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  #1  
Old 2012-01-29, 3:42pm
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Default Does real life hinder your creativity?

I don't know what's going on with me these days, but I'm finding that I feel like a newbie at anything creative I try to do, even if I have been doing it for years. This includes glass and music my two favorites. It's like I barely know my tools when I pick them up, and my once very prolific musical mind hasn't finished writing a song in almost two years. Since this is a glass and jewelry forum, I'll focus on those for the sake of this thread, but this general feeling of creative malaise I'm feeling is becoming heartbreaking and debilitating.

I suffer creative expression withdrawals when I don't get the time to create. In particular, I think of melting glass and crave it intensely. When I finally get to do it, I find I cannot think of anything to do, and if I review all my fantastic tuts I have purchased, I often believe I don't have the time, energy, skill, or capacity for focused and organized thoughts to actually pull it off, which keeps me from trying, or causes me to rush through it, needing that "fix" of having created something magnificent. Of course, it doesn't come this way, and while my cognitive self understands the logic behind that, my artistic self is left more and more unsatisfied and disillusioned. Often the pressures that surround the safe perimeter of my little studio work their way through the door and into my mind's eye... housecleaning, homework, time with the kids, time with the honey, OMG how am I going to make all my payments this month?! OMG when will stuff get done? OMG, WTF am I doing in here when I have so much out there that's demanding my immediate attention? Even when I think my mind is clear and focused, I still make crap. If I want to do something that is quick and easy, it feels juvenile and boring, and instant gratification isn't gratifying at all. I really want to develop and take it to the next level... in fact it seems like a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual NEED. I believe that a steady motion forward, growing, expanding, developing and evolving is necessary to a happy life and is, in fact, life's purpose. I believe that the artist in me has been one of the ways I have primarily identified myself from very early in my life; regardless of the medium or the product, creating has been a huge chunk of me forever... I know most of you can strongly relate! When that part of me isn't evolving and expanding, it's like I don't exist. I know that sounds melodramatic...

Of course, I expect the occasional slump or rut, but I've been stuck here for several months it seems, and it's taking its toll. In the past, if I've sucked at glass, I've thrived with music, and vice versa. Now I suck at both, and so I try to go back to polymer clay... suck... design some jewelry... suck... Arrrrggghh!

Mostly I just needed to vent, but if anyone out there knows this experience, I'd love to hear from you so I know I'm not alone, and there is still hope for me. Also, any ideas on how to break free would be great!
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Old 2012-01-29, 4:34pm
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I'm sure I've read very similar stories from people and I've been in a very similar spot myself. Last time I had at the torch I made a mish mosh of stuff, a few for BOC the kids might like but they didn't "spark" for me.

Today I set my mind with a few things to do before I even went outside, but also I wanted to try my Sedona after reading a thread, I wanted to try a goddess because I won a tutorial in the goddess thread in the patio, and I wanted to do a few BOC big beads for the kids. I gave myself permission to just experiment with those ideas without the expectation of making "yahoo!" beads (and then being dispirited when they didn't appear). I feel pretty good about my session even if my beads don't come out of the kiln great (although obviously I hope they're at least decent!) so I'm going to try that next time too, putting down a few things to try so I don't just sit staring at the glass wondering which color to pick up & what to do with it.
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Old 2012-01-29, 4:46pm
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Ditto.
Becky, I think there are a lot of reasons why we get into these deep funks - mostly life things.
I also agree with Eileen in that even if you don't have a plan, it's more important that you don't have big expectations to fall down from.
I'm kind of in that mode myself at the mo, and am finding that I'm just letting things happen without overthinking it. I didn't intend to do a heap of goddesses the other day, but that's what ended up in the crockie at the end of the session. They weren't too bad, considering how I was feeling, so I can live without the elation if I can just manage to keep my interest in glass. Creativity can't be forced, but it can be coaxed.
Good luck
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  #4  
Old 2012-01-29, 4:56pm
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You sound like you're being torn in 50 directions at once. When my boys were younger there were long periods of time where I found myself directionless and having no time creative-wise. It happens. But then often something else would happen, helping with an art project, making costumes for school plays....it's all creative and felt great!
Let yourself know it's OK. You don't sound like you want to leave music or glass but it's OK to take a break and explore other mediums while you raise your kids.
When my kids were older I had three rules and then I could go be creative. Food in the house? check. Toilet paper? check. Does everyone have some clean clothes? check. My job was done.
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Old 2012-01-29, 5:07pm
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I just thought of something else. Iin the last You Pick exchange, I found the pictures we were working from to be very helpful in getting myself going. As a matter of fact I am thinking of going back through the older ones and choosing some pictures to use as inspiration when I'm "stuck".
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  #6  
Old 2012-01-29, 5:45pm
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Your story sounds so familiar! It seems that our creative activities are always getting pushed aside, their time taken up by an enormous number of "have to's". When we do get back to the studio for a little time, there's this sense of loss for whatever project was interrupted. We seem to be always starting over, only to have the new attempt interrupted again. And so it goes...

