Experiencing "Artist’s Block"

There’s a lot of stress right now in my life with 2 little ones in a difficult age, husband on overseas trips or working a lot, and my insomnia still not improving.

As a result of stress and tiredness, for the first time since starting lampworking I’m experiencing what is referred to as “Artist’s Block”. I have a very hard time to find inspiration and am not patient or creative enough to try new designs. I find myself often staring at my glass stash, the burning torch, wracking my brain and thinking “And what do I do NOW?”. It’s as if my mind goes blank …

There are a few tactics that one can use to overcome the creative block – so many, that there are actually several books available.
I didn’t read any of these books yet, I’m certainly no expert and I still haven’t overcome my creative block. But here’s what I’m doing to hopefully work through it and find at some point my inspiration again.

First of all I try not to worry about it too much – many artists go through phases of low creativity and overcame it. I thought about having a break from the torch, but that just seems more like a punishment to me than a solution. I need my torch time to have a break from the “madness” that is being a mum and raising kids … it gives me focus, calm and rest.

Instead of that I went back to the basics. So what if I can’t come up with new intricate designs or exciting color reactions? I decided to just not bother with what wasn’t working in any way and revisited the simple shapes and colors that are sometimes the most beautiful.

While normally I work mainly with silver glass with their nearly unlimited range of color changes and reactions, I made a point of discovering new “normal” colors that came out in the last year or two. And I discovered some really beautiful colors that speak to my eye, brain and heart: Crocus, Halong Bay, Peacock, Copper Green, Peach, Sangre Red, Steel Blue, Blue Violets. Oh, the possibilities!

How long did I neglect normal glass? For ages it seems. To revel in these colors in their purest form, I started off making simple spacers … and loved it. Easy on the mind and brain, it requires still so much focus and concentration that I was able to get into “the zone” again and enjoy torching without the pressure of having to come up all the time with some new designs, shapes or reactions.

After a couple of days I started decorating the colors with gold leaf or Aurae shards, to add more interest and that bit of luxury and “bling” to make simple spacer beads special.

Additionally I dug out all those neglected pixie dust colors. I bought a huge sampler pack way back when I started out with lampworking, but didn’t use it a lot except for my “Raw Silk” spacers. I’m currently still working through these samples and experiment a lot with different base colors. Just like the spacers with gold leaf, these are fairly simple beads … but I do enjoy making them, and I love the result: pretty, soft shimmering beads with a lovely glow to them.

I hope that I get soon into full flow again, that my creative juices start flowing again and that I will be back to enjoying experimenting with silver colors, dichroic glass, precious metal and lots of different shapes.

Lampworking is my passion – and in the end I feel that even something positive could come out of my artist’s block. I have the impression that going back to “basic colors and basic shapes” could actually give me a fresh perspective or lead into a new direction … which is a very exciting thought.

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2 comments

  1. LOVE all your new beads, Judith! And although they may be simpler to make for you, they're definitely not “basic” or plain looking! *Ü* Taking a break sometimes is always a great idea for getting those creative juices flowing strong again. Look how much fun you're having with those “regular” colors now? ;-D

  2. Thanks so much Lori. And it's easier on the wallet too … well, theoretically 🙂 LOL.

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