This year of 2014 I'm giving myself permission to make things without the creation being shown, tweeted, blogged or sold.
My creative business is a big part of my life. Since it's so public on social media, it's hard for me to make things without feeling I need to take pictures, tweet it, and share each step of the way.
Sometimes, I just need to have fun, without a camera. Fun for me is creating, even in mediums, like fiber and paint, that I'm not very talented with.
Teach Your Parents Well
I learned this lesson from my sons, two creative and talented guys. They practice everyday, solely for the love of the music and art. Over this winter break, as I see them and hear them practicing so hard, I realize I have so much to learn from them.
So, I've gone back to playing with art collages, which I haven't done in a few years. I'm also learning to crochet. I'm even thinking of pulling beads out of storage and making a freeform peyote necklace, another thing I haven't done in years. I have no expectations for the creations. Yet, my creative mind is getting so excited about this, that I am filling up my sketchbook with ideas for future metal jewelry designs.
"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail."
I have faith, from past experiences, that whatever good lessons I learn from working in other mediums will show in my metal jewelry work eventually. For now, I'm just enjoying the process of creating in different materials.
Isn't that what winter is for? I hope you can also enjoy being inside and be a child again with your art.
My kids sometimes laugh at me, that I have a poster of Bob Dylan hanging in my studio. What can I say, I am an old hippie. I continue to find inspiration in his lyrics and life. Here are 5 sources of inspiration.
"Don't Follow Leaders..."
If something I make happens to be trending, that's cool. But I don't run after what's in style. I feel there are plenty of other jewelers and jewelry makers who are happy to do that. So, there's no need for me to follow. My jewelry isn't about fashion, anyway. I try hard to make jewelry that matters - to me and to you. A memory, a story, a milestone, a mystery - they don't follow leaders, but they are what I try to include in my creations. They are what matter to me.
"When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose."
It can be liberating and an opportunity when my items aren't selling or situations change for the worse. This is when I can make big changes to my style, venue or focus. I did this in 2009, when the economy collapsed. Instead of struggling for little sales, I went to a jeweler's technical school full time and learned the trade from experts. It was one of the best things I ever did, but I never would have had the time if sales were strong. Currently, I'm in the process of making my own website a true representation of my work. Although I've been "working on my website" for years, it was the changes in policy and focus by management on the Etsy site that pushed me to stop relying on Etsy (a venue out of my control) and use my own site to sell jewelry.
"Just keep on keeping on, down the avenue..."
Some people call it The Never Ending Tour. Dylan's done a hundred tour dates a year, for the last 30 years. Plus, he has recorded 35 albums in 50 years. That is an example of consistency. My goal is to be consistent and just keep on keeping on. As I move along on the journey, the inspirations and creations come to meet me.
"May you stay, forever young.."
Young is an attitude, a way of approaching the world and one's art. It's curiosity and enthusiasm. It's exploring new techniques. This is really all I want for life. That's a wonderful blessing to wish on someone. So, let's wish it on each other.
May you (and I) stay forever young!
Are there song lyrics or a certain celebrity that inspire you? Let me know in the comments.
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.
@PirateTides on Instagram