Blog entry

5 Ways to Break Out of a Creative Rut

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The Value of Critique

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I’m always surprised, in the various wire art forums I participate in, that there is so little emphasis on critique. There are groups aplenty, and most of them are geared toward learning. But very rarely is a true critique--one that’s more than “So beautiful!”--offered. It’s unfortunate, because there’s a lot of benefit to be found in receiving and offering critiques. 

The Studio Journal

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Quite a while back, I wrote a little blog post about using graph paper while I'm working. But really, I use a notebook for a lot more than just keeping track of the specifics of a project while I'm working on it. I use it to plan projects, to take notes for future use, to spur my creativity, and to just jot down thoughts. It becomes a record of nearly everything that happens related to my work.

Recognizing Progress

I spend a lot of time on line. I mean, A LOT. I do a lot of my business in Facebook auction groups, and most of my marketing is done through social media, which means I interact with many, many talented jewelry artists, and I see some absolutely jaw-dropping work. It's really easy to look at my own work and feel that it doesn't measure up, that my skills aren't progressing, that I'll never, ever be as good as many of the artists that I see. 

Working when life interferes

Everybody's life gets messy. You get sick, or someone you love does. Or maybe it's as simple as trying to finish a commission while planning your kid's birthday party, and your friend wants you to sing at her wedding, and it's all supposed to happen the same week. How are you supposed to prioritize? How can you accomplish all of it while making sure you're holding up your responsibilites with customers, family and loved ones?

The Tool I Can't Work Without

When you work with your hands, whether it’s in mechanics, woodworking, metal, or anything else, your tools become incredibly important to you; even when I was writing a lot, I had favorite a couple of favorite pens, and if I had to use a different one, things just didn’t go as well.  The tools we use are like an extension of our arms and hands.  And sometimes, of our whole selves.

The Simple Things

I've been finding myself a little stymied lately.  I have plenty of ideas. But somewhere between concept and execution, the idea gets out of control.  How can I make it bigger, more intricate, more impressive? It's not competition, exactly -- at least, not with anybody but myself. I'm not trying to impress any particular person or audience, or outdo any artist or group of artists.

Creative Prompt: Doors

Sometimes I find myself doing the same thing in my work over and over, like minor variations on a theme. And while browsing gorgeous art jewelry on Pinterest and Etsy and the like can sometimes spur my mind into some fun new directions, I always worry that what I'll make from those inspirations will be derivative of somebody else's work.  So instead of looking at art jewelry for inspiration, I like to look to other sources.

Is it copying, or. . .

If you ever join an art (any art!) or craft forum, you'll find that one of the most frequently discussed topics is copyright infringement.  The discussions range from highly technical, informative posts, to angry rants--often within the same conversation.  But it’s for good reason we talk about it so often.  Copyright infringement is a real problem.