Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why are you UNinspired?

May is a whackadoodle insane schedule in the Cameron household, as it is for so many other people (but my rant about how everything is crammed into the month of May is for a different blog altogether...). So I was feeling rather uninspired to write a blog post for today. Because honestly, I haven't even stepped foot in my studio except to deposit some new beads and frit (small chunks of glass to use in lampworking) that came in the mail.

So I've decided to write about what causes uninspiration (yes, I made that word up). On this blog and many others, there are tips on how to get inspired when in a creative funk. They are overflowing with ways to get inspired for all sorts of different people, because not every person is the same. However, I cannot recall an article that discusses what can cause the loss of inspiration in the first place.


Studio clean up
My lampworking space before some tidying up. My jewelry bench is on the far end of this space. 

Ask to see the workspace of just about any creative type and they will probably cringe and make excuses. Why? Because it's a freaking disaster zone. They may worry about legal liability if one of the stacks topples over onto the visitor.

Many jewelry makers show photos of their benches with a 3"x3" clear space for making jewelry surrounded by piles of beads, chain, wire, thread, tools, etc. and claim they prefer it to be like that. I do the same thing. However, it gets to a point where I spend more time trying to find the bead I just set down for a second as it somehow disappears into the mess. Here's the biggie: I find myself avoiding the studio when it gets that bad. 

Studio clean up
After the clean-up

When I start avoiding my studio because it's too much disaster, I start cleaning. Do you want to know what happens? I find stuff. And finding that stuff gives me ideas. Ideas which I need to try immediately. Sometimes I give in to it and start making stuff. Sometimes I draw a quick sketch and put the item which caused the idea to form with the sketch in a prominent location on my bench so that when I finish cleaning, I can immediately get back to making a mess again.

Too many choices:

Us creative types are collectors and hoarders by nature. I cannot even count how many different colors of glass or different beads I own. When faced with a wall of glass or a shelving unit filled with beads, it can cause a person to freeze up.

If this happens when I'm making beads, I will select a single color for the main color and maybe one or two other colors as accents and just start playing with them. Often the ideas will start coming fast and furious at this point.

Look at all those pretty colors....which one do I use? 

If it happens when I am making jewelry, I select a single component I want to work with. Then I start trying to figure out how to make it "sing". It's strange that working within certain restraints actually increases creativity and inspiration.

Making ugly stuff:

What about those days when everything you touch seems to turn into some hideous monstrosity and you feel like a total failure? One way to deal is to step away from the bench. Or...start playing. Have you ever wanted to try something you see in your mind but haven't had time to actually try yet? Do that. Or construct something that is totally inappropriate to wear, but looks cool. Spend time playing with your materials. Our brains need that.

Monkey on my back Syndrome:

Tax Return and Calculator
photo from 401(k) 2013 Flickr photostream 

Is there something that needs to be done that is weighing you down, but you avoid doing it? Like...paperwork or a commission or weeding or whatever that thing is that is stopping you. Do it and get it over with. You will immediately feel lighter and it frees your brain to be inspired and creative again.

Have a Creative Week!

-Jen Cameron
Glass Addictions


  1. Great advice and I am so in love with your work space!

  2. Yep, you are a genius! Totally hit the nail on the head with the messy desk syndrome. And here's the goofy thing. When other people (aka the hubs) make smarmy comments about my work area, it makes me not want to clean it up, just for spite. And then I sit there frustrated cause I can't find anything! Ok, now I'm off to do some cleaning...

  3. I am right there with you Miss Jennifer! I actually started by pulling everything out of my studio that was on the floor. So it is now either tottering on the brink of disaster or it is out in the hallway where the family is grumbling when they trip on it. But I am making progress in cleaning up! And at the same time I am also making things that need to be made. But the finding of treasures is the best part. I have started a whole basket full of envelopes of treasures that have come in the mail that I haven't even opened! Shameful! But if I can get that table in the middle cleaned off I will be setting up a mini-torch station and actually putting it to good use! Enjoy the day! Erin

  4. Jen, you're so right on with this post! My son just exclaimed a couple of days ago I didn't go in the studio for a long time. While I started to answer him why I realized it's not only the lack of time - but #1 (it is a disaster area!) and #4 (some personal stuff happening or waiting to happen).

