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January always puts me in a funk.
I am not sure if it is the after-holiday sugar high letdown or the disturbingly cold weather or the fact that I sometimes feel like I am in the exact same place as I was last year or what… but I seem to be stuck in a rut.
One way that I force myself out of the blahs is to rise to a challenge.
I decided to add a feature to my own blog that I call 30 Words Thursdays. I used to do this from time to time and I enjoyed it. I have always wanted to have something regular to look forward to, and this picture above taken on my cell phone (!) inspired me to make it real. All the pictures on my camera are of jewelry related items. That just isn’t right. I am challenging myself to take a new picture every week and then write exactly 30 words about it. No more. No less. And it comes out very poetic, which is a bonus! The 30 Words Challenge is open to anyone at anytime. Join me!
At the beginning of this month I challenged myself come up with something for each of the eight color palettes from the 101 Bracelets, Necklaces & Earrings call for submission. I have done this for the past few years and I have even had two pieces make the covers, so I have a bit of a soft spot for this issue. It is a publication that really brings out the best in so many talented designers and I feel honored to have been a part of it. I like the framework of the color palettes they select each year for this issue as it gives me guidance but also freedom (if you like that sort of color inspiration, I invite you to join me in the monthly Pretty Palettes challenge I host on the Halcraft.com blog).
Last week I found out that they wanted to see all eight of the pieces that I submitted for further consideration. Woohoo! I have no illusions that they will select any or all of them, but it is a great affirmation that I am pointing my toes in the right direction. 😉
Keeping up with the challenge to myself and the rut-getting-out-of, I set about to make at least one thing for each of the Stringing Summer calls for submissions. I am very excited about the themes: word jewelry, stackable bracelets, fabulous facets and upcycled jewelry. All in my wheelhouse! That will be an awesome issue.
I am sending in three pieces to them for further consideration, but that left a few things that did not get selected. But that is okay because that means I am free to submit them somewhere else, sell them in the Gallery Q or share them with everyone (or keep them for myself!). So next week I am planning a tutorial on this blog for one of them. Stay tuned for that!
For the fabulous facets category, I thought it would be a good idea to explore the faceted beads that I started making in November for the Art Bead Scene challenge. Do you remember those?
I wanted to make the same, glow-from-within rough faceted beads but in an ombre color palette. I decided to use Pantone’s Radiant Orchid color as my starting point and made a set of five beads. I used them in this necklace with faceted links and some Imperial Jasper beads that I call ‘The Many Facets of Orchid’.
|The Many Facets of Orchid|
Since it didn’t get selected for Stringing, I decided to wear it today.
I love it!
Today I am offering these handmade beads on my website that I am calling Facet Effects in sets of four in whatever ombre color palette you like! I would love to make my first set for one of our Art Bead Scene readers who answers this question…
beadrecipesJanuary 17, 2014 at 10:57 am
I find having to do a blog hop challenge is a great way for me to get out my rut — having to come up with something is good for me. Another thing that works for me when I am getting ready for a market and I don't have inspiration for bigger pieces is to make earrings — I got through my bead soups and pick out pairs and put them this way and that to make earrings.
Loving your new faceted beads, such wonderful colours and shapes! And your necklace looks fabulous on you!
JeanieJanuary 17, 2014 at 10:59 am
I don't mean to copy from your beautiful picture, but nature is always my biggest inspiration. The colors and textures are never ending and always inspiring!
KayzKreationzJanuary 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm
When I'm stuck I usually look for a challenge or blog hop to help make me try things. Plus I read blogs about challenges others are doing and sometimes find something to inspire me. For instance, I hadn't heard do the earring challenge color palette you spoke of and will check that out. And I had read about the Stringing submissions, but had forgotten I wanted to try to make something for one or two of them and FINALLY get the nerve up to submit something to a magazine, although it may be too late for that now. Thanks for posting.
