I spent a lot of time this past weekend making new necklaces for urban legend. Well, cleaning up a dire mess in my supplies and work area, and then making new necklaces. Whenever I’m planning a weekend session of making, I collect sources for color inspiration. Depending on how specific they are, I’ll either make a list or I’ll print out a sheet of thumbnail photos that I’m planning to work from. These come from all over – photographs that I’ve taken, posts I’ve liked on Instagram, spreads in magazines, color boards on Pinterest – the list is endless. In the last couple of years, though, outfits I’ve spotted while riding public transportation have played a huge role in my creative process. I never used to sneak pictures of strangers, but the fashion in Portland is so good that I do it at least once a week now. When I sit down to collect that sheet of thumbnails, it always includes a scroll through the photos on my phone. That’s right: I am that woman surreptitiously taking a photograph of the back of your dress while you, all unsuspecting, ride the train. Because it’s a really sensational dress. In the first place, I’m a huge fan of stripes cut on the bias like that. And in the second place, I’m a sucker for a punch of black right in the middle of those juicy summer melon colors. So I’ll hold the phone up as unobtrusively as I can, and grab a picture that just shows enough of a pattern so I’ll remember it. Thanks, fellow commuter and your outstanding dress. And then I’ll just happen to glance out the window as the train goes over the river, and I’ll see that boxy mustard yellow building that I see every day, but today it’ll have a perfectly blue sky behind it and a towering rusted crane in front of it. That’s another necklace right there. I hadn’t realized until I made my list this week how much commuting has featured in my color work lately, but it’s nice to know that all those hours soaking up what I see eventually get used in the studio.