I learned a new word: woolgathering. I like new words and I especially like woolgathering because I like textile craft, cotton, wool and gathering supplies. But that is not what woolgathering means, however woolgathering was original used for gathering the leftover pieces of wool after sheep shearing. Woolgathering now means to indulgence in aimless thought or dreamy imagining, in short, day-dreaming. Can artists day-dream? Or do they rush to their sketch-books, canvasses, notebooks in a bee-line to pen down their inspirational ideas?

William Wordsworth wrote in his Daffodils poem that when he is ‘In vacant or in pensive mood, They (daffodils) flash upon that inward eye’. Is that vacant and pensive mood daydreaming or woolgathering? I don’t think so.

Poetically reflecting is closely related but it seems different from woolgathering to me. Woolgathering is without focus; poetic reflection demands concentration. However, the effect is the same; inspiration floods the mind. Off I go, rushing to my desk where my sketchbooks, notebooks and soap-stones are waiting for me. I leave the woolgathering to others.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist, Author & Expat

@mindfuldrawing on Instagram