Category Archives: creative block


I haven’t been feeling very creative lately. On top of all the usual economic woes and job seeking issues, my daughter has been deployed to Iraq. In the midst of learning to deal with being an Army mom my muse seems to have become very quiet. Not altogether silent but pretty danged hard to hear.
So, to work my way around this issue I’ve taken to sitting at my torch and practicing new techniques, or trying techniques that I’ve read about but not been shown.
I haven’t been able to spend as much time as usual at the torch but the latest technique I’ve been playing with has been hollow vessels. I was gifted with a 1/4″ hollow mandrel and, since I like to work small I got some 1/8″ tubing and made 3 more hollow mandrels of that size.
I’ve made about four different vessels so far and I’m enjoying the heck out of it. It’s like I can’t believe I’m making them, you know.
They certainly aren’t ready for selling yet but I will wear the first one I made. That one’s mine and no one else gets it. LOL
No pictures, yet. I want to make a couple more and then take pictures of all of them to show my progress and improvements. All except for the one I had to break off the mandrel because I wasn’t careful enough keeping the bead release all the way to the end of the mandrel. That’s a good lesson learned.
When I’m comfortable I want to make a few Christmas ornaments and then a few hollow globe pendants. The hollow globes are because my daughter sent me 2 carats worth of teeny tiny accent diamonds and I think it would be very cool to put five or six in a globe pendant. And of course, when I mentione my idea to my daughter, she wants one too. LOL


Hurry Up and Create, Dammit!

Have you ever felt that way? Last week I was faced with forcing myself to be creative and it was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do.

There is an art show I have attended with my mother every year for the past 17 years. It’s always been a dream of mine to be in the show but I never really felt my work was up to the task.

This year I decided I wanted to apply. I kept rolling the ideas around in my head. The show has many jewelry artists exhibiting and a few lampworkers so competition is tough. I knew I had to really come up with some “WOW” stuff to even be considered. My slides that have gotten me into shows in the past just didn’t seem good enough.

The closer the deadline came, the less creative I felt. It was so much pressure. Like a gun to my head with myself saying “Create Dammit!”. I kept procrastinating, allowing myself to be distracted by any little thing. It was not going well.

As the midnight deadline approached (last Friday) I was sitting at my kitchen table with a huge mess of beads, fibers, cords, wire, you name it, it was in the pile. I had made and taken apart countless ideas that just didn’t work out. I was mad, in tears, frustrated. I knew whatever it was I had to finish it, then take it downstairs and photograph it, then come back to the computer to resize it, then upload it to their site and submit my application.

Finally I got an idea with potential! I’ll bet a light bulb really appeared above my head. I started furiously braiding my cord, bending wire, stringing beads… then I got an idea for a matching bracelet. I was pushing it time wise (it was 10PM) but I could do it!

At 10:30 I raced downstairs and my husband was all set with the lights on and the camera ready to go. With a few quick clicks I was back at my computer resizing… wait a minute! There’s a hair right in the middle of it. Dog hair, cat hair, someone’s hair! Down the stairs again… re shoot the pictures. I can feel I’m running out of time. I’m panicking.

I made it back to the computer to resize again and click on the ‘submit’ button and the page just sits there… loading… forever it seemed. Suddenly I was kicked back to the main page and when I tried to resubmit my application I received the error message that the show was closed for entries.

I cried… and cried… and cried. I felt like I had run a marathon all day long and tripped 5 feet from the finish line. I was so frustrated, mad at myself for procrastinating, for not being more creative.

Before going to bed I decided to e-mail the show and just see if they might possibly accept any late entries. I know some will and you have to pay a higher application fee but at this point the site wasn’t even allowing any applications. So I put my whole story out there to this generic e-mail address and went to bed feeling defeated. I was hoping for the best but not expecting it.

I received an e-mail back two days later. She told me she would ‘try’ to reopen the application process later in the week, but no promises.

It’s too late to make this long story short but I’ll wrap it up… she DID reopen that section of the site and I was able to submit my application. Whether or not I’m chosen to be in the show, I’ll always remember how this set came to life and use it as a reminder. A reminder that procrastination is bad… a reminder that creativity isn’t forced, it flows… a reminder to never give up… and a reminder that if a door closes, find another one to open.

I hope reading this helps you all to remember those things too.

I named this ‘On My Horizon’…

On My Horizon

Staying inspired

This seems to be something that I always thought was just me–having trouble staying inspired but I realize it’s a pretty common thing to happen to us all.  How do you cope with it?

