UNBLOCKING CREATIVITY IN LOCKDOWN!
I often get asked, how do I come up with new ideas for designs?
And over the years, I have used a few different tactics.
Each artist will find their own methods, but I thought as it's
definitely not easy to get ideas flowing when you're feeling low
and your creativity channels are blocked with worry and anxiety,
that I would try and share some of the techniques that I use to find
In this isolated 'lockdown' world, it's especially important,
when your vision can be blurred with the buzz of your mind and
your life can feel narrow and suffocating.
So here is a potted and simplified process of what I do, and I do
hope that it can help you too?
To begin your design selection you need to have a starting point
and below I have listed 4 different ways that you can do this. Try
not to be led by fashion trends, as some of your more original and
exciting ideas will come from your unique personal taste and style.
Read through each of the points first, before you decide which one
feels right for you.
1) Flick through some old magazines and cut out anything that has
an aesthetic appeal. It can be a landscape, a beautiful colour
combination in a fabric design ... you name it! Just cut it out and
paste it to an A4 page (like making a collage), or put it in a binder
2) Walk around your house, garden or local area with your creative
antennas at full alert and take snapshots with your 'phone camera of
ANYTHING that triggers your imagination! It can be a wallpaper pattern,
curtain or carpet design, moss on the bark of a tree or an unusual door
3) Choose your favourite historic style, such as Egyptian, Celtic,
Art Nouveau, Deco, Industrial, or natural forms, such as leaves and
flowers, etc... Any favourite personal topic will do! Then make a
'search' of that subject online on Pinterest. There, you will find enough
images to 'fill your boots'! Select and save the ones that directly appeal
most to you and put them in a new Pinterest folder that you can call:
P.D.I. (Personal Design Inspiration).
4) Look at your stash of beads and gemstones and find one, stand-out
focal piece to use as your inspirational muse!
Once you have picked one of the starting points, you should have a
good selection of images to put in your creative pot. My advice is to
be careful not to spend too much time researching and pooling
images, as you can get a brain overload!
Look at all the images you've collected and 'go with your gut', picking
the ones you are drawn to most. Try and narrow it down to 2 or
3 favourites and through the next development process, you should
be able to narrow it down even further.
Once you've chosen your topic, you now need to question what it
is that appeals most strongly to you about it? This will be personal
to you, based on your background, experiences and conditioning.
It's a bit like a self-quest! So, grab yourself a pen and paper and
with your images or topic clear in your vision and mind, scribble
down the answer to the following questions:
- Why have you chosen this image (or images)?
- Is it for Shape?
- Is it for Colour?
- If you put a magnifying glass to your image, which area
or part most appeals to you?
- Is there a Pattern?
- Is there Texture?
- A Contrast of Shapes?
- Symmetry or Asymmetry?
If you like sketching, you could doodle and draw anything that
randomly comes into the mind, but it's not essential, as once
you have scribbled down a series of words (from answers to
the above questions), you will start to see a developing theme
of elements and a pattern of key words that you can use to
start planning your design.
You should now have a sub-subject from your topic and be
more in touch with why you have selected it (visually, as well
Your next decision is 'what would you like to make'?
- A necklace, earrings, brooch, or ring?
- Who is it for? A friend, family member or yourself?
- What technique and materials are you going to use.
You can also choose a new technique that you've been
wanting to learn as there are plenty of YouTube tutorials that
you can learn from online!
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
Once you've narrowed down the style and piece that you're
making, take a look at your stash of materials and see if
you can improvise with the beads, wires and tools that you have.
The beauty of wirework is that you don't need any findings, as
you can create your own ear wires, chains, bails, clasps,
bead and stone settings, as well as framework structures!
Obviously, you can be held back by your experience and
knowledge, but as a self-taught wire-worker from the dinosaur
age, I know that experimentation and practice will get you
there in the end! There's never an end to learning!
LET'S BEGIN CREATING!
As this is The WireWorkers Guild, we're concentrating
on designing a wirework piece, which means you will be
more limited, than if it were metalwork, or silver-metal
Your piece should try to incorporate the essence and elements
of things you've drawn from in the development process.
It must be your own personal interpretation of your topic.
