Etsymetal Blod Carnival - 20 things to jump start creativity

On the first Monday of every month, members of Etsymetal blog on a different topic. I have jumped on the bandwagon. This month we are blogging about what we do when our creativity flies the coop. It happens to everyone, I suspect. Times when all you can think to make are pieces someone else has made or you are so dry that your sketchbook has a grocery list in it, and that’s all. I have been going through such a time lately so this was a particularly helpful topic for me to write about.

Here are 20 things I do to create inspiration,…in no particular order:

1. I look back at old, really old, work I made. This is always helpful in reminding me of techniques and shapes and textures I have used in the past that I have forgotten about.
2. Playing with Play-Doh with my kids. I am working on a series of pieces based on some pieces my daughter made for me out of Play-Doh (see previous post). This stuff is cheap and it really helps when working out shape, size and volume before you start actually cutting on metal.
3. Actually going out in my studio, even if I just sit in there and knit while I watch a movie.
4. Hiking with my kids. They pick up the best stuff that I always seem to miss.
5. The Library. Seriously, for a visual person the Library is an amazing source of inspiration. They have books on just about every topic and most of those books have amazing photography. As a bonus, they usually also have a coffee shop.
6. Looking at old portraiture. I love Jan Van Eyck and all those old Flemish guys. The clothes are so sumptuous and elegant. My series of “Des Bulles” neckpieces came from looking at Elizabethan collars.
7. Making a piece for myself. I sometimes find myself making pieces that I would never wear and that usually means that I have strayed too far from my center. Making a piece just for myself helps ground me and bring me back to what I should be making.
8. Giving myself an assignment. Right now I am making a charm with hinges,…super miniscule hinges. I have melted two sets so far but I know when I get it, I’ll feel energized and really inspired.
9. Roto Rooting out my head. If I’m uninspired it’s usually because my head has about 40 “to do” lists running concurrently. Sometimes if I take a day to get all that shit done, it frees up valuable space for thinking about making jewelry.
10. Looking at architecture.
11. Looking at the jewelry and adornment of other cultures. The diversity is unbelievable, given that we all have pretty much the same bodies and raw materials.
12. Silence. I’m guessing about this one since it actually never happens around here.
13. I’m skipping this one, don’t want to jinx a method.
14. Knitting. I can’t believe I haven’t added this one yet. There is something so great about making something that comes with instructions yet still requires skill and technique. It also allows my brain to rest.
15. Hanging out and talking with other metalsmiths. Sometimes talking over a problem someone else is having will jump start an idea for me. Sometimes related, sometimes totally unrelated.
16. Nature. This is beyond the hiking I mentioned above. My husband built me a canoe and we go out frequently in the spring and summer. It’s a great way to sit back and really take a look around at what God made and how amazing it is. I also love that there are no perfectly straight lines in nature, it keeps my thinking organic.
17. Looking at the work of other metal artists. Long before I was in Etsymetal I used to stalk the team and look at all their fabulous work. This is a double edged sword. Sometimes it’s discouraging if I’m in a low self esteem mood but otherwise, it can really give me a kick in the ass.
18. Hopping around Etsy. There are some unbelievable and wonderful artists and crafters on Etsy and they inspire me to keep at it and to make what I love every day.
19. Stop trying so hard. This is a big one and it should probably be #1. When I get stuck, it makes everything I do in the studio seem so important and scary. I forget to have fun and just let it happen. When I stop worrying about it and just go out and make stuff without worrying about failure the ideas come much easier.
20. Hummmm…I have hit the wall. I have no more inspiration for my inspirational list. I am uninspired. I’ll have to get back to you about #20.

Here’s where the “carnival” comes in. There are 15 other Etsymetal metalsmiths blogging on the same topic today. Please go and check out their articles, they will all be sure to get your juices flowing!! - Chris Parry
- Sara Westermark -Katie Miess Kohlhagen - Amanda Conley - stacey - Esther Eve 2Roses - Maria W - Victoria Takahashi/Experimetal [Berenice Schaltegger] (Brooke Arin Medlin) (Thomasin Durgin/Metalriot) - Beth Cyr - Catherine Chandler


  1. great list! i like it how knitting and hiking are on there! I have such a back log of stuff i want to do... i'm never sure if i've run low on inspiration or energy!

  2. I forgot to put "make yourself a piece of jewelry" That is one of the best ways to get your work in motion! Glad you put it in your list! I forgot all about my "feel better rings" that I've made myself throughout the years. Great list!

  3. great list!! many of these things I do... though i didn't think about them when I wrote my list! ha ha! mmm and I do love some Jan Van Eyck!

  4. No.19, very true, that's a good one.


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