When I first developed symptoms of fibromyalgia, I had to learn the really hard lesson of taking "Baby Steps". Having been a bit of a Type A person, who always wanted to get to the end product as soon as possible, this was a huge lesson for me.
I still struggle with taking "Baby Steps", but I'm happy to say that I have embodied some of this lesson into my creative work. So, you see here two baby steps (prototypes) I have been taking with my BioBangle designs.
At the NPCG Synergy Conference, there was a lot of discussion about the creative process and finding your own "voice". A few folks have expressed interest in how I have been finding my own "voice". Here are some thoughts that have bubbled up lately on this topic...
- It has been a huge relief to allow myself the time and space needed to let my ideas grow and manifest. I stress the word "allow". The most creative time for me is just before getting up in the morning... when the Alpha waves are high and the mind is still partly asleep. Perhaps it's a time when my unconscious mind meets my analytical mind... I don't know. I just know its really important to allow this time to happen, before I get out of bed.
- It's also been a (surprising) release to allow myself to just focus on one form... in this case, bangles. I had been jumping from earrings to pendants to vessels to beads... which, at the time, was a good way to explore techniques. But it is hard to explore ones "voice" when jumping from one thing to another.
- When all else fails, I fall back on the familiar... colors I'm familiar with or techniques I'm comfortable with. The act of creating within the familiar when I'm exploring (yes, I know this sounds counter intuitive) makes exploration less daunting.
- When I feel stumped and stagnant, I resort to just touching clay... hand kneeding it, playing with it, anything. Just touch it! I find sitting in my studio mixing a bunch of familiar colors is a great way to inspire ideas. Or cranking out a bunch of Skinner Blends or simple canes. It doesn't matter - I just need to touch the clay.
- When I can't even motivate myself to "touch the clay", I'll give myself permission to make a cup of tea and just surf the web. I might start with Polymer Clay Daily, or Polymer Clay Notes, or Kim Cavender's blog, and see where they take me. I don't limit myself to polymer clay sites. Those who have been following this blog for a while know that I have been looking at nudibranchs, squids, and other marine creatures. But I've also been visiting galleries and museums on the web. You could call it research, but I don't see it that way when I do it... I simply allow myself to browse and explore. If I end up at a site that showcases hummingbirds or unusual knitting projects, that's just fine.
To close, I offer my huge apologies to all who sent me emails or tried to call me over the last few months. If I didn't reply, or took forever to respond, please do not take it personally. This winter and spring I have been hiding and evolving (and struggling with a lot of pain). But the growing light and warmth has helped me stick my head back out into the world. Thanks to all for your grace and forgiveness.