I seem to have lost my way a bit on this recently and have reverted to using a lot of the purchased texture mats. I always try to make them look different though - maybe by using a section of the texture that doesn't make it instantly recognisable, or by changing the look by adding enamels.
I have just finished this test bead made from bronze clay. I used a commercial mat, but have inlaid it with silver (that was the test part!). I'm really pleased with the results. And the bead has something different about it even though I've seen the texture used a lot elsewhere.
Part of my pledge to myself is to make much more use of my own designs in the future. I will still use the commercial mats, but I tend to use the more subtle ones for backgrounds or the reverse of pieces and I'll probably still carry on doing that.
So, the big question - where does my inspiration come from? I think my answer is probably the same as most people's answer and that's everywhere and anywhere! The fantastic thing about working with clay is that you can impress anything to make texture. Lace is fantastic (it helps that my auntie used to work in a knicker factory!!), everyday objects like bits of crumpled foil, sandpaper, bits of wire, toothpaste lids the list is endless.
I also sketch designs and turn those into texture mats, I love looking through source books for designs from around the world - I have a couple of books which I scan very regularly when I'm looking for a particular project.
I thought it'd be fun to show you some designs which I've found online that are copyright free images. I'm not sure how well they'll turn out as textures as you do need to have quite definite lines - but that's half the fun!!