It's that time of year, again. It seems like I'm almost always caught off guard. It's time to dream up some new classes and send in proposals for the various venues that I hope to teach for, next year. Yes...these things happen almost a full year out! That's part of the frustration (and excitement!) of the process: keeping it genuine and fresh, a year later.
So, I've managed to squeak out some interesting class proposals (most of them, I'm super excited about! Check it: Art Retreat in the Desert. More to come!) but it was a rough road, this time. I'm not sure exactly why that is, except to say that I've had an extremely busy year and a half...make that three quarters...and here we are, in September. Finally, finally, I can breathe again and maybe do something that doesn't involve a deadline! Not that deadlines are necessarily bad; deadlines are a good sign of work and purpose. But, there is much to be said for free studio time. It seems I haven't had much of that in this past season and I'm thinking that's where my struggle to be inspired has come from.
There we go. I said it. I've struggled to be inspired. Why, oh why, is it so hard to admit that? I surely am not the only one who feels, at times, like there's not one original idea in her head? But, I'm taking a look at my blog and my work, in search of authenticity. I am rarely struck with artist's block or apathy toward my work and I think that's why it's difficult to admit the times when I do. After all, I'm am an artist...an exciting, intriguing, creative thinking creature. Right? Which means I'm a bit thrown by the times when I feel like a dull-witted, uninteresting non-creative...the times when it just doesn't flow.
So, why even talk about it? Why throw it out there, into the void...when it makes me feel exposed?
Keeping it real, peeps.
I know some of you are feeling the same way. Under-inspired. And, maybe it's hard for you to face, as well. In fact, I've spent some time surfing pinterest, instagram and facebook in an effort to keep the gears turning. And there is tons of inspiration to be had in those places. But, I feel best, and work best, when I can have that meditative time just working...and playing...at my bench. Doing my own thing. Staying focused. That time is now, friends
I ran across this post about Inspiration vs Imitation (oh no...she's not going THERE again?) by Kelsey Kronkhite, Pinegate Road, and it's what really got me thinking about the ways we are inspired and the ways we work, as creative beings. Nope. I'm not going there again (imitation), just yet, but her post reminded me that I want more heartfelt authenticity and originality, here on my blog, in my voice and in my work...and to stay inspired! I want as much of that as I can get and I'm betting you do, as well.
I've written about this before but it's worth repeating my thoughts on finding inspiration. This applies not just to you jewelry makers but to any creative type. Here's my quick-list of solutions:
- Google it! Yep, I said Google it. I've learned, the hard way, that whenever I ask my artistically minded guys for advice, the first thing they tell me is to Google it...before they even give me an opinion! And, guess what, it usually works. For this post, I searched "how to stay inspired jewelry making" and came up with this helpful article from Harriete Estel Berman, Staying Motivated and Inspired About Your Work. Another great article: How to Unleash Your Creativity and Find Inspiration Today! from Psychology Today.
- Clean up your workspace: I know...you don't want to battle the beast. But, when you're feeling uninspired it often helps to get your studio dredged out. It's much easier to feel inpired with a clear workbench and you'll probably run across some inspiring elements that may trigger your imagination.
- Surf the internets or read a book: Those danged internets...at once a blessing and a curse! It may seem like a time suck but if you're in a creative slump, there's lots of visual inspiration on sites like pinterest, facebook, instagram and flickr. I'm linking you to my sites but there are as many others as there are stars in the sky. And, of course, there are as many books. A big part of my book, The Jewelry Maker's Design Book, is specifically meant to jog you creativity. The War of Art is a great little inspirational read, also.
- Keep a jewelry journal: Keeping a jewelry journal may not seem important but it's a great way to work out designs, jot down ideas and create color palettes. I'm never without mine. It's the reason I created my online class, Artisan's Daybook. If you don't feel like making a journal, any blank book will do, even a composition book.
- Take a class: Yes...I teach classes, both online and in person, and I would LOVE to have you in class. But, there are tons of other classes out there. Taking a class will not only build your skills but also refresh your creative mind.
- Mimic a master: Mimic a master in your field, either a current master or old master. I love the work of Alexander Calder. Just looking at photos of his work is a terrific inspiration to me. Try your hand at creating a piece that you admire, with the understanding that this is an exercise in creativity (not a piece for sale). Build on what you learn through the process and use that as a jumping off point to create your own unique design.
- De-stress: Stress is a big time creativity killer. I find it almost impossible to create when I'm under pressure. If you're feeling stressed out, it may be a good time to take a short break and do something totally out of your zone. You're a jewelry maker so do some mixed media, painting or photography. Scribble in your journal. Do some knitting. Bake cookies. Trying your hand at a creative endeavour that's outside your routine might just loosen the cobwebs.
I'd love to hear your ideas for finding inspiration!