Inspiring Your Creative Spirit

January 8, 2008

6378creeksm.jpgDuring the holiday season we find ourselves spending most of our time following schedules and rushing to meet deadlines. This rings especially true for artists and small business owners. I often find that my most brilliant ideas come to me when I can’t possibly spend even a moment making them a reality. Talk about creative frustration! We try to cram so much into one month of joyful chaos, that when it’s over, we’re spent and a little lost.

Each Winter, most of us need to restore our artistic senses to some degree. This quiet time of year is perfect to start anew and nurture your creative spirit. When the time comes to get back to work, there are a few scenarios that as artists, we know all too well. The ideas may pour out faster than one can actually create and at other times, a little prodding to rattle the imagination is necessary. In the worst case, nothing short of committing to guerrilla warfare will do.

6389frozenleafsm.jpgHere are a few inspiration seeking tricks that may come in handy when fighting off the winter chill. I always carry a small notebook with a fat rubber band around it so I can write down my ideas and refer back to them later. Along with my doodles and lists, I stick in swatches, sticky notes, clippings, leaves, and anything else that grabs my attention. I also use my camera phone as a “notebook”. The other night I saw tissue boxes with great color combinations in the grocery store. Yes, tissue boxes! I snapped a couple pics to peek at before my next torch session.

6459berriessm.jpgWalks in the frozen woods, bundled in boots and down, armed with my camera, always seem to help. I challenge myself to find color in the sleeping landscape. This should explain my affinity for snow covered berry bushes. Taking a class to learn a new technique is a tried and true tactic. Trying out a new tool or glass, a subtle change in your studio, a new scent, or different music while you work can help jump start new ideas too. Recently I’ve also discovered the value of the “inspirational blog collective”. It’s like having an artistic work out partner to get you moving and creating. Check out Modern Savages and Creative Every Day 2008.

6396cattailssm.jpgSometimes completely walking away from my normal discipline is what becomes necessary. *refer back to the camera in the woods scenario* I’ve even been known to pull out my book binding materials when I’m really stumped. Meticulously cutting and folding paper is something I can “zen out” on. That leads me to Yoga. Yoga is my quick fix for everything. Especially an achy back. When I honestly stop thinking about it and just relax, is when the amazing stuff really happens. The best idea I’ve had in a long time came to me the other day while baking cookies and dancing around the kitchen to Maroon 5 with my 2 & 5 year old sons. We LOVE dancing in the kitchen! It’s just a matter of time before we get caught doing it.

Go forth artists! Take a walk. Take a class. Buy some glass. Do a dance. Take acoustic guitar lessons. Shake those winter blues and find the inspiration your creative spirit craves! Have an amazing, creative, and productive New Year!!!

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Declaration

December 28, 2007

Many times over the past twelve months I declared that next year will be amazing. An eternal optimist, I can never resist the urge to crack a joke, especially in the worst of situations. The line, “maybe next year”, turned into a running joke early on. This past year, life has taken me on the proverbial roller-coaster ride. At times it felt like a kiddie ride and other times, never ending and out of control.

In 2007, I sent my oldest son off to Kindergarten, started a new website, opened a shop and glass studio, began teaching again, and ventured into tool manufacturing. I took steps to remove myself from bad situations and dove head first into new ones. I followed my instincts even when they scared the hell out of me. I felt intense happiness, great inspiration, grew artistically, and emotionally. I let my heart get pounded like a volleyball, fought to hold on to things I thought were important, accomplished things I’ve dreamed about for years, and realized sometimes you need to just let go and leave things up to chance. I received excellent advice and often ignored it, hurdled obstacles, and dusted myself off when I didn’t quite clear them. I also took time to enjoy simple things, just breath, live in the moment, laugh until it hurt, hug my boys until they couldn’t take it anymore, take walks in the woods, enjoy the warm sun on my face, and a crisp breeze on my neck. The simplest joys are most important to me.

In the past year I learned a lot about myself. I need to surrender to the fact that I can’t control everything, can’t do everything, or be everything… I’m only human. I learned lessons about trust, ambition, following my heart, expectations, forgiveness, and that sometimes there are just no answers. I came to appreciate what a truly extraordinary group of friends I have. I’ve realized that one can never expect to achieve their goals or find true happiness if they’re not willing to take a chance and work at it. For that, I hold no regrets. Time is never wasted when you learn from your lessons, whether they bring you joy or pain. Most importantly I’ve realized how very strong I am and that I’m “capable” of just about anything I put my mind to.

With that in mind, I declare that 2008 may not go according to plan but it is going to be an amazing year! I hope yours is too! Salute!