ManekiJanuary 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm
Oh, I love that kind of irregular beads! Perhaps one of my favourite polymer clay technique (to look at, have never tried it myself). Had it not been for my budget forbidding me to buy anything but cheap beads, I'd bought some of your rondelle beads already.
And now these in those yummy purples! Nice!
As for being stuck… Well, it kind of depends what kind of rut it is. A new type of bead, finding or other supply to play with is always fun. It gives you an opportunity to try something different, get new inspiration. Same thing with discovering a new type of jewellery, fashion style/subculture/lifestyle (like mori kei and dark mori for me), artistic genre, comic artist etc — to get some new, fresh images and expressions to fuel your imagination with.
In a way, for me personally, finding some new keywords and themes around new year was perfect as it became kind of symbolic: new inspiration for a new year. I began the year with mori kei and wabi sabi inspiration found in december and continued with (faux) terrarium and dried flowers jewellery in january. Not only did it mean new visual inspiration, but it came with a set of lifestyle elements that reminded me of who I am and what means the most to me (everything from nature to fairytales to drinking hot cocoa). Those elements that went beyond the surface was probably what made the inspiration go from just new images for moodboards to an exciting feeling that extended beyond just creating. I started feeling more positive and inspired to do something (new) in general, rather than when looking specifically for jewellery/beadwork inspiration.
To end my probably long comment, just a little suggestion I always mention as it's helped me out of creative ruts many times. I often doodle — being with a pencil, needle and thread or a cutter — as there's no pressure or anticipation to make a finished piece. It's the process and not the result that's in focus and that can be liberating, to let go of you mind's demands of a finished result.
SusanmJanuary 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm
I agree that blog hops are a great inspiration for helping me get out of a creative rut. If I'm stuck for my next project, I will sometimes rummage through my own bead stash and see what grabs my eye. It's easy to forget what you've already got (especailly when your supplies are as disorganized as mine) and I find a fresh look at my stash often gets my creative juices revved up.
JeanJanuary 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm
Stuck in a rut? Me? What helps me? Music and humor. Sometimes at the same time.
I love your beads! I want your beads!!! As always, you are my hero and brilliant inspiration!
Mary Newton DesignsJanuary 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm
When i get stuck I go to my "ideas" book. I save pictures of things that inspire me, colors, designs, etc. I can always count on being inspired to get moving!
AngiJanuary 17, 2014 at 4:19 pm
I love your new beads! I so want to own some of your amazing beads/components, just need to find the $!
When I find my self in a creative rut, I try a new technique. I love to work with metal and wire, but if I'm having trouble with ideas I may pull out resin or poly clay. I follow LOTS of jewelry blogs. Nothing gives me more inspiration than checking out all of the creative awesomeness on my favorite blogs!!
Angi Mullis email@example.com
Ema KilroyJanuary 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm
I have to two ways to get unstuck. One is to go through my inspiration folder. I collect photos and stash into the folder, thinking one day I'll make a bead or a piece jewelry to capture that image. My second technique is to simply start cleaning up my jewelry design space. Beautiful beads and other materials begin to emerge and suddenly the ideas start flowing. Your new pieces are beautiful. The necklace looks gorgeous on you!
SaraccinoJanuary 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm
There are two things actually that I am doing. If I have enough time and I am stuck (when I have other things to do, I have always the best ideas and frustrated because I can't explore them ^^) I knwo that this is mostly due to some unresolved issues… stress, panic, something like this. Maybe just underlying but nagging from inside. If I start dealing with it, I get out of my creative hole. The other aspect is that there is a to big discrepancy between the images in my head and what my hands are able to create (or the medium itself). Then I have just to stop thinking and start playing… just test the medium over and over again with no goal. That helps quite a lot, to let go of the control… 😉
ElizabethJanuary 17, 2014 at 5:59 pm
My kick in the "rut" is to clean and organize. Being in a work ready space seems to attract my goofy muse. Beautiful article, Erin !
Happy creating everyone!
