My college boyfriend was a dark, brooding type, who thought depression lead to creativity. Then again, all his songs were depressing, and I really didn’t like them. If I was making Goth jewelry, dark thoughts might help, but in my case, I turn in a different direction. Some of these tips are common sense and some are a bit more abstract. I hope they will help you become a better artisan.
1) “Think of a wonderful thought.” That was Peter Pan’s advice to Wendy, when she wanted to learn how to fly. So if I start thinking about space, or fairy tales, or the islands of Greece, it will naturally evoke images of glowing light or twinkling tiaras or swirls of sea foam. If it’s hard to picture your wonderful things, grab a book or find images on the internet. Then sit down in fro
nt of your bead box(es). Something will often “jump out” at you, because half of the idea was already in your mind.
2) Begin with stealing. Didn’t someone say great artists steal? Sure, we’re supposed to aim for originality. But when you sit down to copy a design, you might start to think, “if I do this or change that, it will look much nicer”, and once you’ve got the creative process going, you’ll get even more ideas.
3) Grab 10 things in the same color family and put everything else away. Or grab 5 things at the opposite side of the color wheel. From the 10 things that are similar, place a few of them together and switch them out until you have 4-5 favorites, then put the rest away. If you’re the type who likes to be matchy, chose wire or string with a matching warm or cool tone. If you picked 5 items on the opposite side of the color wheel, narrow your choices down to 2 or 3. By having a spectrum of matchy items, your piece will gain depth. Conversely, by having 2-3 items on opposite sides of the color wheel, your piece will achieve contrast. Color opposites may feel odd at first, but keep in mind that holiday colors are made from pairs or sets of opposite colors (red/green, yellow/purple/pink, orange/black), and make great decorations. Some holiday tones are great for babies (Easter colors), some for young children (Christmas colors are primary), and some are great for even the most Gothic teens (Halloween anyone?).
4) Watch a period film or documentary. Style evolves, but it also cycles. What’s old will become new again after a few decades. Additionally, there are always hopeless romantics that like to look back on thepast and wear trinkets or jewelry that evoke bygone eras. Maybe you’ll get ideas for a new choker based on Victorian times, or footless sandals inspired by Cleopatra’s elaborate jewels. Even if nothing strikes you immediately, you’ll feel more relaxed and hopefully re-energized and creative.
5) Clean your workspace. It may not be fun to pick up each tiny bead and file it away, but it is extremely helpful in the creative process. If you were a painter that didn’t start with a clean canvas, you might get confused as you try to brush a stroke of golden hair over lines of brown or green. In that same way, we can be distracted or confused by seeing too many colors or materials on the table. By cleaning your space you make room not just on your table, but in your mind, leaving more room for inspiration.