As a jeweler and small business owner, I rely on my creativity in so many ways. A few years ago, I learned to embrace the fact that creativity is not always present and abundant, nor should it be. There are cycles to creativity and the dry spells are build ups for the abundant spells.
But this year has been a hard year. We are living during a pandemic. We have had family members die from COVID, our son was hospitalized with meningitis, my main source of income - in-person shows - vanished, and childcare became a guessing game. I have also had so many amazing moments this year that I wouldn't trade for the world, but all-in-all, it's been pretty darn stressful!
Naturally, my creativity decided to slow down. My body was in fight or flight mode, and despite that becoming the new "norm", my creative muses were not coming out to play.
I started getting worried. Was this the right path for me? I knew creativity came in cycles, but this was the longest stretch I had gone without much inspiration. Aside from a few moments of existential panic, I tried to simply be with the questions coming up in my mind, and allow things to unfold.
I also knew that I was feeling less creative drive because I had not shared my work with anyone in person in more than a year and a half. After going from selling at shows almost every weekend for most of the year to 100% online, I realized how important it was for me to get that energetic feedback about my work through in person shows.
But, I am happy to say, my creativity is back! And do you know what brought it back?
One day, I decided to make a piece with a stone in it. I had been wanting to work with stones for quite a long time, but it just hadn't happened. I started asking myself questions to help figure out the design- Why did I choose this stone? How would I describe this stone? What memories does this stone evoke?
Once I did this, I began to see that the stone was a type of creative collaborator. It wasn't just me going into the studio to work alone anymore- it was me working with what the stone gave me. And each one gave me something new to work with! Each had their own energy, their own creations just waiting to born. Sure, it was me making the piece, but I now had someone (something?) brainstorming with me, offering up new ideas, and inputing a new energy.
With these stones came a new wave of creativity. Not only am I excited to be working with the stones, I'm excited to be making other work as well! The stones got me excited about creating again.
Truth be told, I'm not even finished most of the half-done pieces I'm making with stones. I will share them when I'm ready. But, I just couldn't keep this collaborative process to myself. I hope, if you are struggling with creativity, you too find someone/something to begin to collaborate with you. And don't be surprised if it is the thing you least expect.