Continued…Rules for Creativity

Hello Everyone–

The azaleas are probably blooming in Houston, but I still have a foot of snow in my front yard.  Springtime in the Rockies is not as romantic as the song makes it sound.  March is our snowiest month here in Colorado, but today I saw my first robin, so there is hope in my heart and lightness in my step.  Today I  finally organized my stones and beads from Tucson, and I had a rare, very special  treat. I got to talk with my friend Noel in Madagascar. We were in Chile together, and this week I am happy because all my Chilean friends have been accounted for after the tragic earthquake of Sunday morning. Our hearts and prayers go out for all the victims and their families.  Chile is an exquisitely beautiful country. Chileans are also very strong.

I have been so blessed this week.  My husband safely returned from Australia, I spent yesterday with 2 jewelry friends,  Maria Roditis and Heathyrre Kautz,  I heard from John in Arkansas (he liked the stones I picked out for him in Tucson) and I am getting ready to make my first piece of jewelry with my new stones.  Mary called from Albuquerque, it is such an inspiration when we talk,  and Kathleen will be here tomorrow. Life is good.

So now I’m sitting down to my bench.  I am surrounded with inspirational stones and gems  My space music is playing softly in the background, I have  pinon incense to remind me of Santa Fe.    I am totally BLANK.  Nothing comes to mind.  Nada.  Zilch. All dressed up and no where to go.   As I have bought my stones I have images in my mind of what they will become.  I should draw them out at that moment of inspiration.  So here I sit… contemplating my bench pin.  Nothing comes to mind.  Ok, I’ll sort my sand paper. That being done, I return to my bench.  Nothing.  OK, I’ll straighten my pliers drawer.  That should take some time!  Finished with that, I return to my bench.  Nope. Oh, I know, that new package of Girl Scout cookies will inspire me, so I traipse  off to the kitchen, and eat a box of Thin Mints (horrors!) and a glass of milk, and think of Chile and my best friends Maria, Noel, and Diana, and the hours we spent in Starbucks instead of making jewelry like we planned.  Some things never change.

Does this ever happen to you?  I should be getting ready for the summer festivals. I want really wonderful pieces, but nothing comes. No bolt of inspiration has hit me. But, I know The Answer.  I just have to do it.  That’s the hard part.  Doing it. But try.  I promise it works.

Here is The Secret: Nothing begats creativity like creativity.  I choose one stone, set a bezel on a  square sheet of sterling.  It’s a start.  From that I play with the shapes and soon I’m cutting out a shape, filing and sanding.   Keeping my hands and mind busy is Part I of  The Secret.  Part II  is “Don’t over think the process….just BEGIN and it will come to you”.  “Ask for the switch to be turned on”, as Julia Cameron says in “The Artist’s Way” .  I don’t know why I beat my head against my bench trying to force a design, when if I just start, it will come.   Procrastination is the biggest enemy of creativity, and we all procrastinate.  We give the excuses of  “I can’t make jewelry until I have (choose one) A. a new stone, sawblades, etc  B. a new bench,  C. a whole new studio.  We all have our procrastination demons.  If you just start, you don’t have to even know where you are going, but your creative side will overcome the procrastination demon.

Try it.  You have nothing to lose, and the world to gain once you conquer procrastination. Let me know how it works for you.

Sorry I have to go, I need to finish polishing my new piece.



7 Responses

  1. Excellent food for thought and very timely indeed Lexi! Love the comment about staring at the bench pin.

    Hey, it sounds like it’s time for another Sunsets and Gelattos evening….that fuels the creative engines too. Looking forward to seeing you tonight!

    • Hi Kathleen–Sometimes it’s the bench pin, sometimes it’s my row of files…..but to not overthink the process and just get started is the main thing. I think tonight will be tea and brownies. I’m making some now.
      Big Hugs…see you this afternoon–

  2. Lexi, you are my jewelry guru. My style is so similar to your, (although not comprabile!). Bur i can always open my new LJ/JA knowing that a piece is yours. You helped me so much when you worte about not having a sketch, drawing, or even a plan when you sit down at your bench. Everything I have read emphasizes planning, sketching, etc. It just doesn’t work for me. My best pieces are those that may turn out to be a pendant or a brooch, and usually my screwups are my best work! Like you, I pick out a stone, set it, then figure it out from there. I was just happy to know that someone I admire so much works out of her head and not of a oiece of paper! Cheers! Jo Anne Wilkinson

    • JoAnne–how have you been? It’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you for your comments which validate to so many about the design process. It’s whatever works for YOU. I have found that many times something looks great in a sketch book, and when i get it made, I’m very disappointed it. Things work great when I just let them happen. I’m glad it works for you because I think it sometimes keeps the piece fresh and exciting. And your screw-ups are just what we call “design changes”. I do believe that the piece will be what it wants to be. Thank you for letting me know that I inspire you. I hope I will be able to live up to your expectations. I would love to see some photos of your work. Please keep the comments coming.

  3. I was just reading through my old emails and read the above. I am a relatively well reared individual, but I must have had one too many glasses of red when I wrote that! I really can spell, and generally make sense!
    Sorry; my mother was my 4th and 5th grade teacher and would roll over in her grave if she read that!!!

  4. I usually try to sketch my designs out, but sometimes I use the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method, also, lol. When nothing seems to work, I pick a really boring-ish jewelry job and do that. Usually I’m so bored after a bit that I start thinking of all kinds of creative things I could be working on instead of what I am. For me, the boring job is making simple wire wrapped bead rings that I sell in my booth when I go to shows. I can finish one in a couple of minutes, and make them out of copper and inexpensive beads or buttons, so I sell them very inexpensively. Parents will often have their children pick one out while they’re shopping.

    I’m loving your blog. I just found it and I’m having a good time reading through the posts. Thanks for sharing your talent with the world.

    • You’ve got that ring thing figured out, Marcy. I’m still trying to come up with something within the teen-agers price range! I’m glad you like my blog. I love to write, and sometimes I spend more time writing than making jewelry! I’ll be posting another rant soon!

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