Struggling with Creativity

January 17, 2015 , In: Clay, General, Polymer Clay, Studio

Happy New Year everyone! Is it still okay to say that, now that it’s 17 days into the new year?!… it just felt wrong not to since this my first post of the new year. I do hope you each had a most wonderful holiday!
The beginnings of a shop restock.
I’m now about two weeks back from a very short, but much needed break over the Christmas holiday and things are once again starting to look much like they always do: I’m packing molds and shaping fine details on dozens of beads, and next week I’ll be starting my first paint batch. One of my very favorite things! Here’s a bit more of what’s taking shape on my work table right now…
If you would like to know what I did during my break, the answer is simple: I made things! In other words, I swapped out bead making for other kinds of making. I made pies, cookies, and my mom and I spent many hours in the kitchen preparing all the other homemade goodies my family loves. I do love to bake! And then I made a few gifts—jewelry, a vase (I was still working on it on Christmas morning!) and some little tiny plant pots. And I started another couple gifts that weren’t finished in time and had to be given as work-in-progress gifts. Have I convinced you that I really have no clue how to take a real vacation?
This was my work table 3 days before Christmas! You would have never guessed I wasn’t making beads.
My heart is so very happy when I’m creating, especially if it’s something special for someone I love. And I truly believe that what talents I have are a gift meant to be used and shared. So anyhoo… when Caroline asked us all about our goals for the new year, I came to the full realization that I really didn’t have much planned. I had been pondering things for the past few months and even though there are so many things I want to do, there was nothing really solid, and it finally hit me hard.
A little tiny air plant pot! I made three of these little guys.
What I’ve realized most, is just how much my creativity has consumed me—filling up every last moment of my days. I joke that if I’m not working, I’m working: it’s either my day job or my studio job, but I’m always working. I actually feel sad that some of it kept me so busy that I missed out on time with my family and friends. It’s no longer a hobby, but a second job. One that I do love, for sure! I mean, who can complain about doing something that has been a life long dream? But when you miss out on the simple things like dinner and movie night with family. every. single. time. It’s time to step back and rethink things.
This vase, for my mom, was my Christmas morning project. I finished just in time to open gifs… actually gift opening was delayed on my behalf. 🙂
I do have a very good excuse for being so late: the gift I purchased for her arrived late and was not quite what I had expected. Handmade gifts win every time!
I know some of you might ask why I am complaining at my success. But no, it’s not that at all! I’m overjoyed and am so very thankful for each and every success that comes my way. It’s not at all success that I am struggling with, but how to rein in my creativity. Just a little bit.
It’s the struggle on how to feel okay about a particular bead being sold out for a few weeks while I fiddle with new ideas that might come to nothing. Or when to clean up and turn out the lights in my studio early some nights. Or even for a weekend. It’s about the struggle on how to handle not doing it all, all the time. For a person who thrives on organization, schedules, and lists it’s an alarming thing to discover just how unorganized I’ve become! Take for example me editing this post at 2:58am because I was too busy making beads earlier. See what I mean?
I always laugh when someone who doesn’t understand what I do comments on how nice it must be to work for myself, because it means I can take breaks whenever I want and do what I want… really!? That certainly wasn’t in my business manual.
Does this all mean that I’m burnt out or should take a long vacation? Not yet and no. I think there will probably always be beads coming from Tree Wings Studio. I am often exhausted, but know I’m not burnt out when new ideas are constantly flooding into my mind. Yes—what about all the new beads that I hint at every so often? I do want to finally make them!
I really can make new beads, if I make the time for them—nothing quite like a Secret Santa gift swap to push me to create something brand new!
So, for this year, my one and only true goal is to live life just a little bit more, to stop working so hard, to actually stop creating all the time… to breath a little and relax, and be inspired by more quiet time and time with family. I hope that this will in turn fuel my determination to work more efficiently. I think it may prove harder than any other goal I’ve ever set…
Okay, now it’s your turn! Do you ever struggle with too much creativity? Does it ever get in the way of other things you love doing? Or maybe you have found that happy balance? Do share!
Rebekah Payne

Rebekah Payne

Rebekah Payne is the designer and creator behind Tree Wings Studio. What started out as just a few beads for her own jewelry creations quickly grew into more than a hobby and she now spends every spare moment busy in her studio crafting beads for jewelry designers around the world… and the occasional piece of jewelry for herself. She loves fine details, rustic charm, earthy hues, and all things textural. These days her medium of choice is polymer clay, but she also dabbles in wire-working and uses various fibers and leather.
  1. Reply

    You are very talented. I love your beads. I too had a finish the Christmas present morning a few Christmas' ago. I spent almost six months making presents and still wasn't finished. This year I made very little.

    • Reply

      Glad to hear I'm not the only one! A gift with a good story behind its making is always special! I don't think I'll ever get away from making gifts, but I will try to plan better, for sure. This last year I did put a bit more of that task on other some talented artists and bought a few lovely things from Etsy artists.Thank you Gigi!

  2. Reply

    Oh, my goodness, you posted this at 3:20 a.m. You WEREN'T kidding about long days.

    Thank you for your generous sharing of your processes. The pictures WERE worth 1000 words.

    I am crazy about translucent clay and I hate sanding. An inherent conflict if there ever is one. I struggle to develop products that use trans clay but need minimal sanding. And I have found a few.

