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Jewelers' block - Design ideas

Hello again Everyone,

OK, here is my next question. I am experiencing what I would call
"jewelers block" (similar to writers’ block). I want very much to
start making jewelry at home but am having a very hard time getting
myself started. I have dozens of designs I’ve done over the years in
my sketchbooks but I can never just get started. Does anyone else
ever experience this feeling and if so any recomendations on
breaking the cycle and getting going? Also, any tips on coming up
with design ideas? Any help would be very much appreciated.

Belinda

Belinda,

My background is psychology and hypnosis. I retired and am doing
wax models for my own line of production religious jewelry.

Most visual creativity comes in two styles. One is linear and mostly
left brain. Most of the time, this is what I have done. I decide
what components I want a piece to include, such as, 1. Ring 2.
Comfort edge 3. design, image or text 4. stones, etc. Then I develop
the sequence to put all of these into one piece. This style is
somewhat stilted, but works for what I am doing now.

The other style is wholistic or intuitive. An image comes from the
right brain. This is often a flash of an image, or seems to be. The
building process for the flash is largely unconscious or out of
awareness.

One way to start this process is to start by giving your
"unconscious" or “creative part” an assignement. You can do this in
a quiet moment, in meditation or as you are about to fall asleep.
Internally you would say, “I want to talk to the part of me that
creates designs. I will be giving you images over the next few days.
Please begin putting these together to form new images of “rings” or
"bracelets” “art”,etc.

Next, look at many designs or pieces. When you get the sense, “I like
somethng about that” or “somethng about that pulls me,” take a
photograph or sketch that design. Look at each design you preserve,
one at a time. As you do, you want to memorize the design by looking
at it and then closing your eyes repeatedly until you can see it
with your eyes closed. You are giving your unconscious a data base
of images from which to form something new.

Usually, you will get one or more flashes within a week. When you do,
be ready to sketch immediately, because you can lose images generated
unconsciously.

If you want to try this and let me know how it does or doesn’t work,
I would be glad to help you fine tune the process. You can do this on
or off Orchid.

Good Luck
Mike Buckner

Taking a class is a great way to get jump started. (I know, I know,
the teachers always say that.) Failing that, try to dedicate
specific time each week to your jewelry making, go to your work
space and you can’t come out until time’s up. You’ll have to do
something so eventually, you’ll make some jewelry.

Give yourself an assignment, or perhaps Orchid can give you “art
school” type assignments.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

I think this happens to everyone, so don’t feel lonely. When I get
bored with my current permanent collections and need something new
and exciting, I try to get inspiration in a few ways.

First I look to new materials…I just went through a rubber and lava
thing mixing dissimilar materials. It was a limited edition group and
now it’s pretty much done. Very recently I met a new stone cutter
that is doing huge (40ct) gemstone ‘beads’ so this is becoming my new
inspiration and challenge.

Next I try to look to the world outside my door. I live in the
middle of the city so I sometimes walk through downtown looking for
pattern and repetition. I shoot digital pictures of things that I
like the form of. Buildings and bridges mostly right now but last
week I shot a ton of pictures of manhole covers…weird.

You never know where these influences will take your personal
creative flow but the great thing is that its out there right in
front of you to interpret and each of us will interpret it totally
unique to ourselves.

The only thing I would say NOT to do is look to other designers
through pic’s in trade magazines. I think to find your own voice as a
designer will come through your personal creativity and not by
emulating the trendiest way to wear a widget.

T Lee
T Lee Fine Designer Jewelry
18 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 789-2656
(612) 677-3700 fax

Hi Belinda,

I think anyone in any creative field experiences slump times
occasionally. And the creative process really is an individual
thing.

It isn’t clear if you are new to making jewelry or not - but the
best way to overcome a block to creativity is to simply be creative-
just do it. If you are new, read about a technique and give it a
try. Take a class. Grab a hammer and play. Learn something new even
if you have experience. There is ALWAYS something new to learn.

Most of all, don’t sweat it. Breathe deep, let go, lose fear, take
action, and it will happen.

Design ideas? When you let go and just play with materials, the
ideas will also come. For me it’s more of an intuitive thing- I
rarely sketch out a design, even tho drawing was my first love since
I was a little kid. My mindless commute to work everyday is a great
time to work out designs in my head.

