Inspiration and Where it Comes From

Ideas, how do they happen? When do they strike?

Every once in a while I hear something or see something that triggers the imagination and my creativity jumps into action. This happens quite often, maybe it happens to you too? But what do you do with those thoughts, let them slip by? Usually there isn’t enough time in the year to do everything you would like to do, but what is that finally moves you to create a piece of work?

I am often inspired by the work of others, be it a painter, a quilter, textile artist, or even from just seeing a pattern on a piece of pottery, or a lovely wall paper while watching a movie. Ideas can strike at the most unexpected times.


The Inspiration Behind ‘Beach Chums’


I’ve had a framed postcard sitting on my desk for a while now, for maybe for five or six years. I bought it because the illustration was somehow familiar. I must have known it from a long time ago, but I wan’t sure from where. I just loved the scene. Its a room full of mice all sitting sewing a quilt together.



Quilting Mice Illustration


While pondering the picture a couple of years back, the idea struck how I would love to make my own quilt with my own little appliqued mice on it and so it started. I practiced drawing my own mouse illustrations and before long I started turning them into fabric mice.



Beach Chums


It wasn’t until the quilt was finished that I wondered who the artist was that had drawn my little picture, so within a short space of time I had googled the name and discovered Margaret Tempest and it wasn’t the first time I’d discovered her, for I knew a lot of her work from way back when I must have been a toddler.

Does anyone else remember the delightful illustrations from ‘The Little Grey Rabbit’ series of books? Well Margaret drew them. There was Speckledy Hen, Hare, Owl and Hedgehog amongst others. The books were written by Alison Uttley, but illustrated by Margaret and it’s the pictures I remember especially the ‘cats in the cradle’ and the ‘teddy bears on a rocking horse’.


Cats in the Cradle

Cats in the Cradle


Teddies on a Rocking Horse

Teddies on a Rocking Horse


It made me wonder how I didn’t know Margaret’s name? She was a lady from the same era as Beatrix Potter and the illustrations are just as adorable, but maybe it’s because she didn’t write the stories too? Nevertheless let’s not forget these wonderful characters. The ‘Little Grey Rabbit’ books are currently available and have been republished, which is good to know. Why not introduce them to the young ones again today and let them discover the wonderful illustrations. Who knows what they might inspire the next generation to do?

Can you remember a time or pinpoint a moment when inspiration struck and what did it lead to? What project did you produce?


Little Grey Rabbit

Little Grey Rabbit


Discover more about Margaret at:


Margaret Tempest (1892 – 1982)

Details of the books currently in print can be found here:

You can also see them here at Amazon:

(Raggy Robin is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to



‘All photos and illustrations are shown with courtesy of the Margaret Tempest Estate’

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