I spent the weekend in Amsterdam, and it was one of the nicest cities I have been to in a long time. Heaped in history and culture, as well as a little naughty fun, I had the best time and seriously recommend it to anyone looking to run away for a bit. I found the most random things creatively inspiring and now have itchy hands....time to get my sketch on I think.
I have wanted to go to Amsterdam for SO long, mainly because of my obsession with a girl called Anne Frank. I have always been fascinated by her life, and her story, and visiting the house where she hid with her family from the Nazi's was both moving and thought provoking. I bought a book while I was there about her life after hiding. It gave some harrowing real life accounts of people that knew Anne while in the concentration camps, and before hand. Hers is just one horror story amongst millions, but one that has inspired me creatively. The passion and desire for life she had cold be translated into a collection. A collection made of emotions would be an interesting challenge. How to convey the mood of it all, being constricted, scared, frustrated....Her escape was her writing and her diary. This could translate nicely into a visual collection. Also the obvious idea of a war themed collection could be developed. Perhaps I will have a research into some historical things and combine them with the modern city idea to create something fresh.
What took me by surprise while I was in Holland was the number of bicycles. I knew the dutch cycled a lot, but not to the extent that I saw while there. I was truly taken back, and wondered why England couldn't put a little effort into a bit of green travel. Night cycles, cold cycles, wet cycles, park cycles, bike just ruled the roads, and pavements and parks....literally. If only England could be that way. In a weird sort of way it also has inspired some design ideas. Maybe my next collection will be bicycle themed. Wheel inspired dresses, bell inspired accessories.....there is something to work with there....Or at least to develop... Even if it is just considering cycling in my next sportswear collection.
The architecture of the city also excited me a lot. In a previous project that I did I used architecture as the basis of my research and took design inspiration from it. The shapes and details used in Amsterdam's tall buildings is beautiful. As well as the architecture of the houses, and churches, and areas such as Dam Square, the composition of the city in terms on canals and bridges is beautiful. The city is essentially a dam, and therefore crafted to perfection. I found everything about this so inspirational.
During the weekend we visited the Van Gough museum which is just one of many artistic delights the city had to offer. Down every little ally was some sort of inspiring artistic 'out-pour' if you will. Graffiti monsters, painted lampposts, beautiful shop VM etc. I was like being back in London, but far more colourful. Which is quite bizarre as there was something so Eire about the city. At times is was so quite, and not that buzzing place you expect it to be. You had to go looking for the next trigger.
The history... the architecture..the soul of the city...the artistic side of the city...even the red light district and cafes....everything about Amsterdam has completely inspired me. The culture is not massively different from here, but there is something about mainland Europe that I love. I can't place my finger on it, but hopefully I will be able to explore it more and get even more inspiration.
If you are ever in Holland, be sure to visit this warm and charming city and see what all the fuss is about. It is definately worth your while, even if it is just for some cheeky pancakes, yummm.