Deb FortinJanuary 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm
When Im stuck for ideas I just go online and look at my favourite jewellery blogs (yours is one of them) . It never fails getting my creative juices flowing. It sends me into "what if " mode. and if blogland is not available then i reread my favourite magazines and that helps.
Karen MJanuary 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm
There are many things that help get me "unstuck" but lately I've been visiting my jewelry box and pulling out pieces that I love. I have cleaned out a lot and will repurpose some. I ask myself questions and listen. Enrolling in a class helps me too.
Sarajo WentlingJanuary 17, 2014 at 8:09 pm
Erin, I ADORE the necklace you made and it looks just perfect on you! I think that one might be a keeper.
I have to agree with so many others that it's often a blog hop or other challenge that breaks me out of my rut. What I tend to find is that while I'm going through my stash looking for beads for one project, several other ideas/projects jump out at me demanding to be made.
My other trick if I'm feeling creatively stuck is to make a batch of simple earrings or a couple of necklaces that are one of my "go to" popular designs. I find that if I just push through and make something, anything that I get my mojo back.
sandi mJanuary 17, 2014 at 10:16 pm
Love your rocks Erin and those colors are yum! I can't imagine you ever in a rut, my dear, as you are a.l.w.a.y.s creating magic.
I think my "rut" is having too many ideas floating in the brain – do I play with sheet?, wire – which one?, steel?, solder?, pearls?, lampwork? … you get the picture. So I just try to not look at any more inspiration, and try to concentrate/focus on o.n.e medium and it usually works.
I've been thinking of submissions again – now to decide which one?!
freshbakeddesignsJanuary 18, 2014 at 1:10 am
i go directly to two of my favorite local bead stores and fondle some beads. Usually works like a charm!
Seriously…it's okay to take a break from the making of things and I have to be okay with a rhythm and flow of creativity. Be kind to yourself.
Alice HoweJanuary 18, 2014 at 1:31 am
I spend time looking at my jewelry journals. I've made drawings, written instructions and just put in cool things and then I forget to look back over them. It's nice to go back and revisit this medium. If often generates new(or old) thoughts about what to do.
Steph L.January 18, 2014 at 1:36 am
Whenever I'm stuck, I buy new beads. Or look at old ones that I haven't seen in awhile because I stashed them somewhere. Look that necklace and those fun beads!
Erin SJanuary 18, 2014 at 2:16 am
looking through etsy favorites usually gets me out of a rut and gives me some ideas. I also keep old sundance catalogs–I love their jewelry. Sometimes just seeing a certain gemstone or color combo will get me revved up again. Love the facet effect beads!
TanyaJanuary 18, 2014 at 2:16 am
When I'm stuck, I look at books and designs I've liked in the past. I can't always do something similar, but it gets my mind moving. Google searches help in that way as well.
Erin, that necklace is awesome! I love the way you used your faceted rounds with the cording and those hoops. It's so awesome and I can't believe it wasn't picked up. I hope you have fun wearing it!
AnnaJanuary 18, 2014 at 2:18 am
To get out of a rut, or just stay inspired, I find studying other art mediums is a great help. I look at everything – paintings, glass work, embroidery, quilts, photography, plus read widely. One never knows where the next great idea will come from! Oh, and exercise always helps, too 🙂
Delicious colored beads, Erin!
Roxanne MendozaJanuary 18, 2014 at 5:27 am
Hi Erin! I agree with the others who posted about organizing and looking at their beads. Sometimes we don't appreciate the down time and always feel the need to create even if the ideas aren't flowing. Cleaning my desk also helps me to create a fresh start and that literally helps me make room for new ideas. 😉
Also, a little mini vacation or weekend getaway helps me to get inspired again. Even just different scenery helps!
LindaJanuary 18, 2014 at 8:09 am
Your faceted beads are really gorgeous. I love the color saturated hues!
I find that jewelry eye candy in any form, fans the creative spark for me. Some of my go-to sources include Pinterest, Etsy favorites and past issues of 101 BNE and Stringing magazine.
