Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Path Back to Creativity

I have been in a creative rut for quite some time now. I have, what I have heard fellow metalsmiths call creative ADD. I want to make all kinds of things, not just jewelry. I want to work in the garden, sew, make my house look nice, crochet, bake, etc. I just have to make things, but staying focused on making jewelry is difficult at times. This month I think I have done better and am slowly, but surely finding my way back to being inspired and excited about jewelry.

I have a ton of inventory, much of it not yet photographed or listed on etsy. I work hard getting ready for big shows, but I don't do enough shows to keep the momentum going year round. Also, much of what I make for shows is the production work that is easy to sell, and more afordably priced. What I really enjoy making are more complex, larger pieces of jewelry, but these are hard to sell. In all honesty, how well my jewelry sells is a great factor in how motivated I am. It is ironic, that the more new work I make and put out in the world, the more of it will sell. When shows and/or online sales are slow I lose motivation. It is a bad cycle, and I hate the fact that my joy in making jewelry can be so tied into whether or not it is profitable. The work I make is not for everyone. It is kind of funky, pretty modern and does not have gold or diamonds for the most part. I use non-precious materials often and the value lies in the design and craftsmanship of the pieces, more so than the materials themselves. Not everyone appreciates my work, nor do I want it to be appealing to the masses. That said, and I hope I haven't over shared, here is how I am finding joy in jewelry making again.

I started some new pieces, these earrings are one of them. I made these polymer pieces last year, and made this ring from the batch. The design of these earrings is deceptively simple, yet the construction is somewhat complex and a bit time consuming. I made a copper box for each earring with silver tabs on the ends. I could have, no doubt, finished these already, but have worked on them little by little when I'm at my bench. I think they will be great when they are done, but they are certainly not instant gratification.
Almost finished with these earrings

So I moved on to playing around with new ideas.
This one didn't work out, but all is not lost. I will still make something of this ring.
This idea didn't quite work out

The ring above and this little sample were for experimenting with fishing line. I have seen this done before and am not the first to melt the ends of fishing line to capture beads. In fact, I have hesitated to try it because two of the people that I have seen do it are peers and friends. They have used this to great effect and I did not want to be seen as a copy cat. Both of these designs could incorporate balled up silver wire in place of the fishing line, but I don't have the right torch for that. I think there is a bit of a learning curve with the melting of the plastic here, and I was not as crazy about the process or the outcome as I thought I would be. Oh well, I learned what didn't work for me and had fun trying something new. And for the record, I really want one of those Smith Little Torches!
Playing around with fishing line

In the midst of playing around and working on the polymer earrings I came up with a new earring design. I have done something similar before, but these were less planned, and therefore I think more fun. I don't know why, but these simple little studs make me so happy. I think it is because this is a new design, which I really like, and I am enjoying making jewelry again!
Gestural Earrings with Peridot
These are available here in my etsy shop, if you are interested.

Another way that I have been feeling motivated is by photographing and sharing all that inventory that I mentioned. It will take me a while to get everything photographed, but I'm working on it. I unapologetically enjoy getting feedback from my peers on my work. I don't think it is vanity, but just a need to know if others can see the beauty that I do in some quirky thing that I make. I think it also helps for me to see my own creativity in photos. I am proud of the work that I have made, and it is easy to forget what I am capable of when I am in a creative rut.

I am sure my creativity will wane again, I think that is just a part of being an artist and putting your work out there in the world. I hope that I can remember to play, have fun, and learn new techniques in order to keep joy in my work.

If I am feeling low on creativity in the jewelry department I need to:

*Look at images of my work to remind myself that I am indeed creative.
*Play around with materials and have fun, no expectations.
*Sketch ideas for new designs and/or look back through old sketchbooks.
*Try a new technique or material, currently wanting to use etching, wood,
mother of pearl, and clear glass cabochons in my work.
*Work on projects that were started but never finished.
*Expand on current designs and lines to come up with something new.

What motivates you, how do you find and keep your creativity?


AdobeSol said...

Great article! I think that we all get into a rut at times. You inspire me with your creativity!

lynn bowes said...

This is a wonderful post! Like you, I have been caught up in the 'making of things' and when I lay my inventory out for a show, I don't see cohesion - I see silver, copper, enamel, set stones everywhere. While I don't take issue with the making, I struggle for focus.

Still, keep creating - whatever you create is beauty from your hand. I love all your work.

And I cannot believe you turn out such great stuff without a Smith Mini Torch! Sheesh!

:: lynn ::

Louise said...

wonderful post. Great ideas for inspiration....... love the post earrings.