We all have creativity within, but what happens if you lose the spark that ignites it? Helen Martin treads new paths to find a solution.
Our creativity alone isn’t necessarily a reliable and consistent source of fresh inspiration. In fact, even once bountiful wells can easily run dry. The thrill of picking up an ongoing project can sometimes feel as if it’s completely vanished, leaving a void where you once found fulfillment. But don’t panic if your creative impetus has got up and gone – perhaps it’s simply time to complement your existing craft or project with something new. Outside inspiration and learning different skills might be just what you need to help you create a vibrant and fresh vision.
Make it personal
London-based photographer Xanthe Berkeley is a firm believer in the importance of continuously challenging ourselves creatively, and regularly sets herself personal photography projects.
“When our creative life becomes routine, we can feel uninspired and even bored by our own work. Shaking things up keeps our work fresh, and setting yourself a challenge makes you show up every day.”
Xanthe has found the benefits of projects like this to be multiple. “The discipline of taking photos regularly has improved my photography, and grown my passion for the medium.” She also points out that “the beauty of personal projects is you can create your own brief”.
This is the intention behind the #100dayproject, a social media hashtag prompting makers to create their own spin-off project. Illustrator and designer Lee May Foster-Wilson of Bonbi Forest used it to complete #lees100daysofcelebanimals. Lee May, who lives in Cornwall, says: “I challenged myself to draw a new animal every day, whose name can be merged with that of a celebrity.” The illustrations, which included George Racooney, Ernest Lemmingway and Scallop Johansson, added a fun, unpredictable element to Lee May’s Insta feed, while giving her the freedom to experiment with her artwork.
Gaining a sense of freedom was precisely the aim of Mollie ambassador Isabella Strambio when she set herself the task of learning 12 new crafts in 12 months, covering everything from macramé to slow stitch and Japanese Temari balls. “Crafts can build your confidence and ability to express yourself,” explains Isabella. By attending workshops, reading blogs, and through kits, YouTube videos, books and magazines, she’s been opening up her world and her skill set.
“I particularly love workshops,” Isabella says. “For me, face-to-face is the best way to learn from the makers, and also to get inspired.”
Look to your tribe
Just being around fellow crafters is often enough to reignite your own creative fire. For Isabella, not only was she able to explore more unusual skills, but her research lead her to meet some incredibly talented women. “ You feel their passion and it can really spark a lot of creativity. They inspire me every day with their amazing skills. It’s this that has pushed me to continue some crafts for longer than a month, with them becoming part of my life and business.”
More community-feel projects, such as Instagram’s themed Weekend Hashtag Project – #WHP – or designer Allison Sadler’s #freeupmyinsta, can also kickstart a refresh. Search the hashtags to check out your creative tribe’s take on each one, and connect by commenting on images you love. You can also use #molliemakersspotlight for a chance to be featured on our Instagram and get your designs out there to the world.
Whether you try a new craft, get involved in a hashtag, write in a journal, go on a tour of museums, or simply walk through the countryside to refresh your inspiration, a new project or pursuit is a chance for you to fearlessly explore your creativity. Jewellery designer Emily Mullen of Forest & Fawn found peace and enjoyment through both craft and exercise. “I spend time running and sewing because there’s no pressure to be any good. Alone time where I can lose myself in something slow and methodical is meditative and sacred,” Emily reflects.
The benefits of stepping out of the predictable and comfortable are often plentiful, including those you might not even have considered. As Xanthe says: “Let your creativity take the lead. Unexpected outcomes can be the magical part of a personal project.”
Another way to reignite your passion for your craft is by challenging yourself. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut so it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone. The Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2019 are open and are the ideal opportunity for you to refocus and get motivated. To enter you just need to create a fab Pinterest board showcasing you and your brand. Then invite us to view it at firstname.lastname@example.org. By entering, you’ll be able to see all your incredible work in one place and reflect on your achievements. If that doesn’t motivate you to keep on making we don’t know what will!