I am in a state of work melt down, am totally unimaginative. In any
case, my head is just as empty and without ideas. It happens to me
from time to time…And it is extremely frustrating, because I
always want to create something “new”…
What you would advise me to cure this “blockade” of my creative mind?
I’m sitting here pretty “isolated” without any contacts with
customers so how do you figure out what people are interested in?
are brooches still in demand? please help. Marcio
Sounds like you need a few days of “recharge”. Take some time to
connect with people (if you are in a store seeing spend a day or two
on the sales floor or talk to some true sales professionals -they
will have some ideas about what people are looking for out there),
visit a museum or botanical garden, check out the Orchid galleries,
maybe even go to a gourmet restaurant to see amazing art created with
food. I know that might sound odd, but the idea is to mix things up a
bit and, as I’m sure you know, inspiration can come from the most
Good luck and I look forward to seeing what you discover to create!
All the best,
I am a coach and a part-time jewelry student, so my recommendation
comes from a coaching perspective.
To break out of your “stuckness,” forget the client for the moment.
Forget about whether brooches are in vogue. Make something that will
make you smile.
What do you enjoy doing (apart from making jewelry)?
Where do you like to spend time (apart from your bench)?
What is your favorite animal?
Take a walk and notice what you are drawn to.
What color are you drawn to today?
I invite you to stop thinking about the task and to, instead, pay
attention to what makes your life wonderful.
May inspiration flow free!
Catch up on your bookkeeping.
Marcio, when I am tired of making decisions in the studio, I
sometimes make a length of fancy chain of some kind. One decision
hours of activity and honing skills. This gives one plenty of time to
think, which may take the pressure off.
Have some fun!
My sympathies! When I feel ‘cornered’, I clean and organize. Yup. It
is the opportune time to take care of tool maintenance (lube, polish,
sharpen, etc.) and sort stones (potential inspiration there!!) and
sweep the corners and so forth. While you do this, play some sort of
music that is different from your usual tunes.
An ongoing exercise in creativity is the never-ending chain. I pull
out bits of scrap such as bezels, cut-off earring clips, dented
Then make some links to add to my chain. When there are several
links, it’s fun to arrange them and add to the chain. Remake that
bezel and set a funky stone on a link. Fold-form that sheet into. who
knows what. Play with the mill and texture wire. Melt stuff - could
come out really cool.
And last, tell yourself that this too shall pass. You will be back
with new ideas in no time!
Judy in Kansas, where the zinnias are still going strong and I found
some hidden beans on the vines. Going to cover the jalapenos and
maybe keep them in production.
Catch up on your bookkeeping.
or even worse clean up your bench. Faced with either of these tasks I
find inspiration or is it procrastination forth coming. What I do. I
work in sterling.
Get some lemel.
Fuse and reticulate.
Take the ‘shape’ that presents it self and then make a ring or
pendant. With or without stones.
Or if really in the doldrums fuse and reticulate a bangle length.
Bash the sh*t out of it, great for stress relief.
Keep playing till I get what I want.
Then make a bangle.
Or I net surf jewellery till I see an idea I like and then modify it
to suite myself.
Take a day to visit other galleries, looking at what others do can
be inspiring. Sometimes I just start making components, bezels, ring
Marcio - brooches seem to be coming back, but still are not as much
in demand as pendants in my experience, but if you can make one that
works both ways you’ll have a hot item.
As far as inspiration goes, you’re in good company here. I doubt
that there’s one of us who hasn’t experienced the same frustration.
You’ll get a lot of ideas here I’m sure, but what works for me is
getting outside in nature. I love to sit quietly by a lake or some
sort of water if I can and just let the energy start flowing. Maybe
just go for a long walk in the autumn leaves. Nature has a
revitalizing affect on me, and maybe it would work for you as well.
Good luck. You’ll get through it.
You might like to try sketching five rings (or whatever) in one
minute. Have someone time you. At about the third sketch your brain
will shift gears and the time pressure will force you to draw shapes
that are fresh, unexpected, and outside of your conventional
thinking. Repeat. None of your quickey doodles will be very usable
but they may contain shapes and ideas that can be elaborated on in
more formal and careful drawings. I’ve been doing this for years and
it can actually be somewhat painful to the time deprived brain, but
it does work, at least for me.
