Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finding inspiration

In an article on blissfully domestic, Dee Perrin
details some ideas on how to find creative inspiration. Sometimes this is a very elusive thing, and Hillary wanted to talk about some of the things that give her inspiration, including some of the things Dee speaks about:

"Probably the most obvious thing to do is start flipping through your craft books/magazines. I know you have a few laying around collecting dust. You may find a pattern you forgot about or just never got around to trying."
I have a few books with really great ideas that I have never tried for one reason or another. When I really want to create, but have no idea where to start, I often go through my books. Even if I don't end up making a project in the books, sometimes one of those projects will spark an idea with a similar theme or color scheme. My two favorite books are probably Bead and Button's "Elegant Earrings" and 1001 beads. I like the first one because the designs are different, challenging, and highly customizable, and because, as all of Bead and Button's booklets, the instructions and materials list are very clear and specific. I like 1001 beads because, even though the materials and instructions aren't always spot on, the designs are beautiful
and the pictures have really inspired me many times.

"Dig through your stash. Whether you are in denial about it or not, every crafter has a stash. Fabric, yarn, ribbon, papers, stamps - something is bound to get you excited."
I absolutely agree. Sometimes when I am digging through my stash, even if it's for something else, I will find a bead that jumps out at me and tells me how to use it. Sometimes it's a bead I've seen a thousand times before and have never been inspired by or sometimes it's a bead I have been wanting to do something with for a long time, but have never been able to figure out how to use. Either way, it's a great feeling to finally figure something out and then be able to create beautiful jewelry based on your vision.

My third and fourth ways to get inspiration are similar to Dee's third and fourth, but, as with everything, I do them my own way.

Dee's third suggestion is to browse etsy for inspiration. My counterpart to this is to look at other jewelry, be it beaded items on etsy, or diamond solitaire rings a Zales. I personally prefer to get out and look at things: at the mall; at craft fairs; at little hole in the wall indy shops; at Wal-Mart; everywhere. Looking at the jewelry may give me ideas and getting out usually gives me a much needed break from sitting in the chair staring blankly at the same thing for hours.

Which leads nicely into another major way that I get myself "un-stuck". I put the jewelry/project down and go do something else altogether. I make jewelry, I do other crafts, I create dances and I cook. Sometimes I get stuck on a necklace and sometimes I get stuck on a dance step, but if I keep getting stuck at the same place and nothing is getting me going, I just walk away from it. Dee suggests putting the project down and doing another quick and easy project so that you feel better about your ability to finish a project. Personally, I find that if I have been stuck on something for a while and am getting frustrated, it is usually best to put down that activity altogether and come back to it later -- usually in a day or two. If I get stuck on a piece of jewelry, for example, and then try to work on more jewelry, I just get really down on myself for not finishing the first piece and I worry about every minute detail of the next one, and any little mistake a I make becomes catastrophic. Whereas, if I just put it down and do something unrelated for a day or two, when I come back to it, it magically makes perfect sense and finishing the project becomes easy.

Another major way that I get inspiration is just by living. Sometimes music inspires me, or clothing I see at the thrift store, or a phrase someone says during the course of the day. There's even a seller on etsy who likes to place custom requests for jewelry from other artists and make jewelry for her own shop based on passages from books. I've actually gotten some really great ideas from some of the selections she has posted from books. In fact, you may see some designs based on some of those passages in the near future. An example of that I have been talking about it the piece below. It was inspired by the song "Half Jack" by The Dresden Dolls.
The most important thing I do regarding my creativity is not limiting myself. Even though I primarily make beaded and wire wrapped necklaces, there's no reason I can't try my hand at a ring, or a hair clip or a style I've never tried before. The piece above doesn't even fit in a category... it's not a pendant, nor was it ever intended to really be a part of a jewelry piece, but the song gave me a vision, so I created it. Not only do I not limit my style, I don't limit anything. Maybe this feeling I have that I was trying to create a necklace around would be better expressed in a dance or a poem, so I do that instead.

Now that I have shared some of the ways I inspire creativity in myself, I'd like to hear from you about what gets you going. Some of the best ideas I've ever had have come from other people and I'd love to have you share with me.

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