For people who make a living being creative, often the greatest battle is where to start.
Getting started is not easy for everyone, especially when you are going through a creatively dry season. But if you never start, you can never finish something. In today’s polymer clay tip we’re going to discuss how to jumpstart your creativity in your chosen art form and potentially conquer that “dry spell.”
The Hardest Part
Many people don’t have inspiration at their fingertips because they are just not programmed that way. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t figured out how to harness their creativity. These are the people who don’t begin a project until they have an idea. Are you one of those? If you are then you really need to read this!
If you’re not starting something and waiting on inspiration to strike, you’re missing out on potentially awesome creative time.
Don’t Wait, Just Dive In
If you are one of those who sit and wait to be inspired, you are missing out on what could be your next big breakthrough. Why? Because inspiration rarely strikes if you’re not busy creating. When you stop creating, your “creative juice” slows down. You know that dry spell you’ve been in before? Chances are good you stopped creating all together until you got through it, right? Well … that was your first mistake. Never. Ever. Stop.
Polymer Clay Tip:
Start with Something You Love
The easiest and quickest way to jump start your creativity is to begin by doing something that you love. It doesn’t have to be new, fancy-schmancy, or horribly creative. It just has to be something that you love.
Every time I’m in my studio, I start by making a few Parker’s. Despite his cute yellow appearance, there’s a lot of pre-work involved in making Parker. First I have condition my clay and make the clay blend because Parker is a custom color. I make prepare enough clay to make 4 Parker figurines. Once my clay is fully conditioned, I divide the clay into four equal portions and begin making Parker.
In a class I took with Christi Friesen this past spring, she told us that when she gets started if she doesn’t have any ideas of things she wants to make, she begins by making hearts. If you’ve seen any of Christi’s work, you know that she makes a lot of gorgeous hearts! And now you know why …
But when I’m really stuck and just can’t seem to get down to the business of claying. Here’s something that works for me every single time without fail: studio immersion.
Why & How It Works
Why does this technique work? It works because it’s getting you involved and getting those creative juices flowing. It’s preparing your hands & brain to begin to be creative. You’re actually “tricking” your brain into creativity. Because you’re starting with something you love to do and something that comes easily to you it makes it that much easier for your creativity to come alive. Because you are familiar with what you are starting with, it allows your brain to gently “sink” into the creative mode. You’re not forcing it but rather, you are encouraging it! And isn’t that what we all want, encouragement to be creative.
Allowing your brain to relax by doing something you love also allows your brain to think creatively. If you can urge yourself just to get started, you’ll find that your brain may take off in some surprising directions. In fact, many of my best ideas have come during the creation of a Parker.
Ideas to Get Started
If you’re new to your chosen hobby or art form, allow yourself to do something that comes naturally. If you are a polymer artist that doesn’t know where to start, try one or more of these ideas:
- Make hearts like Christi Friesen or Dr. Ron Lehocky
- Bottles of Hope to donate
- Bullseye canes
- Jumbo textured beads
- Play with color palettes
- Condition clay
- Clean up your space!
Start with a Clean Space
If you have been following me here on the site for any length of time, you all know by now that my studio is likely the cleanest place in the entire house. Why? Because I can’t work in chaos. While some very talented artists thrive in a workspace of chaos, I am not one of them. Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree begins her work day by cleaning her studio as well, so that all her workspaces are clear and ready to begin. She also turns on some music and eliminates distractions (see more about this below).
Knowing that all my tools are right in front of me, clay is in order, beads are in their place, paints have their own corner, binders & books of inspiration are above my head makes me more proficient. It means that I am never searching for anything and for me it also means I’m more creative.
The biggest reason that people can’t get started is because they are distracted.
Don’t Get Distracted
Distractions are just that … distractions. They take you away from what you should be doing and keep you from accomplishing anything. While I am a fan of Pinterest & Flickr and browsing polymer art through those medias, they are also one of the biggest time sucks! Let me ask you this, have you ever gone to Pinterest for ‘just 5 minutes’ and ended up looking at the clock an hour later wondering where your time went? I have. I call it the “Pinterest Vacuum” … because it sucks you in! The same is true of Facebook and all other forms of social media. Let me be honest here … social media will be there when you are done working, as will all the people who visit those social media outlets. It’s not as though in the 4 hours you are in your studio working that Facebook will suddenly cease to exist, or that pinned tutorial you might want to look at later won’t pop up again in 4 weeks (has anyone else noticed that trend?).
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Share in the Comments Below
What do YOU do to get started in your creative hobby? Share your tips, ideas, & thoughts with us below!
Thanks for joining me today,
5 thoughts on “Do You Ever Wonder Where to Start?”
Oh my gosh! You pegged me perfectly in that I am motivated by another person’s work. Problem is that once I get started, I keep making more and more of the same thing (usually pendants) with slight variations. I love the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, and there is usually plenty of clay left over from the original project, so might as well make more LOL. Don’t want to get into selling, so I give plenty away, but I am still starting to accumulate a large stash! Such a happy problem to have; right?
It’s now almost a month since I read your January post with the tips for getting started, and it really hit home. I try to remember some of your points – especially to have something that you love to do. I’m working on this, and it is helping. Thank you! At least now I have identified a couple of things that can be my starting point when I get into my studio. I enjoy your posts and newsletter very much.
Hi Karen! I’m so glad that you found the article helpful. Sometimes starting, getting started, or finding the idea can be hard. I’m glad you’re here. Welcome to the fun of claying.
I’ve just joined your blog and look forward to seeing my e- mails. I have a question which I hope you can help me with, and it is how do I get rid of fingerprints on the clay (Fumo professional)?
Hope you can help.
Hi Janice! There are lots of ways to get fingerprints off clay. The easiest, and what I recommend, is to put a liberal amount of lotion on your hands and work it in well. Let your hands “rest” a few minutes. The lotion will soften & moisten your hands and will help “fill in” the lines of your fingers. You can reduce about 80% of fingerprints this way. Also master a “soft touch” when working with polymer. Corn starch can be used on pre-baked pieces to remove fingerprints. Clay softener, mineral oil, & rubbing alcohol can also be used with varying degrees of results. I hope this helps.