Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creativity Ain't Always Pretty

You'd think I had totally forgotten I had a blog!  But I can't stand when people apologize for not writing or posting or blogging sooner or enough.  I have no illusion that there is anyone out there waiting for anything I might have to say, or longing to see my next creation.  So, no apology... I just plain didn't feel like it.  I'm here to vent and maybe gather my thoughts a bit.  Perhaps you have felt your "muse" or inspiration has left you for a more promising mind.  I wonder how that manifested in you and how you might have overcome the creative block?  It took me some months of wandering the creative desert of my mind to stop and realize where I am.  How did I get here and how do I find my way back??

I'm going to admit something...not because I want sympathy or because I'm fishing for anything... because I'd like to validate that this is all part of the creative process and experienced by most people who count themselves as artistic.  I feel like a failure.  CLUNK.  Ugh.  There you have it.  A hack, a has-been, a wannabe, an imposter, a never-was, a frustrated perfectionist...a bland minnow in a pond full of bold and beautiful Koi fish.  Seriously, I need chocolate, stat!

Yes, that's better (thank you Bliss Milk Chocolate).  OK, so let's see if we can figure out what's up with that.  As you can see from my previous few posts, I have participated in the Battle of the Beadsmith for two years.  Best. Bead. Showdown. Ever!  First year I made it through round one with a bead embroidered handbag which had me flying high.  This year, out in round one.  And for all my saying (and truly believing) that just realizing my vision for this way over the top "Locked in Time" steampunk collar was a big WIN for me...It took a couple months and a good friend to point out to me that it had really thrown me that my piece didn't get more votes to go farther in the competition.  I spent literally months and hundreds of dollars on it, not to mention blood, sweat and tears (and that was just my husband!).  And in that sense, it truly was a success.  I had really stretched my creative limit and made a beaded piece of wearable art that has received lots of attention, praise, and friendly comment.  I won't say that I felt sorry for myself, but I do think it set me on a course of doubting my creative and artistic ability.

Inspiration doesn't always come easily, and creativity ain't always pretty. Case in point: The EBW Team's December challenge is "Out of this World".  "In this theme, I ask you to be inspired by things that are “out of this world”. Whether you choose to explore elements of science fiction/fantasy or real world celestial bodies, the only requirement is that you let your imagination run wild and “aim for the stars”.  I was struck by the thought of interpreting the Milky Way galaxy in beads and found this color enhanced (Hubble telescope) picture I really liked.
After several drawings and a few starts and stops, this is what I had
Well, it just ain't right.  Both my friend and my husband managed to say, "oh that's nice".  Ugh.  I couldn't get the swirls the way I wanted them, the balance was off, the colors didn't read right, and...ugh.  I'm gonna give it a day or two before I decide if I'm gonna frog this one (rip-it, rip-it) or if it goes into the UFO (un-finished object) drawer, but I'm done with it.

Another thing I've learned about myself is that, although I've always considered myself to be a bead weaver, I prefer the freedom and creativity in bead embroidery.  It feels more like painting with beads.  I've been forcing my creativity to fit a mold I thought it needed to fit (off-loom, un-backed beadweaving) and have been frustrated time after time when I couldn't realize my vision that way.

So, as they say, I'm gonna get back on the horse that threw me and I'm starting over on this theme with a Steampunk idea!  I'll let you know how it goes!  



  1. Brilliant writing Chris, just the right mindset on all aspects :D It is entairtaining and very bright :D Thank you for sharing :D

    1. Thanks Annie! I've been admiring your recent work, it's beautiful!

  2. Sometimes you can't force the muse. Move your mind somewhere else for a time, and then come back to it, preferably in a more relaxed state. :-)