My messy, lonely, bench….

I have an admission to make…I have been in something of a creative slump, or having  a ‘block’ as some might say, and I am wondering if like a bad habit, the first step is sort of admitting you might have something of a little ‘problem’?!..I am not feeling the usual momentum that drives my artistic output, expecially with the excitement of  the arrival of SPRING!…I do have a little ‘prescription’ that I often  implement when I find my self in this kind of space, and thought I might take a moment to share some of my thoughts on this issue, and query you, gentle readers as to any wisdom you might add to stir this pot?

A ‘short list’ of  IDEAS….
-DO keep  on working at your art…even if what you are producing feels off and flat…doing nothing just drags you deeper into inertia, and….. even a ‘bad’ idea can sometimes take you down a path that punctuates itself with a good one.
-DONT go looking at other folks art for ‘inspiration’…this can either leave you feeling even more unsuccessful, expecially ifyou are suffering from self doubts, or you run the risk of inadvertently creating derivative work that will not make you any happier as it will look like someone elses’s
-DONT sit around and just write lists of ‘ideas’….it is sort of akin to checking out your belly button lint when you should be working…it puts off the inevitable…get in your studio and do your thing!
-DO pick up your tools and PLAY…set parameters and points of departure that break the rules in the kind of creative work you do…sometimes sticking yourself in a box , ( say, taking photographs upside down for a week, or forcing yourself to make jewelry using all the singleton stones you have collected and dont know what to do with)  can help you break out of a rut
– DO think in terms of opposites and juxtapositions… perhaps try to break some of the rules of your particular medium?
-DO try a class or workshop in another medium that you have been curious about. For example, I took a children’s book illustration course one summer. I know I will NEVER become a 2 dimensional artist…I just don’t think or see that way, so the pressure of already knowing this WASN’T going to end up being my ‘thing’ allowed me to simply relax, enjoy and create a really fun children’s book! What the experience DID do is simply get my creative juices flowing in an non-intimidating way….now for folks in this class who really wanted to be writers, that’s a whole ‘nother story!
– DONT spend time cruising other artist’s sites….now is NOT the time to compare your work to others!
– DO take a ‘day trip’ if you can ( or even a couple of hours) to someplace you have never been before for some inspiration….if you live near nature, seek that out…if you live in a big city, try a new part of town with a strong cultural influence…when I was in NYC, I could be transported simply by going to little Italy for pastries!
-DO take solace in the fact that these ‘lulls’ occur in every creative life, and no one’s output 
(although when YOU are the one who is in this space it seems that way) is consistently brilliant
-DO gravitate to those in your life who are supportive of your endeavors, no matter what you might be reaching for…
-DO smile knowingly at Lord Ganesha, remover of obstacles, alot :)!
I am going to go downstairs and melt some more metal….
Please, if the spirit moves you, creative souls, share your comments….what do you do? 

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  1. If you have to eat a frog, eat it first thing in the morning. Then that act will be the worst thing to happen to you all day. (Paraphrasing Mark Twain). If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first!

  2. Pearls of wisdom, my dear Kerin…

    I like to read novels, its enough mind candy and mood mending that I can actually relax and let go, and as soon as I do I find I’ve an inspiration an epiphany, and I go with it… I really like visiting the classics and searching the top reads here:

    Other than that, now I have some real tactful solutions, thank you.

  3. I’m grateful for these suggestions, especially the one on not looking at others’ artwork and comparing them to our artwork–thank you!!

  4. I do a lot of “excercises/assignments”. I will decide to do a piece based on architectural inspiration, or a political/environmental/moral message or view. Or, my favorite, a piece combining two opposing objects/subjects/inspirations (oil and concrete, north and south, fire and water). I find that I can take those “assignments” in times of inspirational drought and apply my own voice and vision to them. I end up with a piece that I wouldn’t usually go towards, but which is still very much “mine”.

    Just a couple of thoughts!

  5. great ideas all!….thanks muchly for the input…though Mis M, I am not quite sure about the frog, since I dont eat meat…!

  6. I've been reading through your blog and had to thank you for additional ideas!

    I get in these "funks" when I'm sick too much or burned out. A couple things I do: 1) I keep a journal (I'm really addicted to the Moleskine) for when the creative rain is flowing. I review every so often for ideas. I have tons of ideas waiting to be hatched but the creative juices have been flowing so much lately, I haven't needed extra help. 2) Buy some of my favorite magazines – these are non-jewelry, non-fashion mags (or a book) on home interior. I find my good inspirations for my designs come from home decor magazines. I particularly like Southwest Style. Victoria magazine used to help…it's not quite the same as it used to be. I've found blogs (like Nancy McKay) that have the floral light photos that work for me better. Martha Stewart in a pinch. Other blogs that are NOT my medium. 3) If I'm burned out, I do something completely different. Clean the house. Go on vacation. Take a day trip. Read a book. Anything BUT the jewelry. 4) If I'm mentally fogged due to illness (for me, migraines) I do production work (if I have energy), make spacers, make basic components, print and fold a bunch of the pillow boxes, make product tags…anything that is mindless.

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