My work has been repeatedly inspired by marks found on stonework and the wear that can be found on buildings. If not using stonework as an inspiration I will tend to be drawn to anything which has a texture. These include tree bark and marks made in sand.
I am happy to use any back grounds for my stitching although recently I have favoured either paper or felt depending on the textures I have been trying to interpret.
I use a limited amount of machine stitching and embellishing for backgrounds and then provide the detail using hand stitch, favouring mainly French knots and straight stitch.