A little help came to me from a friend who is a professional potter, depending on his creativity for a living. His advice? Set aside whatever small amount of time you have each day. Go to your "studio", wherever that is. Do something - but don't demand anything of yourself. If you don't feel creative, fine. Clean the studio, organize your materials, etc. just spend some time recognizing your creative self, and sheltering it in the studio. Over time, the habit of just being there will give you some peace, some ability to concentrate, and the more fulfilling activities will begin very naturally.

Ask me how I know this works.... And my friend is still an artistic and financial success after more than thirty years.

Hope this helps in some way, I really recognize your pain!
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  #7  
Old 2012-01-29, 5:51pm
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Hello Ladies,

I've been in the same "room" as you with little stimulation resulting in "just" beads. None spectacular. This happens to everyone every so often. Life's complexity is the culprit. It's like our brain is a zipping telegraph...so many thoughts all at the same time.

But I do have a Internet site, that at least gives you a start for a project. Sarah Hornik introduced this a few months ago on her website. Here's the web address:

http://pinterest.com/sarahhornik/color-inspiration/
The colors are potent and exhilirating, different textures and different tones and shades of vibrant and of solemn, subdues colors. Eileen's idea of looking through pictures to become inspired is definitely a stimulator. And yes, always have some glass colors set up in front of you so your mind doesn't wander here and there.

I hope this helps.

Remember to smile and if possible, laugh, laugh alot. Creativity will follow.

Neomi
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  #8  
Old 2012-01-29, 10:51pm
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I'm so grateful to everyone for your words of encouragement, and I had a good feeling I would hear from a number of very creative souls who know just what I'm feeling. I have enjoyed reading all your suggestions, and just doing so is allowing me to take some of the pressure off and somehow know that it will all be back to normal sometime. I tend to go with the flow for most things in life... I have to be more willing to apply that here I think.

Rebecca, my kids are actually older now. My baby is 15 and my 21 year old has come back home "for a while" lol. It seems like I'm away from the house quite a bit, so I have this self-imposed parental guilt that sneaks over me when I'm home and locking myself in my own space away from the boys. They certainly don't need (and likely don't want) me doting on them... as an "invisible child" myself, I feel a need to let them know I like them and their company... that's more my issue than theirs, I'm sure!

Eileen, thank you for the suggestion on the exchange. I'm going to check it out. I have been watching the creativity challenge that's taking place elsewhere on the forum, and it is inspiring me also, and scaring me just a little... isn't that weird? There is a scene I drive by almost daily, that I want so badly to photograph and recreate in glass, but there is no place to park that I have seen yet. I may walk down there one afternoon because it's beautiful and tranquil, and might serve as just the catalyst I need.