To each his own.
Good luck.
Nancie
www.moonfishdesign.com

Belinda:

Been there, done that. I would suggest you pick one design, get the
material and just do it! I had a design I sat on for over two years,
too lazy/unmotivated to do it. Well, one day I just decided to forge
ahead and get it started. The first time I wore it several people
commented it was the best design they’d seen from me. So take a deep
breath, pick a design and plunge into the pool!

Whenever I’m looking for new ideas I just get out all my past issues
of Metalsmith and my design books and just look at what’s in them.
When I’m looking for something really unusual, I skip jewelry design
and go for furniture and textiles, You can find a lot of great
inspiration from them.

Good luck!
Tammy Kirks

Block? Wow! Most definitely I too have had that along with
numerous other I am sure. Being a recent college graduate from
Arizona State University, under the study of David Pimentel who
passed away during my last semester with him, I find it is easiest
for me to give myself a “Dave” class assignment:

Assignment One:
Make five rings using non-traditional materials in a three
hour time period! (Due to be critiqued at the end of three
hours, by anyone willing!)

Assignment Two:
Using only cold connections, make three pieces in a three hour
time period!

Assignment Three:
Well, I think you get my drift!

“Jewelers Block” is an unfortunate event but in any event it seems
to me that it is mostly about discipline and allowing yourself the
time to just sit at the bench and pound on the rubber bench block to
break through if you so choose!

Shawna Lobmiller
Patania’s Sterling Silver Originals
www.patanias.com

Belinda wrote:

I am experiencing what I would call "jewelers block" (similar to
writers' block). I want very much to start making jewelry at home
but am having a very hard time getting myself started. I have
dozens of designs I've done over the years in my sketchbooks but I
can never just get started. Does anyone else ever experience this
feeling and if so any recomendations on breaking the cycle and
getting going? 

Belinda, my all-time favorite advice is “Just Do It”. I had been
completely burned out for a couple years when we moved to another
location that had a nice little room I turned into a studio. Over a
year went by and I rarely ever went into my new studio, even though
I knew I wanted to create my art again. One day, I realized that the
energetic inspiration I was hoping for was just not going to come
and kick me in the butt like it used to, and if I was going to break
the apathy and produce anything it had to be now. After that, I
forced myself into my studio every day, even if it was to just sit
there with tears rolling down my cheeks. It felt as if I had turned
into a rust-fuzed old locomotive, I could almost hear the metallic
wrenching and screeching of wheels breaking loose as I forced myself
to sit there and make something, anything, every day, even if it was
just putting an ear wire on a bead, even if I thought the design
sucked. It was like rising from the dead to climb Mt. Everest. It
wasn’t easy, and it took months of disciplined daily focus in that
chair before I started to feel fluid and inspired again, but it did
happen eventually.

My prescription for any creative block is simply to practice going
through the motions, just like starting to exercise - Just Do It
every day whether you’re feeling divinely inspired or just
brain-dead. Perhaps an incentive might be to sign up to participate
in a small local craft show; you’ll have a deadline and something to
work toward to jump-start the process.

Christen

Dear Belinda

I would buy a beginners jewellers book and just start making some of
the exercises. You will probably find that designs come from actually
working with the materials. I often get new designs from mistakes I
make too!

Laura

Deadline Deadline Deadline.

I find that a deadline is the answer, an exhibition or commission
with a looming deadline can really get your nose to the grindstone.
Can you join a jewellers group having an exhibition or find some
competitions to enter or make up your own commissions?

Sometimes specific is better than general, rather than saying “I’m
going to make a brooch” you have to say “I’m going to make a brooch
with a seasonal theme that can be worn on a lightweight top and would
retail for less than $500”