    I have about "a cup" of gorgeous, gently-marbled, thin, flat rectangles for earrings that I keep beside my stove and sand when there is a moment's pause in cooking attention. They are beautiful and will be even more beautiful but….never again.

    • Reply

      Haha! yes, my middle name is very often "long days"! I've gone from a morning person to become quite a night owl, actually… the only problem is when I'm required to be up early the next morning. I'm with you on sanding, I detest it and try to avoid it all costs! But there are some things that aren't perfect without it. What a good idea to work on them gradually when the moment allows it—I really think that would help make it more bearable. They will be lovely earrings, I'm sure. Glad you enjoyed my post! 🙂

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    Oh I can so relate to this! Never enough time to get my ideas out of my head and executed. Not wanting to go out with people because it means time away from the studio. Burning the midnight oil. My health sometimes suffers as a result. But I still love it and wouldn't have it any other way. This article talks about our delimma, about how our social life suffers… http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-creative-people-say-no-2015-1.

    • Reply

      Yes, yes, and yes! It's truly exhausting. And I find when my hands are "quiet" my mind is busily creating so many things… sometimes I feel like I could burst with ideas, and sadly there is never enough time. Such is the life of an artist… there's no escape. And no, I could never give it up entirely! I'm saving that article to read later tonight. Thank you Karen!

  4. Reply

    I frequently defer other things I want and need to be doing to creating. And I don't make even a fraction of what you make. I also would like to find a bit more balance because I know that will actually make my creative time more satisfying rather than a bit tinged with guilt.

    • Reply

      I know that feeling of guilt too. Perhaps we can both find our balance this year. 🙂 That would make it a successful year to me!

      …I hope to bring the butterfly wings to my shop very soon… the plan is after I finish this re-stocking. 🙂

  5. Reply

    I was nodding my head all the way through your post, I'm struggling to find a balance as well. Good luck with it, it's one of my goals for the year too!

  6. Reply

    P.S. – I came back to look at the leather butterfly wings again. They are gorgeous!

  7. Reply

    I do think it's important to take a little time for yourself, your family, your friends.. . even if it gets in the way of your creating sometimes. Making those connections will truly fill your heart and soul and make you even more creative. Here's hoping you find that balance!! Happy New Year~ 🙂

    • Reply

      Thank you Hope! 🙂 I do hope so too! It warms my heart to know that others understand my struggles. A Happy New Year to you too!

  8. Reply

    Yes, you are not alone and I wish I had some magical advice to give. I don't know how some people do it (maybe they are actually vampires and don't have to sleep?) I run late in getting ready for my day job all the time because I want just a few more minutes to work on this or that. The time I spend creating goes by so fast too. My husband told me just last night "I give in, the clay has won!" I feel so guilty about that but I am driven to do more, make more, learn more.

    I hope you're able to find the balance you seek and enjoy your family and friends more this year. I love the Secret Santa beads you made!!

    • Reply

      Oh yes! I'm so often working up until that very moment that I must be ready for work! I'm always amazed when I look up at the time and realize that I've been working for few hours when it feels like I only started!

      Here's to balance for us both… or a cure for sleep! lol Thank you Cory!

  9. Reply

    It really is hard to find balance between work and family and fun. They are are so interconnected sometimes..need to work to pay bills and keep family fed, clothed, and to pay for the fun…and more work to keep the house clean, dogs clean!..and round we go. I totally understand. I hope somebody figures it all out one day? Anyway…I love love the little pots and that BEAUTIFUL vase! I need to check out your leather butterflies, too!

    • Reply

      Yes, and around… and around… It is all so interconnected! I find I almost always have a good reason for what I'm doing at the moment, but somehow I need to find a way to do just a tiny bit less, if that's at all possible. I just hope that whomever finds the answer first will share it with all of us right away!! Thank you Carol! (Lady says "hi"… she's adorably fluffy (and dirty!) in her winter coat right now 🙂

  10. Reply

    I constantly have ideas and want to work, but I'm at a stage in life where my family keeps me in check. My husband needs me to spend time with him and protests when I don't. My daughter ignores me for the most part now (she's 13. Ahem) but she still needs me to be there for her to talk to…usually at the most inconvenient times. Also, I drive about 1000 miles a week getting her to and from places she needs to go. My studio time suffers as a result. Sometimes I think in terms of "If I hadn't wasted my time doing _______, I could have been in the studio instead." And get really frustrated. But I do what I can when I can.

  11. Reply

    Well time runs out often for me, I too am a very late night person which sees me up usually catching up on blogging, etc. into the early hours but after having a large part of last year off due to my Mum and daughters ill health my time for creating has suffered immensely. I now find myself itching to get back to work at my torch, I am determined to fulfill that goal imminently!!! But finding a balance between making, working and family life has always and will always be a challenge. I really don't think there is an easy answer to that problem.

    Just do what is right for you but sometimes stop, take some timeout to be with your family, as children grow up fast and in a blink of an eye, they have up and left home and partners can become ill and you have missed precise time together that cannot be replaced.

    Well that is my philosophy for this year! I have so many things I want to try out, my list is long but it doesn't matter how long it takes to get through them I will take timeout for my family too.

    I love all your new makes Rebekah, have fun and don't be up too late, enjoy family time too. The butterfly wings and rose stamped beads are stunning.

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