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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Week to Break Your Creative Block, Stress Dreams, Twitter's Redesign, Wearable Business Cards, and the New Square Card Reader

TWITTER REDESIGN (well, your profile anyway)

Some say it’s starting to look more like Facebook. 

Not everyone can see the changes, but by the end of the month they say the new format will be rolled out to everyone.


Do you have recurring dream themes?  I do… and they’ve changed throughout my life.

Supposedly the one where I’m back in school (college, usually… which is funny since I didn’t go to college) and I can’t find my class.  Ugh!  It’s so stressful.  I know I’m going to be late and/or I haven’t done my homework.  Blah! 

To me, stress is stress.  Yeah, I realize “dreams aren’t real”, but does that matter if the stress is still real?

Apparently this is the same theme as being late to catch a flight.  Guess what… another recurring theme of mine. 

Here’s the surprising (not!) part… perfectionists tend to have dreams of “unpreparedness” (both the above mentioned examples).  One article stated that one explanation for these dreams is “… you may be tying your self-worth too tightly to how you perform at work.”   Ha ha ha!  Yeah, that could NEVER apply to artists.  ;-)

When I was working in the corporate world, I used to have recurring dreams where I was on out of control elevators.  So yeah… me not being in control of my direction.  Didn’t need a book to tell me what that meant. 


Do you use Square?  If so, I hope you know you’ve got to get the updated card reader eventually.


Ran into this blog post the other day and thought I’d pass it along.  This is a really cool idea and kudos for the author for passing along the instructions for everyone to see.


If you don’t feel creative today, sort your beads, clean your workshop, or rearrange your books. 

But on day two, sit down and sketch.  It doesn’t have to be something you’re going to end up making… just sketch.  Doodle, zentangle, anything.  Write words if they come to your mind, too.  None of this has to be jewelry design related.  You’re just practicing the relationship between your hand, your pencil, and your paper.   Your brain doesn’t have to be overly involved.  Today should be about fun, not work.

On day three, relax.  But didn’t we just do that?  Grab some of your favorite craft or technique books and read.  Just look at the photos and see how you feel about them.   Keep a sketch book by your side and when trust me, the ideas will come.  You will see things or read things that will inspire you.  Whether it’s an actual design you can sketch out or just a note that starts out with “what if”.  

A couple of my favorite books when I need to take a brain break:

  • Landmarks of the World’s Art: Prehistoric and Primitive Man (by Andreas Lommel)
  • Jewellery: The Intelligent Layman's Book (by Jack Ogden)
  • Narrative Art (edited by Hess and Ashbery)


On day four, realize that being creative doesn’t always mean you have to be wildly innovative or ground-breaking.  That kind of thinking can stop a designer cold in their tracks.  Frozen with fear.  Stop.  Take a step back and do some rote technique all day long.  Set up your soldering station and fuse some silver rings… over and over… make necklace after necklace.  By the end of the day, your fusing or soldering skills should be wildly better than they were in the morning.   Remember “wax on, wax off”?  That’s what we’re doing.  You can also do wire-wraps or torch some beads or do some chain maille or simple enameling… anything that needs a bit if improvement in your skill-set, but nothing that’s so complicated that it will be a big stress for you.

On all of these days, set a timer to limit your time on the computer.  Social media can be fantastic for our jewelry business, but in the wrong hands (or for the wrong reasons) it can also be a huge time vacuum, sucking up hours and hours of potentially creative design time.

On day five, shake up your routine.  Take the day off and go exploring.  Drive on a road you’ve never driven on before.  Go to a park and hike where you’ve never been before.  A museum, a zoo, a bike trail… any place you’ve never been before.  If you’re really brave, talk to strangers too.  Just be in the moment and notice what’s around you.  You want to fill your senses with new experience.  Let your brain know it’s not in a rut.

Also, I think one of the most important things you can do is keep a notebook with you at all times.  Write down all those ideas that you’re SURE you’ll remember.  ‘Cause you know what?  We don’t.  We don’t remember lines we saw that made us think of a necklace design or the color combination on that tv ad that made us think of a bead idea.  Write down everything.  And then when you think you have no creative ideas, go to your notebook and remind yourself about all these wonderful things you thought of and can now do.

On day six, search the internet and download a project/tutorial that looks interesting.  Make sure you have the materials on-hand and then go at it.  Don’t download one that you won’t be able to do that same day.  Sometimes following someone else’s instructions takes a load of pressure off of us and gives our brains the time to relax and begin thinking again of ideas for us.

On day seven, commit to blogging on a regular basis.  Pick a project and just start babbling about it (with photos!).  Other jewelry makers love to read about what we’re all up to.  We want to see how it’s done and what you tried and what worked for you and what didn’t work for you.  One of my most popular blog posts is about the day that I tried to learn how to fuse fine silver.  There are tons of videos and tutorials online from people who already knew what they were doing, but a lot of people really enjoy seeing it through the eyes of the explorer.  And sometimes the explorer shares something that a master might not think to mention. 

So that’s one week where you don’t have to agonize over your creative block.  And hopefully, something in that week will spark your ignition.

Will this jumpstart week work for everyone?  I should think not since we’re all wired differently.  But you never know until you try.

Report back here.  I’d love to hear how things went for you.


  1. This is a neat idea actually. I like this. One thing I have found is also is someone comes over and just grabs a strand and says - make something - as one of my other ways of stress relieve. Going through beadstash sometimes is very stressful since I don't know what to pick or if I am going to be inspired. Having someone else do that - helps reduce the stress..

    1. What a great idea! Thanks for adding to the content of my blog post. :-)

  2. Great ideas! What I find usually works for me is to just go down to my studio and start organizing. It doesn't take long before something has grabbed my attention. As far as blogging...when I do have the words flowing, I tend to do up a few blog posts in advance.

    1. Oh I love organizing. Totally awesome advice. Thanks! You never know what you'll see that will spark an idea. (How many stones do I have that I've forgotten about?!)

  3. Very good advice. Sometimes I surf Pinterest and get inspired by other jewelry artists or outfits that would look good with my style of jewelry. It usually helps get the juices flowing.

  4. I am not in a slump right now. Actually brain on overload, which can be another problem all together. I loved all of these ides. I don't blog, but maybe it is almost time.

  5. This was a great read, Laura!!! Thanks for bringing it to our attention again. I've never had a 'remission' like the current one...I've taken to doing other things I love, hoping the mojo will return:)