alison
www.alialexander.com.au

i have a doodle, a very worked on doodle that i spent 10 years doing
over and over changing mediums, and parameters, did them in
technical pen, waterbased markers, fountain pens, ink brushes,
on matte mylar(drafting film), shiny marker paper, poster board,
kind or patterns and they have the mathmatical properties of
fractals, but are done either in a line drawing style or colored
in, anyway i loved doing them, starting a new one or going deeper
into one, especially with fountain pens because you can change the
width of the line so beautifully, and you still have a hard
point, so i wanted to create them in 3d for a long time(last 10
years), and finally did by drawing one on a 3d simple shape, and
carving it out, deliberating on the positive and negatives, and
which side of the line to carve on, i guess because i thought so
much about how i was going to do it someday, and since i was
carving alot, i tried one and it came out so good that i think it
ranks with best designs that i have ever seen- those being ancient
chinese bronze surface embellishment(western chou), in the MET, nyc
by the way, and many art nouveau efforts like sullivan, gaudi,
horta, guimard, etc, etc- and it happened all because i did it, of
course 25 years of sweatshop/deadline carving didn’t hurt
either,if you’re not competent enough to create your idea in
metal, then do it in clay, modeling clay, or anything, paper is
good, soapstone, wax,soft woods,etc,etc(i work alot in wood),
carving wax is total fun, cause you can melt it, carve it, use hot
tools, so is clay, let’s face it, if you are going to make
something, you have to move your hands with some material, and look
at it or feel it, explore,get the blood going, whatever, i find
that whenever i am not actually carving and creating , things just
are not going right as they could, time chewed up by chores like
buisness, planning, buying, a 9-5er,family stuff and , but
lastly, if you are young, or old,an apprenticeship might be a
good route to go, if you can find it and are willing to do the
necessary steps, oh yea, very important; get interested in fields
of art history, dp

 start making jewelry at home but am having a very hard time
getting myself started. I have dozens of designs I've done over the
years in my sketchbooks but I can never just get started. Does
anyone else ever experience this feeling and if so any
recomendations on breaking the cycle and getting going? Also, any
tips on coming up with design ideas? 

i might be too traditional or hard nosed on this topic, but i say
you gotta make stuff long and hard for 2 years to start to get a
perspective at least, before you even start thinking about these
things, you gotta sweat at the grindstone baby, dp

I want very much to start making jewelry at home but am having a
very hard time getting myself started. I have dozens of designs
I've done over the years in my sketchbooks but I can never just get
started. Does anyone else ever experience this feeling and if so
any recomendations on breaking the cycle and getting going? 

Grab a stone and some sheet and wire and just start doing stuff.
Just do it. If it makes the job easier, try to make something that
looks silly, amateurish, unbalanced and/or just homely. You will
probably fail and make something that looks fairly original and
cool…

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com

While I work in glass and beads more than metal right now, I think
the same thing may apply here. I have put together a book of
inspiration. Things in magazines that have caught my eye. May even
have nothing to do with jewelry, might be a color combination that I
like. When I find myself wanting to do something, but not knowing
what to do, I start looking through this book. I’m amazed every time
at the ideas that start coming, and I’ve yet to “copy” something out
of the book. It just seems to turn on the juices. Didn’t we all have
to do something like this in college?

Kerry
http://www.celtcraftjewelry.com
http://www.beadcoop.com

    Grab a stone and some sheet and wire and just start doing
stuff. Just do it. If it makes the job easier, try to make
something that looks silly, amateurish, unbalanced and/or just
homely. You will probably fail and make something that looks fairly
original and cool... 

I have one of those little double horned anvils and the “stakes” for
it, but I use some sheet metals tools, pieces of round and square
copper/brass/bronze. I have several small and large swag blocks, to
me there is no single design for a jeweler block. When something
isn’t right I go out in the big shop and make it work or cast a new
one or machine it out, or whatever it takes to do my work.

Jerry

        I want very much to start making jewelry at home  but am
having a very hard time getting myself  started. I have dozens of
designs I've done over the  years in my sketchbooks but I can
never just get started. Does anyone else ever experience this
feeling and if so any recommendations on breaking the cycle and
getting going? 

The hardest part of a beginning project is making the first step.
Take a class in jewelry making. If none are available read jewelry
making books. Buy some equipment and take that first BIG step. You
will make lots of mistakes and end up with some scrap but in the end
you will learn how to create jewelry. There is nothing like holding
something one creates.

Most beginning creative people are like beginning wood carvers who
want to carve their first project, a full flight eagle with wings
spread and a trout in it claws. When they are done they have a piece
of two by four with a couple of 1 by 6 wings. But it is a start.

Just take that first step and get started. Don’t feel you have to
create a museum piece in you first project. Pick out one of your
simple designs and start. Start. Start.

A baby learns by doing. So do all creative people. Start. Start.
start.

Lee Epperson