Overcoming Creative Blocks – Tips for Polymer Clay Artists

Polymer Clay Trumpet Flower Beads

Things You Can Do To Prevent Artistic Dry Spells From Getting The Better Of You:

Do you ever experience creative blocks? Or find yourself in need of inspiration but, are unsure where your ‘artistic muse’ is hiding?

I am often surprised to hear people say they have trouble with creativity. A lack of inspiration is almost a foreign concept to me. In fact, most of the time my brain is so filled with ideas that it can be overwhelming.

In the past I’ve thought about getting a job in one of those ‘think tanks’ where you get paid to sit around in a room, throwing out ideas to people in white lab coats… behind one-way mirrors… frantically taking notes. You know… like in the movies. Not really sure if those kinds of places are for real, or if I’m just letting my imagination run wild again :)

Anyway, although I rarely experience creative dry spells, I do know that it is a problem for some. However, these creative blocks are temporary. And there are ways to find inspiration again. Even if your muse has been in hiding for awhile.

Here are some of things to try when you get stuck for ideas:

  • Go for a walk. Fresh air and a change of environment can be very inspiring. Look carefully at the stuff that surrounds you. Does that sky look like a lovely teardrop blend to you?
  • Limit your choices. Sometimes there are just too many ideas and you may not know where to start. Try restricting yourself to only one polymer clay palette of 4 colors… and see what you can make with those.
  • Try a different technique. Maybe you’ve made too many round beads and your brain just can’t handle the boredom. So it quit for a bit. If you always do mokume gane, try your hand at caning. If sculpting beads is your thing, try painting some instead. You can always go back to your favorite techniques again later on. But trying something new may give your old stuff new life.
  • Change the music you’re listening to. If you always listen to classical, try listening to rock. If you are always listening to something low key and relaxing, something high energy could be the thing you need. Music is a great stimulus and a change of pace could spark some new energy into your work.
  • Introduce a new material to your work. The other day I decided to try my hand at combining some scrapbook embellishments I had won from a Tim Holtz contest, with some of my polymer clay techniques. Well it wasn’t long before I ended up creating a pretty cool number jewelry necklace, that I would not have come up with otherwise.

Where do you turn to when you feel stuck creatively? Do you read books… go online… go outside… listen to music? What seems to work for you?

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Karrah S, 28 March, 2009

    Personally, I love to sit down and go through all of the things I’ve already made. They make me feel like I’m really creative and actually inspire me to do something different. I enjoy looking back on canes that I did 3 months ago, and think about what kind of beads those would look good as.. I also love looking through my boxes of non-handmade beads for colors and palettes that would be perfectly complimented by something I could make.

    And then there’s this website.. It never fails that you have a tutorial or a blog on something that I’d be really interested about or inspired by. Thank you for your dedication to this site! I love it.

    Karrah Steffey

  2. Faith, 28 March, 2009

    What always helps me get inspiration is to go to the used book store and look at art books. Or even easier, use google images and just google random things, looking for ideas. Looking at pictures of clothing often helps me come up with things, as I usually make a certain piece to match a certain style or outfit.

  3. Debi, 29 March, 2009

    When I get stuck for ideas, I pick up a fashion magazine every now and then. I look at the clothes, jewelry, color of each and the trends in color for the seasons. I keep folders with pages I tear out when something catches my eye.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 30 March, 2009

    @Karrah: Thank you so much for your kind words! I love your idea for going through your own beads and canes for inspiration as well as your collection of other beads!

    @Faith: Fashion is a great place to look for inspiration! This is especially true if you plan to sell your work. It is always good to have pieces that will go with the current trends! Thanks for your comment!

    @Debi: That is excellent advice! Magazines are great places to get ideas for your beads. Thanks!

  5. Cassandra, 16 April, 2009

    Cindy, last year you had a beautiful japanese style flower pin posted on your blog. I have looked for this beautiful flower and I have been unable to find a flower so pretty. Does this artist sell her work, or tutorials. I would love to learn how to make that pin.
    In advance thanks

  6. Cindy Lietz, 16 April, 2009

    The polymer clay artist you are referring to is Elaine Robitaille of Too Aquarius. The flower pendant was inspired by a Japanese fabric art called Tsumami Kanzashi.

    If you click the link by my name you will go back to the post where you originally saw it. There is a link in the post where you can contact Elaine directly. Tell her I sent ya :)

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