Friday, September 17, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Finding Inspiration for Your Craft

I've truly missed being able to craft and spend more time interacting with all of you, but studying has taken up so much of my "free" time lately.  Perhaps you've been in a similar situation - where you are so invested in something else that you don't find the time to be creative anymore.  Or maybe you have had a lull in your work for some other reason.  I got to thinking today about my inspiration for crafting and why it is so important to me.  As you may know if you've followed my history, I started making jewelry as a response to depression and anxiety I was dealing with in my personal life.  I turned to wearable art as a way to express myself while having something fun and productive to do in my spare time.  I don't always feel like crafting things though.  Sometimes I've gone to my work room (aka dining room), sat down, picked up a few things and then set them down and walked back out.  Why?  Sometimes I just don't have the inspiration.  As someone that generally creates one of a kind pieces, I desperately need to have some sort of inspiration in order to plan my next piece and move on to the next idea.  Here are some things I do when I lose my inspiration and need to refocus in order to craft:

Photo from Tsun_TsuKu_Tsun used under CC license

1. Don't push it.  When I try to make things and I'm not feeling inspired, I always end up taking them apart or never finishing the project.  If you don't want to make it (and you don't have a customer waiting for it, of course), wait until you do feel like it again.  When I take a few days off, I'm usually itching to get back to the work table.  Never try to force yourself to be creative - let the ideas come to you naturally.

2. Go outside, even if that's not really your thing.  Nature can be a powerful influence and just experiencing it for a while can bring up new ideas.  If it's too hot, cold, or stormy for a long walk in the woods or on the beach, try finding a (safe and comfortable) spot to sit and view nature.  You don't have to risk being struck by lightning or passing out from heat stroke to get the benefit of experiencing nature's beauty and power.

3. Experience someone else's art from a different field than your own.  For example, if you're a painter, try going to see a play.  If you're a jewelry artisan, consider checking out the paintings in a local art gallery.  If you're a photographer, go listen to an orchestra play.  These are all flexible examples, but the point remains - you don't want to copy someone else's ideas (i.e. a painter reproducing a photographer's work in watercolors without permission) but, when done correctly, reaching far outside your own medium is a great way to spark your creativity.

Photo from Passion Fusion used under CC license
4. Try something new.  After I made jewelry for a while, I branched out and learned how to sew.  Working with fabrics and vintage buttons gave me ideas that eventually bled over into my style of jewelry.  Trying out a new medium is a great way to get new creative ideas and potentially even new product lines for your business.  If you don't know how to do anything else, try taking a beginner's class at an arts and crafts shop or studio.  Even learning something non-"crafty" like cooking (which I see as a type of art form in itself) can have a positive influence on your work - and you may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

5. Think outside of the norm.  (I bet you thought I was going to say box, didn't you?  Same thing.) Do you find yourself at peace when you're strolling through a farmer's market early on a Sunday morning, enjoying the air, tasting fresh produce, and smelling flowers and freshly baked bread?  I do.  Maybe you experience that feeling while sipping coffee at a cafe, playing with your dog at the neighborhood park, or listening to your grandfather share his life stories.  Whatever it is that moves you, go do it...and be moved.

So what gets you in the creative mood?  And how do you find your inspiration again when your passion starts to fade?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,