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Snow Day

December 17, 2007

Today unexpectedly turned out to be amazingly good for my soul. I found myself in the rare position of having the house and shop all to myself. The second snow storm of the week promised a peaceful and productive day. My plan for the day was to drastically shorten my “to do list” and clear my mind. I tinkered in the shop to the sweet sounds of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, then fired up my torch, and filled my kiln with holiday special orders. In the house I strung berry garlands, hung lights, and readied the Christmas tree for decorating this evening. I checked so many items off my list that I decided I deserved a relaxation reward.

I wandered off for a walk in the snow with my camera and a content heart. The world transforms under a blanket of new snow and seems full of whimsical possibility. It brings out the kid in me, presents the landscape in a fresh light, and infects me creatively. The peaceful quiet fills me up and stirs my thoughts. Walks in the beach side woods as a child, pond skating, the joy of making snow angels… memories of previous ambitions, the heat of a love past, a scent, a touch, a song, of lessons learned, and times in my life when I felt most alive, all crossed my mind. As I made my way back home across the fields, I thought optimistically of the coming new year and of all the amazing things I’ll be capable of accomplishing in it.

Feeling rejuvenated, yet chilled, I decided to sit and warm up with a glass of wine next to my newly lit Christmas tree before heading back to work. Normally I drink red wine but today I opened a bottle of a Long Island Rosé I had been saving for a “rainy day”. Thinking so much of the past and looking towards the future made me realize I should just enjoy it now. I’m not the type of person let a good thing like an extraordinary snowy day or a glass of Rosé under the Christmas tree pass me by.

Seize your joy and have a wonderful Holiday Season!

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The Perfect Day

November 28, 2007

Some days I wake up feeling like I’m going to have the perfect day. At 4:50 am I sat bolt upright in bed with ideas and ambition swarming in my head. I snuck out of bed quietly so as not to wake the kids. I got dressed, made a pot of coffee, and went out to the studio to empty the kiln from last night’s torch session. At 12:45 am, my kiln wasn’t full in the quantity sense but in the quality sense it was overflowing. Special orders were completed, new ideas explored, and a few favorites restocked. I came back to the house took photos, edited them, and loaded the new pieces on my website all before 6:30 am.

I finished just in time to grab a cup of coffee and go out to watch the sun rise over the mountains and cut fields. It was a glorious type of sunrise that even at 37° fills you with warmth. The steam dancing from my coffee cup in the warm glow of the new day boosted my mood straight into the clouds. My “To Do List” vanished for a moment and I got lost in feeling good and hopeful. When I came back in, both of my boys were cuddled on the couch waiting for cups of milk and Ego waffles while they watched Bob The Builder. That’s the normal morning routine. I’ll write about the “waffle thing” another time. It’s post worthy.

I still have a list a mile long to check off today, hurdles to jump, and a beadmaking class to teach tonight. Luckily a morning like this better equipts me to do all of it. I know I’ll crash eventually but at least I’ll have a smile on my face when I do.

Take a peek at some of my newest treasures available on Just Beads and the Thirteen Moons Website.

Harmony Butterfly

Crush Sea Turtle

Oh… and I hope you have a perfect day too! 😉


What moves you?

October 30, 2007

It is all too easy to get caught up in the grind of daily life and overlook the things that move us when we’re at our best. As an artist, my senses lead me and define me. I’ve realized that is the exact reason why I have trouble creating and letting inspiration in when I’m stressed or in the wrong frame of mind. At those times I blow right past the things that move me and inspire me to create without a thought. Luckily the moments when I realize it’s happened and that I need to slow down and breath come frequently and easily.

Tonight I was scrambling, trying to do too many things at once, already looking ahead to tomorrow’s “List”, while still trying to catch up on last week’s. On a quick run out to my studio, I stepped out into the cool night air and it hit me and stopped me in my tracks. The air had a hint of a frost to come and wood smoke, the low and distant hum of the interstates across the valley barely audible. The stars bright and the three quarter moon illuminating shadows of a lone tractor next to the already harvested corn fields. I stood there next to the weeping cherry in my yard, bathing my face in the glow as if it were the warm summer sun shinning down on me. The peaceful night washed over me and I just breathed like I hadn’t in I don’t know how long. I relaxed and it stirred up ideas that were lying just beneath the surface, changed my mood and my mindset. I slowed down. When I returned to the house I felt energized and productive again.

My surroundings have always inspired me. I could find things to move me when I lived in the city just as I can now living in the mountains. There’s always something to play on my senses. I pull from it continually and I am so amazingly thankful for it. As an artist it’s so deeply important to recognize what moves you. It’s a wonderful surprise when it sneaks up and rejuvenates you when you least expect it yet need it most. Even more, it’s an amazing gift to be able to realize when you need it, seek it out, pull the inspiration you need to create, and make it work for you.