Inside the Studio: Cross-Pollinating Ideas

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

Congratulations to Julie Bray!  You have won of a new set of beads from Firefly Design Studio!
Julie please email Michelle to receive your prize.

Cross-Pollinating Your Inspirations

Let’s talk for a minute about cross-pollinating your jewelry inspirations. Want to know the secret to always coming up with fresh and new ideas?

It’s a simple task despite the fact that centuries ago it was claimed, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Actually let’s go back to Biblical times!) And it’s true, we all have the same materials, the same influences, we see the same jewelry and techniques.

So how do you create something original?
Cross-pollination in creativity is the idea of pulling your inspirations from a wide variety of sources that may have nothing to do with your medium. So instead of looking at other jewelers for inspiration, cross-pollinate by pulling in your other hobbies, current fascinations and side-obsessions to bring in new ideas to your designs.

Maybe your love of adult coloring books will bring in new ideas for wire-work or color palettes that you played with on a coloring app. Maybe you’ll be inspired to create jewelry based on your favorite book character. Studying an ancient culture may spark a new jewelry design. Maybe dance will inspire a movement in a jewelry creation.

Our monthly challenge uses art work to cross-pollinate new ideas borrowing colors and designs elements from art history.

Sometimes playing in a new medium can bring in ideas for your jewelry. I’ve been busy taking an illustration course on creating designs for the home decor market. You wouldn’t believe how many jewelry and bead designs have sprung from this new source of creativity. You can see some of my paintings above and new jewelry inspired by them below.

For some further reading check out these two books that I have found life-changing!

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (really helpful if you ever doubt your creativity!)

This is the project for a class that I’m teaching this year inspired by my painting explorations.

So tell me one place that comes to mind that you can draw inspiration for cross-pollinating into your jewelry.

We’ll draw one random comment next Friday for a $20 Humblebeads.com gift certificate.

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17 Comment

  1. Linda
    February 20, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I also do floral arranging. I've learned a lot about composition, texture and color usage through this discipline. I've also learned to look at my plant material with an artist's eye, rather than a casual glance.

  2. Sharon
    February 20, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    My watercolor painting classes allow me to see nature in a more creative light, as to details, techniques in achieving color harmony, light and shadows, a cross pollination which has helped me in my jewelry designs.

  3. Kathy Lindemer
    February 21, 2016 at 1:03 am

    I like to go out into nature and take photographs that capture different color combinations created by Mother nature. My photography serves as an inspiration to me. I also like to look at photographs of other nature photographers for inspiration. I guess you could say photography is my form of cross pollination.

  4. Sharon Driscoll
    February 21, 2016 at 2:21 am

    Steal Like An Artist is one of my favorite books. I will have to go and get the other one you mentioned. Great blog, as always!

  5. Sharon Driscoll
    February 21, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Oh, almost forgot after seeing my favorite book mentioned – – I love to look at children's art shows. So uninhibited!! A recent joy was the one at the Toe River Art Council gallery in Spruce Pine, NC.

  6. Julie Bray
    February 21, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Thank you for the beads from Firefly Design! I am thrilled 🙂
    Great suggestions about cross pollination to gather new ideas.
    I just finished Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and found it very inspiring.
    Carol King in an interview said "Don't let people stop you, let the world decide, just go for it!"
    To all the artists at Art Bead Scene, I appreciate the beautiful pictures and the hard work you do to make the web site sing!
    Julie Bray

  7. coffeelizard
    February 21, 2016 at 3:32 am

    I love having Hawaii or beaches as an inspiration . Since Hawaiian islands are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, it makes me think of flowers and the. The ocean life, so how can you every run out of inspiration ?

  8. Kristina
    February 21, 2016 at 6:07 am

    I have found some excellent inspiration from cooking, especially from vegetable dishes. Nature is always a source of inspiration as well.

  9. Divya N
    February 21, 2016 at 7:08 am

    The materials I use are the biggest source of my inspiration, Color comes a close second. I look at something and I am like " I can make this into something nice" and I start making it. I love working with found objects and recycling or reinventing them. Also being born and raised in culturally strong society, I have to look no further than the art and craft of India to get inspired.

  10. beadrecipes
    February 21, 2016 at 9:12 am

    I get inspiration from nature, but also from colour — I love sites like Design Seeds, not to mention this one, for highlighting unusual colour combinations.

  11. Kristen
    February 21, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I have been taking some online drawing classes and hope to transfer those skills to painting with my glass enamels.

  12. Andrea Porter
    February 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I try to remember the little things I see throughout my day that made me smile. It could be anything really. Sometimes I might build on an idea of a piece I have seen and admired. Sometimes it's finding color combinations that I like, maybe that I wouldn't have ever thought to put together. I will go back through my own pieces and build on them or do a different piece in the same general color scheme. So far, I have not run out of inspiration. I always have ideas running through my head! I only wish I had the time to see them all through! Thanks for the chance to win your gift certificate!

  13. Klassy Joolz
    February 21, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    "Cross Pollination"…I like that. I think nature and art give me the most inspiration. I live in the desert which has it's own beauty, but not a lot of greenery and colorful flowers…so I like to bring more color into my designs.

    Great post…love your designs as always!

  14. Debra Gibson
    February 21, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    My love for anything Shabby Chic draws inspiration for my design's. I love old lace and pearls and lot's of bling so I try to incorporate the things I love into my jewelry . Thanks' for the chance to win, I love your new idea's Heather !!

  15. Sarajo Wentling
    February 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I'm really inspired by color and shape so I draw a lot of inspiration from textiles, scrapbook paper, photographs, and just what I see firsthand in nature! And by the way, I'm DYING over those advanced metal sketches you've shared. I'm hoping that your fall retreat will include some of those!

  16. Erin S
    February 22, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Fabric often give me ideas for color combos and patterns/shapes. Magazine ads sometimes spark some inspiration as well.

  17. Rachel Lyons
    February 26, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    cross-pollination is the perfect term! i browse old books of botanical illustrations…usually flowers. this helps with color but also texture!

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