28 May 2012

Getting Un-Stuck

Sometimes I just slow down and the creative juices don't flow.

While I find it frustrating, the ebb and flow of creative energy is innate to its character. The winter season hit me in November last year with a great slump. I found myself sucked into reading and watching films and enjoying others' creativity far more than my own.  Even though the weather never truly became wintry, I still felt dragged down and lumpish throughout. Then I spent most of the spring suffering from creative frustration. I'd begin a knitting or crochet project, but either couldn't find the flow or, ended up making mistakes and ripping it all out.

My first major crocheted garment turned out to be a huge muddle. I started it in a class in late February and did an okay job with the first half of a simple, green shawlette. I could not get the hang of what I went wrong with the decrease side of the pattern. I'd start, then realize it didn't look right and tear out all of my stitches. Several times. My friend, C, helped me diagnose what went wrong and gave me clues to re-starting.  Finally, I found the nerve to rip out yet again and get back to the mid-point where I made my errors.  Not until last weekend, when I was spending time crafting with another friend, that I finally began to make progress towards the second half of my shawlette. Whew! I feel better now that the chevron shape is working out.

Sometimes life is like that. While there's no way to "rip out" and turn the clock back, you can re-group and make forward progress.

I jump-started my work in the mixed media crafting world with an art journaling class taught by Karen Bearse at The Queen's Ink.  I enjoyed it so much, because I needed to get my hands dirty again and remind myself how easy it is for me to slip back into child-like mode when I'm playing with colors, shapes, and collage. Karen had some fantastic tools for us to play with and gave us a series of projects that allowed the students to experiment.  I'd never used the style of pigment called "Gelatos" made by art company Faber-Castell, but that was our main color tool with Karen's May class. It looks like a lip-stick tube, but has pure pigment which can be applied directly to surfaces or mixed with water to produce watercolor effects.

Karen gave us collage elements and sets of instructions, but we had free-rein to choose colors and to decide which elements to combine. Here are some of the practice samples I made with Karen Bearse's wonderful prompts and kits in the class.

So, now the trick is to keep going independently. I've scheduled some more mixed media classes this summer to help keep up the flow. My challenge will be to work on my own in-between them.


  1. Just saw this post. I'm glad your shawl is back on track, and I love your pages from class! I'm gonna have to try those Gelatos.

  2. Thanks, Ms Pocket,

    My shawl is now much further along than this photo shows.

    Gelatos are so much fun to play with. They are my favorite new mixed media tool. Here's a Faber Castell sponsored blog with more examples and techniques. So inspiring! http://designmemorycraft.typepad.com/design-memory-craft/gelato/