We have Mari’s beautiful website to go to.  We have Jennifer’s beautiful pictures to inspire us.  Do those kinds of things really work for you?  I don’t think they do for me.  I feel like I’m having a bad case of winter doldrums and just need spring to make me want to create again.  I thought seeing the sun finally would give a little kick in the tush, but it’s just seeing the sun.  Nothing more. 

This is the time of year when I feel very scattered creatively.  I usually have the pressure of needing to make a certain amount of jewelry for the California gallery but this year there isn’t that pressure.  He’s having a bad winter too.  I decided to try something different but it’s only making me frustrated.  So I joined a game on LE.  I have to make 4 food beads.  All I can think of is to make bagels.  LOL  Real creative, huh?  Brownish disk beads.  Maybe with a few dabs of frit on top to pretend to be sesame seeds or poppy seeds.  NOT.  I need a kick in the butt.

Now I just have to figure out what that kick is going to be. 

Passing on Inspiration

I thought it would be cool to do a photo essay of things around my house that inspire me. That way I can share them with everyone… until I can invite you all here to see it for yourself! My house is full of “stuff”. My husband likes to say of my design style that I can “never leave a flat surface alone”. It’s true in almost all things in my life. I’m definitely a maximalist, not a minimalist.

Bing Dual Face Urn

Bing Ceramic Urn. I love the haunting look on the faces. Faces are a common motif in the art I choose.

Ceramic Urn

I don’t remember the name of this artist and I can’t make out the signature. I’ve taken this to my studio many time to try to make a bead with the same design and color, not much success yet but it always takes me in an interesting direction.

My Kingdom for Some Chocolate

This is a painting by L. Martinique called “My Kingdom for Some Chocolate”. It hangs in my office.

Donna Burstein

This one is by Donna Burstein, it’s Untitled. I love the movement in it and her use of color. It hangs over our bed.

Sid Dickens

This is part of my Sid Dickens collection. I don’t buy them anymore but I still love the textures and messages.

Bing Again

This is another Bing, it hangs in our bedroom.

E.G. LaChance

This is one of two paintings I have by St. Louis painter, E.G. LaChance. It’s about 30″ x 30″.

E.G. LaChance Again

This is the other LaChance. I’m working on a set of beads inspired by this painting. I’m doing a bead like each square in the painting using soft glass and enamels. I still have quite a ways to go but when I’m stuck at the torch I do a couple of those and then I’m on track again.

Over the Cabinets

This is what’s on top of my kitchen cabinets. This sort of illustrates the “can’t leave a flat surface alone” comment. Some of it is kitschy, some of it is not but I love it all. I remember each thing, where it came from and what life was like at the time. That’s famed architect I.M. Pei on the urn. The harlequin plate on the left is part of a set of sushi plates made to match my wedding cake by a friend who is a potter.

The View 1

This is the current view from our bedroom deck. That’s Waubonsie Creek. Lots of nature out there for inspiration.

the other view

The view in the other direction. I saw a fox out there on that little “island” this morning but I was too slow with the camera.Moon Man

This guy is rather large, I think he’s 42″ in diameter. He hangs over my kitchen sink and he makes me smile.

I have a lot more but I’ll do the rest later.  Please excuse the poor photo quality, dust, cobwebs or anything else unsightly.  I hope you get some inspired ideas looking at these and I’d love to see someone else do this.  It was fun!

Ways to use your lampwork beads…

Greetings fellow beaders.  Well, if you’re anything like me, you may often get a creative block and become bored making the same ‘ol thing with your (or others) lampwork beads.  Here’s a quick make that is a wonderful gift for someone, or for yourself.  The best part is that you can add as many or less beads you want to.  I found these ribbon clamps at a general crafting store. Maybe Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  I try to make the bookmarks long enough for someone to use in a large book or a small paperback, but you can make them whatever size you want.  Remember, they’ll be hanging through a book, so you don’t want to weigh them down too heavily.   Run to the craft or fabric store (you know you want to) and walk directly to their sale bin… you can ALWAYS find pretty ribbons and things in the sale bin!  By simply attaching a couple of ribbon crimps to the ends of your cut ribbon, you give yourself a new opportunity to hang beads— and who doesn’t like that?  The possibilities are endless, especially now-a-days when the ribbon varieties are very creative and colorful.  There are dog bones and princesses, smiley faces and hearts, flowers and stripes.  A bookmark for every season, perhaps.  Here’s a pic, I think it’s pretty self explanitory.  Like I said, a quick gift is always needed, and a quick sale is even better.  These make awesome space fillers for shows!  Now go. Have fun!

Sleekbeads “Animalistic Bookmark”