Giving Your Creativity Free Reign

All my soldering equipment finally made its way to me yesterday afternoon. I set up my station and waited. I was so nervous. Would it still be as easy as it was in the class? What if I lost my touch? What if the cat got curious and singed a whisker?

So many worries so it took me a while to come back to my station and get to work. When I finally did, I was so wonderful. I was very anxious about using my iron around my cat who constantly comes and plants her furry butt right in the middle of my projects, but she stayed away, thankfully.

I often let my anxiety get the best of me, especially when it comes to my art. I get anxious that I won't be good enough, that no one will like my pieces, that I will invariably waste precious supplies making things that aren't beautiful. I would be lying if I said it was easy to combat those nagging voices in my head.

The best solution I've found is channeling that frustration and just diving in. Sometimes, I'll make a time commitment: I'm going to work for two hours without interruption and see where that gets me. I've even started using what I call my "studio rituals." When I come into my studio to work, I start incense, put on some good music, light a candle, say an affirmation (currently, "I give my creativity and joy in living free reign."), write three pages in my art journal and then, after I'm properly focused, delve right into my work.

That might see like a lot to do, but it really works. You have to invest in yourself and invest time into your creativity, not just with simply creating things, but setting the stage, too. Who can work when their family keeps interrupting or you're not sure how much time you have to dedicate to a project every day?

Really, it makes things simpler.

And here are the pendants I made last night using themed scrapbook paper:

Still need to tweak the process a little and get some better jump rings. I plan on coating the solder with bronze surfacer to match the brass I use in my jewelry.

What are some of your studio rituals to get you in the creative mindset?


  1. I get anxious that I won't be good enough, that no one will like my pieces, that I will invariably waste precious supplies making things that aren't beautiful.

    This is a huge problem for me, especially that last point. Mom always pushed me to be artistic, but always had some kind of internal accounting going that I didn't understand that meant that my product wasn't worth the cost of the supplies. She drilled into me this fear of being wasteful, the idea that I have to already be both talented and skillful before I can invest in good materials and tools. In my head, I know that it's hard to improve with shoddy materials and unreliable tools, but it's still hard to shake off the feeling that I don't "deserve" nice paints or pencils or yarn until I put in time slogging through project after project with off-brand wax crayons and a back-to-school-special #2 until I can coax what I want to create out of the cheap stuff -- and of course, that can be so much harder and more frustrating than accomplishing the same thing with better supplies!

    I get around that, in part, by having boxes and boxes of cheap gel pens lying around. They'll dry out after a while anyway, so I might was well use them up, right? And a new pack of sparkly or fluorescent or metallic or whatever pens is only a few dollars, so I add a new set every month or so. They skip and blot and do all kinds of irritating things, but mostly what I do with them is just doodling on notebook paper -- writing my name in different styles, or drawing an alphabet of illustrated capitals or something. It's low-investment play time, and eventually I get a sense that even if what I'm doing is clumsy or error-ridden, there's still a kind of charm or a vision or style to it that's unique to me. Once I've found that, I've found my confidence again, that even if I can't do something skillfully, I'm still the only one who can do it like me, and that makes it worth using nice things.

    My other tactic is for summoning a sense of play. When I feel like I'm very frustration-prone and no matter how well I plan out a project, it's just not going right, I need to pull back from it and remember how to adapt to errors and material/tool failures. I spin in place with my eyes closed and point, five times, to pick five random things. (Very random, sometimes!) I use just a little of each of them to make a small project, usually on a 3x5 index card. It helps me get out from under the pressures to be "worth" my materials by reminding me that I'm there to experiment and play, not to create masterworks; it also helps me regain the creative flexibility that turns mistakes into opportunities to go in unexplored directions. It's really hard to take yourself too seriously when you've just told yourself, "Black spray paint, orange mason twine, AA battery, Ikea pencil, coconut oil, and a 3x5 card -- GO!"

    1. I absolutely LOVE the idea of 5 random things! In my studio, that could be anything! A lot of the books I've read on inspiring creativity do talk about "playing" at art to loosen yourself up. I never really thought it could be as fun as black spray paint, coconut oil and twine! :)