Sunday, February 28, 2010

Inspiration - 20 things to kickstart creativity

As part of my team ETSYMetal, I took the task of writing 20 things that I do to help me out if I'm in a creative slump.  I'm sure that some of them are quite normal, and that there are others out there that do things that are similar, but I hope that there are a few in my list that you haven't thought of, and will give you aid the next time you're in a creative corner!

There are several other wonderful ETSYMetal team members that have taken on blogging about this same subject, please refer to the bottom of my post for the direct links to their blogs!

This is what I would hope my brain looks like when FULL ON creative mode ;o)

1. Put on your walking shoes and go for a refreshing walk outside, especially if it has just rained! Listen to the sounds of the dripping water and the chirping birds, and smell the fresh wet earth. The empowering smells of nature in it’s rawest form, will always awaken sparks of creativity!

2. Find your top 20 all time favorite songs, spend some time doing this if you have to, and create a
playlist to loop only these songs. Do this while you sketch, or do some mundane tasks like filing on some
projects that have been put on the wayside, or prep some standard ring shanks in different sizes for future use. This time gives you room to let your mind soar along with your favorite music!

3. Create a display for your favorite pieces, the ones that you fell in love with while creating them. It could be something simple and rudimentary, like a piece of old wood or shutter with some nails stuck out of it to hang them on, just something that you can look at while in your studio, to give you peace of mind that you ARE a creative creature, and you are FULL of creativity as you emit pure beauty from your fingertips.

4. Clean your bench. A clutter free work space, means a clutter free mind.

5. Buy a book or find a video on a technique that you’ve never really tried or perfected, and spend an
afternoon or weekend trying it out and playing around, something that we vary rarely get to do anymore ;o)

6. Rent and watch the Discovery Channels ‘Planet Earth’ or ‘Blue Planet’ series. The beauty that lies
on all corners of this earth is breathtaking, and mindblowing. I can be moved to tears during this series,
and it leaves me refreshed and full of positive energy that I am a part of this marvelous and beautiful earth.

7. Focus on a particular color, for an entire day. Work everything you do around this color and have fun
with it! For example, orange. When you wake up in the morning, paint your nails a lovely shade of orange, or
put on a lively orange toned eyeshadow. Make a lovely mango salad for lunch, and find an orange cab, resin or pigment color to work with at your bench. Sometimes a simple focus on something you wouldn’t ordinarily think of or work with, will give you clarity and inspiration!

8. Along similar lines, try a different ethnicity of food for an entire day, or week if you can! Tasting
different flavors from your normal routine can be quite interesting, and will awaken new concepts and ideas.
Better yet, cook them yourself! For instance, my favorite thing to do is to take a trip to the incredible
wonderland of the local asian market, to stock up on supplies for a few days of experimenting with some new recipes (homemade Pho Soup or a Yum Nua Salad!) is a really fun adventure, and expands my thoughts and creativity from the little box I normally survive within.

9. Go to your local gardening store and pick out a lovely pot, and find a few vibrant flowers or some
freshly sprouted herbs, to create a little fresh focus for the windowsill in your studio or kitchen room.
If you have difficulty with getting enough natural light, get a low-light plant, such as a bromeliad.

10. Alright, this is the girlie side of me coming out, but there’s nothing like a wonderful soak in some scented oils and some salt scrubs to freshen, cleanse, and brighten the body and soul! (Men, don’t be afraid to try it as well!)

11. There is almost nothing else that is quite as relaxing and calming than curling up on my couch with my
three purring kitties and a cup of hot tea. Pets are full of love for their owners, and taking a time-out of
my day to cuddle and receive some of that love back makes me so happy! I know that everyone doesn’t have pets, and that some have allergies that prevent the more fur-inclined animals, and for you I feel SO SORRY! I’m eternally grateful that my allergies have been more focused on the grass/pollen type of allergens ;o)

12. Take a trip to your local botanical garden, and don’t forget to take your camera! Take photos of the
flowers and plants that call out to you with their beauty, and when you get back into your studio print several
of them out to arrange around your bench, to remind you of the beauty in this world.

13. Take a little break from your bench when you are feeling frustrated, and put on your favorite song
that makes you want to kick up your heels a bit. There is nothing like letting loose in your studio for no
one to see but yourself. It feels silly dancing all by myself, but somehow it releases the selfish feelings
that I get when I’m frustrated, or feeling sorry for myself when I can’t see past a soldering problem I’m having.

