Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Waking a Sleeping Muse...

Do you ever have times when your muse seems to abandon you? Many creative people suffer from these droughts and I'm no exception. I've had no inspiration or motivation since well before Christmas which is a long time for me. Usually I can kick start things just by swapping activities for a while to get a new perspective but this time nothing seems to have clicked. Sometimes we just need to take a break for a while - last year was pretty busy and I did dive into and get engrossed in quite a few new activities but it's been rather frustrating to find myself staring into the distance whenever I've tried to start something.

I've been trying to improve my fitness levels of late by walking more so this week I decided to see if I could kill two birds with one stone and use my walks to go in search of inspiration and try and wake up my sleeping muse. Camera in hand I headed out to Hengistbury Head - a beautiful coastal nature reserve that never fails to lift my spirits and this visit was no exception. I had plenty to play with by the time I got home

Anyone who follows me on facebook will know I have something of a passion for the beach huts that are plentiful in my region - they've inspired me to create beads and jewellery in the past and this photo certainly rekindled that passion. I just love the soft winter sunlight in this picture that creates a lovely muted tone to these huts compared to the bright harsh light of summer when they're usually photographed.

The great thing about taking photographs of things that catch your eye is that they can inspire you in more than one way. You can take the subject matter of the image as your inspiration and I certainly think I might be revisiting beach hut beads this year. Or you can use them for colour inspiration by using them to create a design palette. There is plenty of free software available for turning your images into colour palettes and you'll find some in a previous post I wrote here. I particularly like Adobe Colour CC as it allows you create specific mood palettes.

Once I'd created palettes with my favourite pictures I decided to go through by stash and pull out some beads that relate to the images through colour, texture and maybe the broad subject matter. Purely random choices they're not intended to work together for a specific piece but just working through this process definitely got me thing creatively.

Beads by Caroline DewisonHelen ChalmersGenea BeadsJenny Davies-Reazor and Karen Totten

These abandoned lobster pots provided another great image - I just love the weathered colours and textures. Although I've only pulled beads for these so far they definitely make me think of fibres and wires - there you go, inspired already!

Beads by Staci-Louise Smith, Silke Grober, Outwest and Tracey Seder-Donoughe
This image is taken across a wild fowl reserve and I really like the way the stream wends it's way through the salt marsh and draws the eye to the Priory in the distance. It's a very tranquil scene and appeals to my love of anything earthy and natural which I tried to match in my bead selection.

Beads by Analyse Taylor, Rebekah Payne, Kaz Baildon, Jan Onipenco, Pippa Chandler and Elaine Ray
Of course, you don't always have to make special trips to find some inspiration - I took this image while out shopping and I am totally besotted with it. It's a wall of the church of Wimborne Minster which is 1300 years old and features Saxon and Norman architecture. I've no idea how old this particular section is or how long it's taken to weather the Dorset limestone to these glorious colours and textures but it stopped me in my tracks when I was walking by.

I was particularly interested in textures when I was choosing beads for this one but to be honest, I think this image may be more of an inspiration for my own clay work  - if I could get glazes or finishes like!

Beads By Kaz Baildon, Caroline Dewison, Julie Fountain, Karen Totten, Marsha Neal-Minutella, Kristen Stevens and Rebekah Payne
Don't forget what's on your doorstep either. This Hellebore is one of my all time favourite flowers with it's understated beauty and shy habit of hanging it's head. It graces my garden in the winter months when little else is awake and stays to welcome the brighter brasher blooms that arrive with the onset of spring. I'm not really one for pastels and rarely 'do' pink but this dusky hue with green is pretty sublime.

Beads by Mari-Carmen Rodriguez Martinez, Ciel Creations, Sally Carver, Lesley Jane and Anne Gardanne
So did this technique work in terms of motivating me? Well, apart from having the beads as a starting point my brain is also thinking ahead to possible clay and textile projects and I've been scribbling in my note book again the past couple of days. Put that together with the fresh air and exercise and I think you can say it was a success so, if you're suffering from a creative block grab your camera and walking boots and give it a go!


  1. Lovely blog post, Lesley. Makes me wish I was on that walk with you!

    1. It's a really beautiful place to walk...thank you.

  2. Absolutely amazing post, I love every bit of it. So inspiring.

  3. that is a really wonderful post! I love everything about it.. your seaside photo's and how you color matched your beads!


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