Saturday, August 13, 2011

Creativity Challenge

Take apart something you dislike

As artists and craftspeople, we make plenty of things that delight us. Things that are interesting, well made, and reflect our sense of aesthetics. But! Sometimes our ideas don't turn out quite the way we expected, and while this can open up a lot of exciting opportunities, it can also be a plain old disaster.

Don't worry. It happens to everyone, I guarantee. The important thing is to trust your instinct; if something seems off, step back and decide just what that something is. Then wait awhile -- maybe a few hours, or maybe a few days, depending on how much work you've already put into the piece. Come back and look at it with fresh eyes. If you still feel that things didn't work out, there's no sense in hanging on to your project in its current state. Find a way to turn it into something you love.

I like to approach this challenge with the mindset that I'll waste as little material as possible. That if I end up throwing anything away, it will be something that isn't very important -- like thread as opposed to, say, beads or metal. I also like to keep in mind that I don't have to stay true to my original design in any way! I can combine the old with the new, using new techniques and materials. Whatever works.

For example, two years ago I created a necklace out of aluminum and wire rings, a precursor to my Honeycomb necklace. It was OK, but there was something off about the way it hung. Away it went in a box. This summer I finally gave myself permission to take it apart. I rearranged the different components and added some new ones. I also added my signature sequins. The result? A piece I like as much as Honeycomb, and which earned me a fair bit of praise at the Bead and Button show -- from two of my chainmaille idols, even!

(And here's the necklace!)

This experience helped me realize that taking apart a piece, whether it's a painting or a necklace or even a novel, doesn't hurt it as long as I make it into something extraordinary. It hurts a piece more to sit in a drawer or box, to seem like a pile of unused/wasted materials. You can bet I'll keep this in mind when I tackle my next less-than-stellar piece -- one I made last week.

And that concludes this week's Creativity Challenge. Stay tuned for eye candy, possibly today. Also, be on the lookout for a series of posts I intend to do on one of the most talked-about topics in just about any artistic community -- self-promotion.

Thanks for reading! Have a sequintastic day. :)


  1. I don't know how it looked before the change, but that necklace is now wonderful! I love the chainmaille technique and the colours.

    I completely agree with you, it's worst to have a piece sadly sitting in a box than rearrange it into something gorgeous.


  2. Thanks, Ambra! The chain maille was so much fun to do -- I can't wait until Blue Buddha Boutique starts carrying those little colored rubber rings again!


Comments are like chocolate chip cookies for my blog! They're always appreciated. <3