Glass puppy, this is a great idea, and one that I have used in the past. My studio is in a state of disarray that makes me feel more obstructed than when it is organized, and yes, being in that environment with all the colors and tools is inspiring in itself. I will make sure I get studio time that doesn't necessary involve forcing beads out. In fact, now I am looking forward to it!!

And Neomi, thank you so much for the great link! Sarah really is the go-to girl for color inspiration. She has helped get me going in the right direction a couple of times in my lampworking history. I have browsed and browsed, and of course, bookmarked. Just looking at all that beauty is picking up my spirits.

You all are awesome!
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  #9  
Old 2012-01-30, 12:31am
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I understand. Here's a thought. Take an afternoon off and go to the park. It might help you clear your head. Hope this helps.

Glasskat2010
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Old 2012-01-30, 1:51am
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Glad you are hearing some new ideas - I'm loving them too!

Funny, I just finished a major clean and rearrange in my studio. It had gotten really dirty! The hard physical work felt so good, and now the studio's got this great vibe!

PS> I'm a big Sarah Hornik fan too!
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Old 2012-01-30, 4:04am
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I think part of it is also the short days and long nights, personally I just want to hibernate this time of year. My job is not going well, we were acquired last year and we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you don't feel creative, just clean and organize your workspace, I find that even if I don't get the creative juices flowing, I at least feel productive. Seasons come and go in our lives, the trick is to learn to go with the flow.
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Old 2012-01-30, 6:58am
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Real life doesn't hinder creativity. It sucks away the time you have to be creative, but at the same time if offers you material that gets stored away for later. I spent 21 years at a demanding job with a long commute that left very little time for being creative Now that I've left that job, all the things that were building up inside have come pouring out in the form of a novel, my lampwork, my gardening, etc. I appreciate everything more for having spent so much time in a cubicle. If you hang in there, nothing is wasted.
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Old 2012-01-31, 1:34pm
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Becky- Oh my gosh, I so relate to this! I don't have kids at home now, but I still feel guilty about heading out to the studio when there's housework to be done, and it seems like there's ALWAYS housework to be done!

I didn't torch for almost a year, and built a "shedio" out in the back yard. It was finished just before Christmas, but not enough time to do many Christmas gifts. I decided to make some earrings for a few people, and wanted to make some new beads. Add the problem that I tend to be a perfectionist, so if I'm planning on earrings, I want usable beads from each session. And since I hadn't torched in several months, I was not too pleased with my work. I have a hard time "just playing" at the torch. I learn a new technique and want it to be just right without the practice, ha!

You mentioned how quick and easy can be boring, and yea, I'll say ok, I'm just going to make spacers. I get bored after a few and start hurrying, and messing up.

Now here it is end of January, and I haven't been in the studio since my son left after Christmas. I also agree with Dragonharper that I've been hibernationg. Dark when I leave for work, dark when I drive home. I get home, feed the animals, and feel like it's time for bed!

I think I need to try what Glass Puppy suggested and just get out there, even if it's for a short time each day. Or every other day. Or something!

-Ana
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Old 2012-01-31, 7:41pm
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Yes, I think we all go through this from time to time . I think it comes down to time and expectations . Make time for yourself out in your studio with no guilt attacthed to it because you deserve it . When you go out there just pick colors you like and start melting . Something will come to you.

Last resort when this is happening to me a take an Advil cold and sinus pill me because they make me loopy as hell and whoooooooooooooooo baby boy can I make beads then.bwhahahhahahah
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Old 2012-01-31, 8:35pm
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I definitely find that "real life" dulls my creativity. Things just seem to flow better I'm fresh and rested.

Growing up there was no importance put on expression or art. Now as I get older, I'm enjoying the exploration of the creative process in lampworking and belly dancing (but not at the same time!).

I feel being truly open to inspiration and expression, is not a way that I can live my daily life. I can't live "real life" that close to emotion. And I find it difficult to shift gears.