14. This is probably the simplest thing, but surprisingly I always forget about it. When I need a break,
or something to get my blood flowing throughout my body, I put on a pot of tea to steep while I take a 15 minute yoga break. Another 10 minutes to sit and drink my tea, and contemplate life and everything, and I’m ready to get back in the studio, blood fully flowing and ready to tackle anything ;o)

15. I keep a sketchbook on my night table by my bed, so when I sit bolt upright in the middle of the night
I can use my tiny nightlight to throw together a rough sketch of whatever just popped into my brain. Normally
the next morning I take a look at my sketch and realize that it’s something that would never work, but every
once in a while, the time I took to draw something crazy in the middle of the night will pay off, and will
become a successful piece of jewelry!

16. I don’t normally listen to classical music in my studio, but as my father is a classical pianist, sometimes I find putting on a Wagner or Beethoven cd, or something so beautiful and melodic by Handel, will give me a fresh outlook on whatever I’m doing, and also bring back wonderful memories from my childhood.

17. I know that this is a controversial subject, but when I’m feeling stuck and quite un-creative, I browse around the internet in search of new and fabulous jewelry metalsmiths that I hadn’t yet heard of. I know that some artists feel that they would be worried about the influences of the other artists would come across subliminally in their own work, but I feel the opposite way. I’m such a new artist in the metalsmithing world, that I find so much inspiration from others as I’m always on the lookout for new techniques and how they are used differently between artists. But I am very careful with my ideas, and am constantly asking myself, “Is this piece true to me, or am I stealing this from someone else?”

18. My nails and my poor poor fingers, are always torn to shreds, cut up, dirty, and often bleeding.
I’m not being melodramatic, any metalsmith will relate to what I’m talking about, and I’m also just a
particularly clumsy and klutsy person ;o) I’ll take a break a few times a week to soak my fingers,
and to give myself a mini-manicure. I’ll rub some extreme moisturizer into my dried skin, and when I’m
done I feel replenished, and ready to pick up my saw again.

19. Sometimes the problem with ‘creative block’ is a lack of nutrients, or basically a sugar fix! As opposed to popping a piece of chocolate in my mouth, I keep a few delicious and sometimes exotic fruits in my kitchen at all times, so I can indulge in some healthy sugars to get my blood rejuvenated. My favorites are mango, strawberries, oranges, and blackberries.

20. Lastly, more often than not, I feel a lack of creativity because I have a lot going on, and it’s hard to focus because I always feel as if I’m forgetting something important. So sitting down for 15 minutes to go over my many post-it notes, and update my calendar, really helps give me some peace of mind so that I can focus on what I love, being creative!
Here are my other wonderful team members that are also blogging about their top 20 inspirational ideas!  - Chris Parry  - Sara Westermark  -Katie Miess Kohlhagen  - Ann Hartley  - Amanda Conley  - stacey - 2Roses  - Maria W  - Victoria Takahashi/Experimetal - Berenice Schaltegger  - Brooke Arin Medlin  -Thomasin Durgin/Metalriot  - Beth Cyr  - Catherine Chandler


Ann Hartley said...

I love your suggestions! I especially love the "keep a sketchbook close". I'm trying to do this as well, I think it will really help! Great post!

Amanda Conley said...

Great tips!

Beth Cyr said...

I'm a big fan of dried mangos - they make great little snack bits when i'm feeling scattered and want a sugar fix.
its funny how all the ones i've read so far include going outside! so true.

fluxplay said...

No.15 is a good one to list! I do this too, it's suprising how many solutions get sorted out in your head while you sleep!

Eve M Metalsmith said...

Thanks everybody!

This was a fun project, it really got me thinking, and gave me a good kickstart to, ironically, a creative slump I'm in the middle of ;o>

Catherine Chandler said...

Fantastic suggestions! I learned early on when things start melting and nothings working, that it's better to just stop for the day and do something else :) Saved me from some serious meltdowns!

haute hardware said...

This is such an excellent list. I need to channel some of this inspiration in a major way!

I also need to order that champagne quartz ring from you... :D

Eve M Metalsmith said...

Thanks everyone!

@Erin, you're more than welcome to hit me up anytime chicka ;o>

Anonymous said...

Great post...I can really relate to #15...I do the same thing. I think I do my best creating the minute I crawl into's not when I would like to be creating but it's hard to turn off your brain sometimes.

Lesley Jones said...

For me, number 4 is always the key to my creativity. Sounds silly, but I need space and an empty slate and then for some reason I can start throwing things together. A cluttered area kills my mojo.

Eve M Metalsmith said...

thanks miss lesley!

although i must say, quite predictable coming from you ;o> hehe. your work area/home is always so fastidious! and NO i'm not joking!