and-corner’ is an old English term meaning a secret place: somewhere you go to escape the world, to be inspired, to contemplate and create. Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
Last Summer I moved from London to Glasgow, and since moving I am spending lots of quality time with the great Scottish outdoors, so I would have to say my H-and-C is walking and being anywhere in nature. I try to walk everyday, both to relax and also to receive insights or invite some creative ideas. Glasgow is blessed with much green space, great parks with waterfalls and woodland, and the highlands are an hour away so although my hole-and-corner is kind-of everywhere (which may be cheating), it’s accessible, sustainable, free and very beautiful!
It feels incredibly spacious, creative, grounding — it is both humbling and perspective inducing to be amongst such old-ness and large-ness at once.
I find the elemental, rugged landscape and quality of light, really calming yet energising. Recently I noticed that for me to be creative and to access my creativity, I need to get outdoors, and walk. It sounds a bit cliched to say this, and it is no big secret since many renowned poets, writers, musicians, artists, feel the same, but I find Scottish nature very creative and inspiring and for me walking seems to work-things-through in such simple ways.
This is also the first year that I’ve really noticed and appreciated the changing seasons and all the individual qualities. I love the diverse range of colours, patterns, textures, the wildlife, the weather, the temperature, the lack of people(!) and to everyday feel part of the bigger rhythm of life.
Is it important to you to have somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of life?
Absolutely – I find that the ‘escape’ actually brings a greater connection and makes me feel more aligned and grateful. Without space, away from the hustle and bustle, this just didn’t seem possible for me. This way of being isn’t something I have always tended to – I was living in London, and immersed in a full-on social and work life for over 10 years. It was actually due to my mental and physiological health, and angry monthly outbursts (labelled as PMT) that I could feel the need to escape – from everything and everyone. After a few years of resisting the signs for fear of missing a great job opportunity, a party, or simply being thought of as lazy; I began to let go, and surrender to surrendering! I now take the greatest pleasure in heading to my hole-and-corner to walk and rest (as often as I can), and I come back feeling so inspired, creative and happy! An hour, a weekend, or a month long pilgrimage – whatever I can manage all contributes towards feeling more harmony within myself and within my environment.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
Sound and music are vital to my daily experience – I love listening to anything that supports how I’m feeling and what I’m doing. I usually notice how I am feeling first and then select sounds or music that resonates or shifts that mood, depending on what feels good at the time.
I am quite sensitive and music is very emotive for me, it can really bring me into or out-of my internal hole-and-corner. In a work space, I could be designing patterns on the computer, writing an interview, creating a physical artwork, running a workshop or out photographing patterns – either way, music is essential to my practice and the right music brings harmony and cohesion to the process.
I enjoy creating playlists of different genres, purely for the purpose of aligning to my different moods and tasks – sounds might include (but not limited to!); electronic, house, classical, balearic, solfeggio frequencies and healing hertz, pop or chart music, choral, country, ambient, new age…
For experiential based tasks, like our hands-on creative workshops that we host for the public, I love to compile music that supports the theme; for example our Mindful Marbling workshops explore flow states and fluid dynamics, and I feel that harp or clarinet music works perfectly. Participants often comment how much the music supported and expanded their experience. If I can bring an emotive quality to people’s overall experience through music then I am deeply satisfied!
What elements do you think make a perfect ‘hole-and-corner’?
Accessible, sustainable, free, and very beautiful?!
Think this is probably covered by my answers to some of the others – let me know if not.
Is it private to you or do you let other people visit?
I usually go it alone, which I enjoy very much, and I am delighted if people want to join me as walking in nature is so great, I think everyone should do it! It’s lovely to be in company without the pressure to talk constantly, and walking really helps the flow of silence. I’m not a particularly private person – and since living on my own Glasgow, and spending time in the spacious Scottish countryside I don’t long for the solitary space I did when I lived and worked in London – so you are all welcome! I have mused on the idea of creative walkshops but I’m yet to host one…
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Similar to my music selection process, I call on advice depending on how I’m feeling. My work email sign off includes an African Proverb – ”If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together” – which I love, as to me, it’s speaks of community and collaboration and moving away from top-down hierarchical structures. I also love Mahatma Ghandi’s “Live like you’ll die tomorrow, Learn like you’ll live forever” although I change ‘Live’ to ‘Love’ as I believe that to love is our divine purpose – and to love is to live!
We are human beings, not human doings… make it so.
Bring what you expect to find.
What we perceive is where we exist…