Thank you for sharing. Not that I'm able to help you, but you're not alone!!!
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Old 2012-01-31, 11:47pm
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the simple answer is to get rid of your "real life" and then all you have is your creativity.
B
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Old 2012-02-01, 9:46am
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Never underestimate the lack of sunshine and its contribution to these amplified feelings this time of year! It is a real and present concern for many and it certainly effects creativity.

I, for one, am ready for Spring and some rebirth of the glass muse!

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Old 2012-02-01, 10:21am
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Another hindrance to my creativity lately has been money. I have ideas for new projects (and new media), but don't have the supplies. I've been trying to figure out how to make some money so I can buy supplies and not feel guilty.
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Old 2012-02-01, 10:42am
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Hi Becky, I totally understand. I completely agree with GlassPuppy's first thread. Set time aside. When I want to glasswork but don't know really what I want to do I make murrini cane or twisted complex cane or something...anything. My mom's old saying that I think of to get me started was "do something... even if it's wrong", this usually gets me started because you always learn from torch time. If I don't even feel like doing canes glass shards are always fun to make If I want to make beads but don't know what I "practice" stringer control with whatever colors I feel like using and that usually leads to more ideas. This keeps my stringer control good. Books with artwork for different color combinations help sometimes. I play the piano also... but can't use my (electric) piano right now because there's a vibrato (that shouldn't be there) and I have to find out why so I understand the need for an artist to create.
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Old 2012-02-01, 1:07pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castaway View Post
the simple answer is to get rid of your "real life" and then all you have is your creativity.
B
I'm intrigued. Is there a tut?
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Old 2012-02-01, 5:19pm
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Hi Becky... I have long admired your work and the spirit behind it, and I can totally relate. I found myself in a total funk following my christmas season production (making things to sell not things i really wanted to). I am just starting to break it and here's a few tips that may or may not resonate with you
1. I give myself a limited palate. in my case I make just lentils for a torch session. I put maybe 12 to 16 rods on the bench and just limitr myself to these few colors and this one size. that I think forces me to do more with technique and ideas and not rely on the distraction of too much glass, frit, murini or other thing. I mean i love all that stuff but for rut busting i try to keep it simple.
2. I like listening to emotive music or reading poems to get an idea in my head. I will generally listen to a well constructed album and then what ever beads i make during that session all seem to have a common feel to them. I just finished a "point of impact" series where all the beads had a point where i poked it hot and trapped a bubble. seems simple, but making variations on that one theme kept me fresh.
3. big fan of sunshine and nature walks
4. you could try falling in love, that always helps. real or imagined lovers work equally well LOL
5. i like cleaning up the studio when im in a rut. sometimes finding a lost glass in enough to fire me up.
I hope something helps Becky because your work is so beautiful it would be a shame for you to stumble or stop. I agree that taking the pressure off of yourself is a good idea. If you need a push join the SE9 or any of the fun exchanges.
Keep us posted
Cara
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Old 2012-02-02, 3:48am
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I've seen many a thread on this topic. I think I even started one...or two...but none were as well-worded as yours. I was in a slump for months myself. It may leave, but it always comes back. And yes, I am sooo frustrated at my lack of progression. I have way too much confidence when it comes to what I think I can do. I see beads and think "oh, yeah, I can do that", but when it comes to actually trying it, I suck! Way too cocky for my own good, lol!
Anyway, some people suggest making what you do well, then letting the thoughts come to you. I do this, then I get an idea to try this technique with a different glass, and then it's all screwed up! Lately, I've been making what I know...and feeling good about it. And I just leave it at that.
If you look around, most artists make the same stuff. Like Michelle (Boobiebeads) does her hearts and skulls and sugared beads, Kerri does her horses and butterflies, Astrid does her modern art looking beads....they don't all do everything. That's why I've decided to focus on what I know and what I like. And let the ideas come more slowly. All that rush of ideas can be a hindrance.
Good luck, you will be fine, I've seen your lovely work!
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Old 2012-02-02, 3:54am
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Have you tried mushrooms? lol
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Old 2012-02-02, 5:56am
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When my life is cramped with xyz and more I have a very hard time being productive, never mind creative, on the torch. It's even hard being creative in other arts/crafts things. I find that getting drunk and blog surfing through awesome art and pintetest really can help.

