Posted by: doras_explorations | June 20, 2008

Inspiration at the Laundromat

  I’ve been a regular customer at a neighborhood laundromat for over 2 years.  I do own a washer and dryer, but due to an antiquated septic system, we were spending a not so small fortune on pumping and on nasty chemical treatments to keep the thing from backing up.  After over 20 years of waiting, we are finally-we’ve been told !-going to be hooked up to the city sewer system within the next year.  Meanwhile, every 7-10 days I gather up all the dirty clothes and linens, and head to the ‘mat…Actually going to the laundromat is not such an awful thing, other than being time consuming and costly.  The washers are HUGE, so you can fit a whole week’s worth of dirty stuff into 1 or 2 machines.  Same thing for the dryers.  And-call me nuts, but this is the best part-they have lots of big, clean counters for sorting and folding.  I don’t have that much clear space in my entire house !    

     The inspiration part came recently while I was sitting around waiting for the wash cycle to end.  I looked down , and there it was.  Every few feet or so the floor tiles were arranged in a most intriguing pattern.  Here it is.  I did enhance the colors a bit, since the original palette was rather bland:

 laundromat floor tile

 Hmmmm, I thought.  That looks like it would make an interesting cane.  I looked at the pattern, and thought about duplicating it with polymer clay.  I didn’t bother to sketch it, because of course I would be able to reproduce it from memory !  After all, it’s just a simple geometric design.  I should’ve known that the visual image I thought was so clear would fade out within minutes.  This scenario repeated itself for several months…looking carefully at the floor, taking mental notes, forgetting the pattern til the next load of wash.    I finally realized that I could not rely upon my brain to store this image until I got to my studio.  So, on Tuesday, I stuck my digital camera into my pocketbook along with my rolls of quarters.  I got my shot while the laundromat was fairly quiet and the ‘laundry lady’ was busy watching Days of Our Lives.  Call me self-conscious, but I did not wish to be subjected  to any strange looks !  

      The two points of this story are quite obvious to anyone who creates art, but I’ll state them anyway: 1. Inspiration can be found anywhere, often in the most unlikely of places and  2. When inspiration strikes, write it down, sketch it, photograph it….do not rely on your memory ! 

      Speaking of photographs, within the next week, I will become the owner of a Nikon D40 .  Ever since I started shooting photographs of my work, I knew I would need something with more capabilities than my current ‘point and shoot..’  In upcoming posts, I plan to document my journey as I negotiate another learning curve.  I just hope the results will be visible to others so I can justify this rather considerable expense !


  1. That looks like the “card trick” quilt pattern. Here’s a link (or url address) to how that particular quilt block is made (most of the canes I make are of quilts and quilt blocks, so that pattern jumped out at me when I saw your post).


  2. Thanks, Kathy ! I also find quilt patterns very inspiring….and it doesn’t surprise me that there would be a quilt pattern that resembles the floor tile. I will definitely check out that link…

  3. It’s so true that inspiration is everywhere! When I’m deep in “clay mode” I tend to see potential cane designs in floors, bedspreads, cityscapes, even sunsets. Looking forward to seeing what cane(s) emerge from your floor inspiration!

    Have fun with your new camera 🙂

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