Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Searching for your muse?

Creative Road block

Ten Tips for getting past your creative dead end

1. Pick a project from a magazine, or buy a kit, and make the project according to the directions as they are written – no short cuts. This will force you to think like another designer, and a slightly different approach to a project can teach you a few things.

2. Take a walk, ride your exercise bike, or even do a sink-load of dishes by hand. The repetitive motion of the mindless task will let your mind wander, and you may just stumble onto your path out of your road block.

3. Try a small project in a new hobby – if you bead, sew something. If you paint, try polymer clay. Working in a similar, but new-to-you medium may help you look at the same-old-same-old (color blending, for example) in a new way.

4. Make a gift: choose colors for your friend, not for you. Think of your friend as you work. Consider her colors, her size, her preferences. Your gift will come from the heart, and you may find that thinking away from your own style will re-open your creativity.

5. Accept a commission. Kind of like #4, making something to someone else’s specifications will make you consider new materials, new combinations, new approaches.

6. Look through pictures of your old work (you do take pictures of your masterpieces before you release them, don’t you??). When I’m on a jewelry-making roll, something kind of takes over, and I make things I really had no prior plans for. Call it my muse. When I look back at old work, sometimes I think, “Wow. That was really good, and I hardly remember making it.”

7. Get thee to a city. For me, it’s Milwaukee’s Third Ward, or preferably, Chicago. I love my country life, but more than a few times a year I need to see the crowds, check out what people are really wearing, see what’s in the stores. I’m instantly refreshed, and ready to get going.

8. If you’re a city-dweller, come on out to the country. The rolling landscape, even in winter, can be quite inspiring. I see more than seven shades of brown (an a whole lotta white) outside my window right now.

9. If you can’t get to the city or the country, go ahead and watch some TV. Now, I’m not a big fan of TV, and I went several years without seeing an episode of everyone’s favorite Sunday-night drama. However, when I finally turned it on, I smacked my forehead. What a great source for fashion and jewelry inspiration! The same can be said for lots of sitcoms and even the nightly news.

10. Just do it. Jump in, get going, bite off more than you can chew. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t get started. Even if you have to un-do everything you’ve done, doing something is much better than doing nothing.


  1. Great post about a problem that seems to come along routinely. Number 7 is something I have to work on - not being too isolated - and number 1 is one we should all do regularly.

  2. my favorite suggestion of yours is to get to the city to see what people are wearing! it is so true that we can easily get inspiration just by people watching. i live in a city, but when i go to NYC - wow! - it's a whole new world of inspiration. nice post!