Thursday, 14 February 2019

Creative Block and Finding Inspiration

I know I wont be alone in this, but sometimes I
find it hard to get creative inspiration! And when
I hit that block, I have since learned to use some tactics,
that might also be helpful for you ...

Jewellery is intensely personal. It's like miniature
sculpture for the body, and obviously my style and
ideas wont be the same for you, but I do hope they
help to ignite your ideas too!

Often inspiration can come when you're least
looking for it! It could be whilst having a walk,
taking a bath, driving to work, or just as you wake
up in the morning! (Yes, I do keep a little sketch pad
by my bed!)

However, when you have that 'block', a good starting point
can be COLOUR. You will find that all around you, in wallpaper
designs, carpets, curtains, tile patterns, abstract painting and
obviously just outside the window in nature!

My quick fix inspiration is to look in my wardrobe
and pick out a top, dress or skirt fabric that I like and use
that as my colour muse. Here are just a few examples:

Above is a favourite colourful top that I have had for years!
(Definitely since the 1990's!) To work with the neck shape,  I
designed this set of jewellery, picking out all the colours in the

Here's some more jewellery, that I designed around this beautiful
tunic, purchased quite a few years back in India. Again, I picked out
all the colours and created a design that reflected the cultural style
of the embroidered tunic.

This floral fabric, gave me the colour and design inspiration for these
earrings and matching brooch. I would never have thought of putting
all these tones together, but because they looked so fresh and Spring-
like on the fabric, I knew the tones would work well again with beads!

Using this colourful scarf fabric (above), I drew inspiration for the
colour combination for these simple seed bead earrings.

Therefore as you can see, all of these jewellery pieces have been
directly inspired by colour combinations that already exist together
and have a great appeal to me. They don't necessarily have to be
worn with the garments. The garments are solely the colour and style
reference point to trigger my end designs!

So, let me show you how I begin the process for this quick fix
jewellery designing.

Begin by picking a top, some fabric, wrapping paper ... in fact
anything that has a good colour combination appeal to you!

Above is my chosen fabric. I like the tones of colour, plus the
printed flower shapes.

Next, I look in my bead stash to find some matching beads.
I found a purple glass pearl bead and a green pear drop bead
that toned in perfectly with the colours on the fabric. I also picked
out some small seed pearls to blend in with the white areas.

NECKLACE DESIGN: I decided on making a Flower Necklace.
Taking the flower shape on the fabric as my inspiration. Using
the purple pearl at the centre, surrounding it with seed pearls and
using the the green drop bead suspended from one of the petals.

Working from a spool of 0.8mm (20-gauge) wire, create a small
link at the very end using your round nosed pliers. Place 8mm
bail makers (or, a pen) to create your first petal loop.

Using the tips of your chain nosed pliers, bend the wire back up,
ready to form the next petal...

Create 7 petal loops in all, as close to size as possible and cut
from the spool, leaving just enough to form a link.

Tease the petals around to form a circle and thread the cut end
through the link ...

Using your round nosed pliers, bend the cut end into a link,
securing it around the first link at the opposite side of the frame.

To re-shape the petals (as on the fabric), I placed my flat nosed pliers
on each side of the rounded loop end and flattened each side, thereby
creating a soft point on each of the petals in turn.

Once, I was satisfied with the shape of the frame, I Whammered the ends
of the petals on a steel block to work harden and flatten.

To hold the frame in place, I cut approx. 8" (20cm) of 0.4mm
wire and wrapped it in between and around the centre of
the flower. (*I didn't cut off any excess binding wire, knowing that 
I would need it later for the centrepiece bead).

I threaded the centrepiece purple pearl with 0.6mm wire and using
the tips of my round nosed pliers, created tiny links at each end of
the bead.

I cut about 4" (10cm) of 0.4mm wire and threaded it through one
of the links. Then, I began threading it with my white pearl seed
beads until they reached the opposite link. I then, continued threading
more seed beads to surround the opposite side of the bead ...

I secured the wires around the links and brought one of the wires
across the back to the opposite side of the bead.

I pushed the wires through the centre of the flower to the back and
twisted them together to form a twisted stem, which I spiralled
and flattened at the back of the flower. (*Use any excess wires to
reinforce and secure the bead further.)

For the green pear drop bead, I formed a cage. (A) working from
a spool of 0.8mm wire, I created a spiral about the same diameter
as the widest part of the bead. Then, I cut the wire from the spool,
leaving just enough to make an open swirl. (B) I pushed the centre
of the spiral out, to extend it into a cone shape. Popped my bead inside
and flattened the open swirl over the base of the bead.  (C) Once the
bead was captured in the cage, I lifted the top circle (centre of the spiral)
out at 90degrees, so that it could have a connector link.

Then it was a just a case of putting it all together, keeping
the colours well blended! (*Of course, if you so desired, you
could always weave 0.4mm wire in between the petals!).

So, if you ever get that creative block again, this is a sure
fire way of re-igniting that creative spark!  Of course, there are
many other ways too: putting a mood board together, looking
at Pinterest and images on the internet and of course, a walk
in the park ... as nature is positively brimming with colour
combinations, textures and shapes to fuel a lifetime of designing!