So, with that in mind, check that your design reflects the
COLOUR (or colours) of your topic, the flow of LINE and
Another aspect of your check list is to question, if it's
proportionally BALANCED as well as FUNCTIONAL
That's the theory of the creation process. And having
said all that, my last bit of advice, is that when you're
constructing your piece, don't worry if a few things go
off in a different direction! Just improvise and 'go with
the flow'. That's usually how you come up with your
best and most original work!
If you're still feeling as creatively blocked as you were
before you started reading this ... just send me an email:
and tell me where you're stuck (having outlined as much
as you can from the above) and for FREE, I will try and help
to propel you to the next stage of your design!
I do hope that this very simplified outline, can help you to
jump-start your next fun wirework project!
Having said all that, I thought I would show you how I can
use that template to trigger a design! The above chunky
statement necklace "The Ocean", was created in 30 minutes,
just before I posted this.
STEP 1 - MY STARTING POINT
I have had this Labradorite stone sitting on my workbench for a while.
It's got a beautiful chatoyancy, with lovely blue flashes, but sadly it arrived
with a crack and is damaged! So I can't use it in a piece to sell, or give as a gift.
But, as I love the stone and colour and can't bear to see it sitting around for
years, I have chosen this as my focal topic and STARTING POINT for
a design. It's to be made for me, to suit my style and personality.
STEP 2 - DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
When I asked myself, why I love and choose this stone?
Apart from the fact, that I love Labradorite! I also wanted to
use it because it had impurities and flaws, just like me!
I also love the colour, because it reminds me of the Ocean and
memories of seaside holidays (that we can longer have in a
pandemic!). So I looked in my stash for anything else that would
reflect, or have elements of the sea and colour and found this
Abalone shell (which had been sitting there for 4 years!). I felt
that this shell could be the perfect background and housing for my
damaged Labradorite stone, as it was the just the right size to nestle
within it! And as it was a similar colour, that could be helpful in
deflecting the defects of the stone, as well as representing the
'Ocean' theme that I was aiming for.
The Labradorite had been drilled, so I could thread it with wire,
but the Abalone shell had nothing. So I drilled 2 holes in the shell
for attachment purposes.
Here's the shell from the back! Where I pushed the wire through.
Having realised that 2 drill holes at the top wasn't going to be
enough for security, I drilled 2 more and crossed the wires over and
back through, to be able to cradle the stone within the shell.
Now that the top was held in place, I wanted to use the
remaining wire to cover the flaws and cracks of the stone
as well as secure it in its place.
And as my theme is the Ocean, I used loops to represent waves,
bubbles and foam of the sea with my wire on one side, in order
to hide and cover the central cracks on the front of the stone.
And I continued with the loopy wire theme on
the opposite side ...
The ends of the wire were secured on each side, with
one side wire ending in spiral curl (of a wave).
Next, I thought about suspending it from a chain, but as it's
such a chunky piece, it looked out of proportion. So, I found
this yachting cord in my stash (but, if I had time, I could have
created a black braid using the Kumihimo technique, or just
plaited some long black shoelaces!).
STEP 10 - MAKING the CORD ENDS
Using a pin, I poked a hole through the tape and cord
of each end, which gave me a hole to thread it with
I then wrapped one wire around the other to secure,
leaving one wire projecting at each end.
As I needed to hide the taped area at the end of the cord,
I created 2 coils of wire (with tails) that could slide over
the cord ends.
STEP 14 (A) & (B) COILED END CAPS
To make the coil covers (or end caps), I spiralled the projecting wires in
towards the top of each of the coils and flattened them back on the top,
like a lid.
Following that, I threaded the projecting end wires through the
central hole of each of the coiled end caps, so that they covered the
taped areas of the cord.
I threaded one more blue bead on each wire (to bring in blue
of the sea) and created one larger wrapped loop (for a clasp end)
and a smaller one to attach the hook end of the clasp.
Then, I made a clasp out of wire and attached that with a
jump ring to the smaller wrapped loop.
Following that I secured the shell- focal piece to the centre of my
cord using another length of 0.8mm which I attached to the crossed
over wires at the back of the piece.