ready set… no!

Paint Box

It started with a week off, while my husband was at home. It was great. I relaxed, recharged, and tackled a few things that I had been pushing waaaaaay down on the ‘to do’ list. It felt great. I moved last year, and I brought with me a LARGE number of boxes packed with stuff. Some important stuff, but mostly stuff that I’ve been carrying around for years, that I don’t really need. I went on a mission to be ruthless in the throw out and donate department. And I did really well. Pat on the back for me.

In one of those boxes was a bunch of CDs on which I’d burned photos of my beads from 2003-2004ish. I thought I’d lost all the photos of my past work when my old laptop bit the dust, so I was beyond excited to find these. It was so fun to look back on all the things I’d made. I was kind of in awe of some of it… How did I think of that? How did I come up with that design? I spent a couple of days transferring the photos onto my computer and studying them, hoping to find inspiration for what I’m doing at the torch now. I’ll admit, it was intimidating. I’d started to develop a particular ‘style’ of bead set that I was good at making, and in addition, virtually EVERY set consisted of matched pairs. Since I’ve started at the torch again, nothing, and I mean nothing, has matched. Not even close. Looking at those old beads, it seemed that the neatness and precision that characterized my old work was never going to happen again. It made me sad, and wistful. And then I got stuck. Big stuck.

I’d dug myself into a creative black hole. I had no desire to make anything. Not a single thing. It was a bit painful. I knew that I had to struggle to overcome the uncertainty and self-doubt that was surfacing, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about that. Of course, this isn’t the first time this has happened over the course of my life, creating things. It happens all the time, and I think it is common to all creative people. Sometimes you just don’t see how you’re supposed to move forward.

Fast forward a week, and I think I’ve fought my way back. I just cleaned my work table, which until today, I’d just been staring at blankly. And ignoring. Completely. It was a disaster, totally preventing me from sitting down to start something new. A clean workspace always creates some mental clarity. I can breathe again.

I’ve spent the week trying to stretch my mind out in some new directions. I tried to distance myself a bit from the lampwork bead ‘world’ to see what else is out there. I spent time researching jewelry designers who use artisan made beads in their designs, and I found many people who are doing amazing, wonderful, inspiring work. I’m looking forward to following their blogs to see what they’re up to. I joined a few Facebook groups made up of beadmakers and designers, hoping to create a bit more community for myself… When you work at home by yourself, feeling connected is important. After seeing so many beautiful designs, I felt inspired to try my hand at making some jewelry again… we’ll see.

I spent some time in the kitchen, trying out new recipes, which was fun. I found a recipe for stuffed mushroom caps which is absolutely *to die for*. Um, bacon. ‘Nuff said. Here’s the link to the recipe, in case you’re interested: http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2011/02/bacon-and-cream-cheese-stuffed-mushrooms/.

Last night, I dug out my paint box, a piece of nice, textured paper, my brushes, and I sat down at the table to create something. Anything. I wasn’t after a masterpiece, but the act of mixing colors, making brush strokes, seeing one color of paint bleed into another… I’d forgotten the feeling of slipping into that certain kind of meditative feeling… Amazing.

Now I’m ready to resume my 30 day challenge. I feel like I just can’t wait to get back to my beads. I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter what I make. More making. Less thinking. That’s the important thing. That’s everything. I may not have a ‘style’, a plan, or even a direction… but sometimes uncertainty is where the journey begins.

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