    So I smiled and went up - I ignored the disaster and made a couple of beauties... I will clean up next!

  5. OMGosh! This article could not have come at a better time. I have tons of paperwork to do for a 3 year IRS audit that I keep putting off - with a deadline rapidly approaching. I haven't been able to be creative beyond getting more organized with my materials and tools. I feel like the whip has just been cracked. And I really needed it. TFS!

  6. LOL I know what you mean. Although it is my tray that gets cluttered because I keep pulling things out that I think of, I am now on a kick of finishing!

  7. You are so right! I started the yr with big plans - make new jewelry, photograph said jewelry, open an etsy/artfire shop, create a website, start a blog, and begin participating in blog hops. I broke it down into smaller, attainable goals, but here it is the middle of May and I am way behind. For ALL of the above reasons. I see the ideas in my head, but before I can create them, they disappear in a puff of smoke! It's very comforting to know that it's not just me! Thanks a bunch for the post!

    Angi Mullis

  8. Yep, you nailed it for sure! All your points are spot-on (for me, anyway!) Or, the other thing is there's always so many ideas floating around my head of things I want to make or try that I just freeze up and so I go clean the house or something stupid like that instead!

  9. Loved your blog post but wondered if you were talking about me. LOL I'm off to do some cleaning too and see where the creativity takes me after that. Thanks so much for posting this.

  10. So glad to hear there are others suffering from the same afflictions as I am! Somehow, just knowing you're not the only one makes it a little better :). I was just thinking today during a long car trip that a large part of my problem the last coupe weeks is the mess in my studio.

  11. I really enjoyed this post!!!That being said I also really needed this post!!! I have a few [read bunches] things going on that make it more difficult for me to design but the clutter issue is there as well!!! I have a room [that is cluttered -used as storage] that I can use but i have to first clean it then move everything and then organize everything!!! Whewww!!! But this was just what I need!! Thanks again!!!

  12. Great advice, especially about getting that one job done so you can free your mind to create.

    My 'studio' is also our dining room and the recycling room. I have no way to store anything except to pile it on the floor or the table. And everything must be portable for when guests come or I host a jewelry party. Needless to say, there are many days I just throw my hands up in frustration.

  13. Spot on Jen! I laughed out loud at the putting a bead on the workbench and not being able to find it. You don't even want to know how often that happens on my jewelry making bench. Great article.

  14. I am one of those folks that just can't create in a messy studio. I have to put everything away before I start or all I think about is the mess.

  15. I am so,
    But I do not have a study, unfortunately,
    Beautiful post, and congratulations as you are.
    A kiss and good day.

  16. That's me you were writing about, right?! I hate monkey on my back syndrom!

  17. It's amazing how similar we all are!! My bead table it like Where's Waldo lol. Great post!

  18. My fav part is the cleaning. Well, neatening. I an a Virgo after all. I am inspired by treasures I find, like to drink coffee and fondle said treasures while ideas percolate. Bu the time its clean I am all fired up... Maybe I will clean today...

  19. This post is awesome! You're like Oprah for people who love beads! (I mean that in a super nice way in case you're not a fan of hers!) My favorite point that you make and one that has truly sunk in with me over the past year: "It's strange that working within certain restraints actually increases creativity and inspiration." When I find myself lost in the land of too many (cluttered) choices, focusing on one component brings me creative peace and, most times, a unique design I can be proud of. Thank you for sharing your issues of uninspiration ... and a new word we can all relate to. =)

  20. This really spoke to me, Jen. The cabinet that I use to keep my art bead stash has gotten completely overrun. And since there is no room in it till I re-organize it, all my new acquisitions end up all over the work table, photo station, desk, coffee table etc! sigh...

  21. So glad I read this post, as I had one of those tedious paperwork/filing tasks hanging over my head and it has been hanging there nicely for, months. Inspired (see!)by this post, I got it done yesterday and, know what? It really wasn't that bad and I feel so much better now. Might have time to be creative this week now....thank you!


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.