I try to do something completely different.
Or sometimes I set my timer and do something useful for 10 min or so
(clean house, make components, paperwork) Then go to the bench with
the timer set to another 10 min. I alternate between the two until
one or the other activities takes my attention. That way at least I
get something done either way.
All good advice, and the last is closest to what I like to do.
I set myself a set or arbitrary parameters and do a series–say, 5
pieces, more if I get rolling. Oblong rings with a long primary stone
and a round secondary, with combined gold and silver… 1" square
pendants with a heart somewhere in them. pins with a hinged door in
the design. Whatever seems like fun. By the time I get to the third
one, I am far from where I started, and having a great time.
I had the pleasure to take a 5 day workshop from Alan Revere in
Design and Rendering. I can say with confidence that I will never
have ‘inspiration deficit studio disorder again’! While I will
probably never practice enough to do really fine rendering, the
design/inspiration/creativity inducing techniques and exercises he
led us through will stay with me forever. If I feel the least lag in
the ‘what do I do next’ department I will get out my worksheets notes
and have at it. I know that many people say that “you can’t teach
design” but that’s a bunch of nonsense. Alan can and did and I will
be eternally grateful.
You can try to Google “graphic arts” and view images. That can liven
I make bezels for all my stones. Next I make jump rings in different
sizes and gauges–some soldered shut, others left unsoldered. Then I
cut snippets of solder. If still in an inspiration deficit mode, I
fabricatebails. Great to have all these necessities finished. and
ready to be used. Pretty soon the creative juices start to flow and
I am back to making jewelry.
However, my best method of breaking through the doldrums is to take
a workshop or class in a new technique. Then I start to create a
series of pieces, each using the new technique. Works for me. Alma
Hello John. I have small sketchbooks in all the rooms in my house
and am always drawing designs as they come into my mind. I try not
to think if it is possible to make but when I feel that inspiration
has left me I start looking through the drawings and they help me
get back on a creative track. I am sometimes amazed at what I come
up with by during this discipline of sketching. Some are very much
like doodles or stream of conscience. I always try to date the
images and also use these sketchbooks as a kind of diary of what I’m
doing or how I feel.
If I’m blocked I like to raid the scrap pot and lay out in a line on
my soldering block a bunch of offcuts and bits and pieces of
sterling. Then blast with the torch til all the bits just about fuse
This way you get a random textured length of sterling. Then I file
and hammer and bend it and see if it’ll make into a ring or if not
then a pendant, and by this time I’m at least producing
I’ve taken Alan Revere’s classes as well, but I felt they were
constricting for me. I’m never at a loss for ideas. That is my
problem. I have too many ideas I never seem to get them all done. My
best time to think seems to be in the shower. Something about the
totally inane experince of washing and water falling on my fat head
seems to bring the ideas out in force.
Edward Weston (photographer) had a great way to overcome his
inspirational block. He called the “Weston Turn Around” If he could
not find a good view to photograph, he would literally turn around
and look at a different distance, ie close up instead of a long view.
It is getting out of the box your in and seeing things in a different
perspective. Lots of people have mentioned doing it in their various
ways. Do something so simple as hand wash a sink full of dirty
dishes. Don’t think about the task at hand, but the composition of
the bubbles, the texture of the sponge/cloth you are cleaning with.
The shape of each piece you clean. The colors, and there are a lot of
colors in the bubbles, you just have to look at them closely.
Listen to the sounds and what kind of image can you give the sound.
Then go to sleep, or take a nap. When you get up, you will have a
whole new set of ideas. It is letting your mind drift, then it will
settle back in time to what you want. Good luck, and have fun with
I have been fusing scrap together like that for 45 years. It was, in
fact, a simple silver ring like that that was my first purchase of a
handmade product at a gallery I was selling the candles and
soapstone pipes I was making in those days. After wearing the ring
for a while I realized that it should have been made a little thicker
(the sides were so thin they were almost sharp), and I started
thinking about trying to make one. As the years have gone buy, I have
used this process just how you describe. I love the serendipity, the
fact that they are “one of a kind”, and the use of scrap. As I got
better at it, these projects became a staple of my display, and are
still a way to break out of a funk. Thomas III