Try selecting a bezier curve and going to Path>Path Effect Editor. Then in the dialog under Apply New Effect, click on the list menu and try "Envelope Deformation." That may be what you're looking for. But I'm using Inkscape 0.47 at the moment, so I'm not sure.
I don't know if that is what I was looking for either.
But it is a really neat tool. Now to figure out something to do with it.
The tutorial I was watching was putting text around a globe and this will work fine for that. I have twisted text into lots of crazy contortions. Using .48.
Googled Envelope Deformation and found some more ideas.
Wouldn't it be sad if we had to choose between Gimp and Inkscape? Fortunately my pocketbook can afford both.