Divya NJanuary 18, 2014 at 11:36 am
There is nothing like blog challenges and magazine submissions to shake things up. I have sent my pieces to BNE and stringing daily this time too and hope it gets published
Eileen BergenJanuary 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm
When I'm in a rut? Either reorgainzing my stash or any sort of challenge like a swap or contest.
AlisaJanuary 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm
When I'm stuck in a rut, I like to learn a new technique or challenge myself to work in a color palette outside of my norm.
hula-laJanuary 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm
When stuck in a rut… a walk in the woods clears the cobwebs. Mother Nature provides all that is necessary to tap into the Universe for inspiration. Brings inner peace, provides a clear head and a great BIG smile! Joy in abundance to get right back in to the "creative chaos". Love the beads. Aloha
SajunoJanuary 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm
The biggest and surest step for me is to just move to my work desk and sit there. Within a few minutes there is something around me that I want to touch, organize, think about and soon I am energized. I have a large bowl in which I keep odds and ends of jewelry which needs to be disassembled and the parts put where they belong. This is like a meditation, very relaxing, and it reconnects me to the beads I have on hand and gets me thinking.
This artbead site is also great for inspiration and I have it marked so that it comes up along with my home page when I turn on the computer. It reminds me that beauty and creativity are primary to me.
I too, absolutely love those lovely faceted beads.
Jennifer PelliconeJanuary 18, 2014 at 6:12 pm
Stuck in a rut:
First I find a bit of inner peace…an extra brisk walk, a time for contiplation.
Then a look at my idea drawings usually gets me going. If not, a very simple project, then on to the big 'stuff'!
cspmom at gmail dot com
Jeanne @ Gems By Jeanne MarieJanuary 18, 2014 at 8:17 pm
Erin I love your faceted beads and your necklace!
I tend to work best under pressure. So January can be tough because I don't have any deadlines.
When I need inspiration, I head to my stash ~ maybe I'll sort through my favorite artist beads. Or pick a color and challenge myself to create a few things in that palette.
Challenges and blog hops (with deadlines) help a lot. And I love being part of Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Reading Book Club. Check out his blog or our Facebook page for more info.http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/2014/01/inspired-by-reading-book-club-20142015.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FcePb+%28Andrew+Thornton%29
We're always looking for more participants!
When all else fails, I dig out the silver wire and craft some earwires and clasps. I always need those in stock.
CarolynJanuary 19, 2014 at 7:52 am
Great beads and necklace.
When I get stuck creatively, I look for a blog challenge such as yours. Or I look at past magazine issues.
Thanks for the opportunity to win a set of your beads.
peacockfairyJanuary 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm
What usually helps me, is finding a project that I am really excited about doing. Maybe something I saw on Pinterest or in a magazine. Something where I have guidance in what I am doing rather than trying to create something myself. Once I get into the project, that usually fuels my excitement to continue on and start creating from my own ideas. I feel like it is the best way to ease back into creating, since I don't get to do it as often anymore.
ShaihaJanuary 20, 2014 at 9:47 pm
When I get stuck I tend to grab some of the project books that I have purchased to see if anything rings a bell. I also dig thorough magazines and PinInterest.
And I do have to say that I just love those new beads! They are gorgeous!
Here Bead DragonsJanuary 21, 2014 at 5:31 am
When I'm in a rut I have two options: #1 pull out a ziplock bag from my drawer of perpetual projects (things I put together earlier) or #2 go through my boxes of focals and if nothing strikes my fancy, close my eyes, say einee, menee, miney and pull a focal out of a box and make some thing up.
Carol D.January 22, 2014 at 5:29 am
I love color, so I choose a color and go from there. By the time I hunt out various materials and beads in that color, I usually have my idea forming.
Debra GibsonJanuary 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm
I would like to Thank ABS for choosing me I have waited patiently to be chosen for several years. So I was very excited that I had finally won! This is my favorite blog and I admire so many of the artist involved with ABS. So many thanks to you ! Have a great weekend and create something wonderful !
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