But really it just takes some time to re-adjust. Mmy not getting things done on the torch usually is a sign that I need a day off, and a day to myself, or just a day of rest! I hope you can find the time
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Old 2012-02-02, 8:27am
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Quote:
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Have you tried mushrooms? lol
Hmmmm making lampwork mushrooms? I have a feeling that's not what you mean!!! LOL perhaps an "herbal remedy" would help?
Cara
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Old 2012-02-02, 12:41pm
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Lol you folks crack me up! I really appreciate everyone's insight and sweet compliments and words of encouragement. Patti, I think you were right on the money with the cockiness aspect of it, only you're bold enough to admit it! I often browse through the work of my favorite artists and think I'd like to try something like that, or that, or that... and have a pretty good idea of the techniques used. I never expect to get the same result, but I do set my sights a little higher than the shit-on-a-stick that I too often end up with...

I have taken herbal remedies prior to, or while working at the torch. I find it shuts down the constant nattering of my real life mind and awakens the senses, and my nudges creative mind into action... most of the time. Lately I find it makes me hungry and tired lol! Mushrooms before torching would scare me (assuming you don't mean making glass ones) because if I think waaaaaaaay back, I can remember them really altering my judgment of distance... awareness of distance is a good thing when working with fire. I know cus I toasted the crap outta my thumb once shortly after I started wearing my reading glasses at the torch and put my thumb right into the hot spot!

Anyway, your responses have warmed my heart and given me a chuckle. I hope people continue to post here so
we can all keep each other motivated, or at least hopeful.
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  #27  
Old 2012-02-02, 12:57pm
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Lea Zinke Lea Zinke is offline
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I had cancer this year and it really did a number on my head! I was so scrambled and so overwhelmed that I would get up and start thinking about all I had to do that I would literally do a 360 and sit back down, not knowing where to start or what to do first!

Luckily, I'm feeling lots better and recovered from surgery, so I've started back to work in studio and rediscovering my joy in making beads! I feel so lucky & so happy to be back!

Life deals us some challenges, the important thing is to remember what's important to you & pursue your goals "no matter what"!!!
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Old 2012-02-02, 6:39pm
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Wow guys...really great advice on more than just lampworking too.
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Old 2012-02-03, 11:12am
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Some excellent wisdom here - and some pretty funny stuff too! I can totally relate to what you're going through, and can only suggest you step back to take the pressure off. Decide that you're just going to make something for yourself. I find that usually helps me to get out of a rut - I don't have to think about pleasing others by my sense of colors nor design, so it doesn't tear my mind in a million directions. And hey - try making a disc bead or two. I find them to be very Zen.
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Old 2012-02-05, 8:35am
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You'll think this is crazy, since you're already feeling time pressure, but it works for me. Take 20 minutes or half an hour a day, as many days a week as you can manage, for some kind of exercise. Walk, run, dance, play on the Wii, do a Tae Bo or Zumba video, SOMETHING that moves your body. Not only will it help you sleep better and feel better, it frees your mind from the incessant noise (one of my favorite books refers to it as "head monkeys") of daily obligations.

When I get creative block I'll head into the gym or out to the bike trail for a run, and I usually find that after a time ideas start to drift into my head - I've designed whole scrapbook layouts on a 5 mile run.

But also remember, creative block is a lot like insomnia - obsessing about it makes it worse. It's better to just get up and do something, anything, productive than to lie around and brood on it. What you DON'T want to do is make something that should be joyful feel like an obligation - so if you don't want to torch, do something else!

We all go through these times, hang in there!
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