Clean! Ok I know this is a weird first step but if you’re like me then you can sometimes put off making art or getting creative because your work area might be a bit chaotic or messy. I like to set either a 5 or 10 minutes timer and speed clean my work station. Put materials in the right containers, put tools away, store completed projects (lol more like several half done projects), sweep the floor, etc. You won’t pick everything up but you’ll at least get some things out of the way and feel a lot better and more prepared to start.
Give yourself a warm up project. For me starting can be very intimidating sometimes. What if I mess up? What if this isn’t really the direction I want to go? Or sometimes my mind is totally BLANK. What did I want to make again? Work on something easy and allow yourself the space to purely create. Make it messy or crazy or weird but just go for it! These ribbon medals are a really fun project for that because they’re small but use so many different materials that I feel like it really gets my gears going. But the warm up project could be something totally different for you! Grab any and all writing utensils and do loose sketches layering highlighter and ink and pastels and pencil. Go through your recyclables and see what you can build from cereal boxes and paper towel tubes. Make aluminum foil sculptures. Chew a bunch of gum and make something from that. As you will learn in the next bullet everything is actually a craft supply waiting to be given new life.
If you’re new to crafting or creating I want you to try to eliminate preconceived ideas about objects. What I mean by that is I want you to try your best to stop thinking of an object as what it is typically used for and instead look at it for its characteristics. So let’s use aluminum foil as an example. When I say that you probably immediately think of baking but if you remove that function and start to describe what you see. You might say it’s easy to manipulate, it can hold a shape, it’s shiny, it’s thin and easy to cut. I used aluminum foil to create the base foundation for my bean eggs and ham hat for Mardi Gras. If you follow Rachel Burke on instagram then you know that she looooves her some aluminum foil. She makes jewelry out of it! She uses it to cover objects so that there’s a shiny layer underneath all of the gems she works with. Aluminum foil is just the beginning! I used a soccer ball to make a hanging planter, I used an old tire to make an ottoman, I used popsickle sticks to make wooden earrings. Ask yourself questions like is it durable, is it pliable, will it holds its shape, etc and then you can start to rethink what something could be used for.
Two is better than One. Cliche but so, so true! There was a point when I got myself into such a massive creative burnout that I never wanted to make anything again. I felt overwhelmed and uninspired and all the podcasts in the world didn’t seem like they were helping. What did help me get out of the rut was real in person conversations. I did a series where I interviewed all of my friends about their creative side hustle (click here to check them out) and got to ask them all about how they deal with burn out and where they get inspiration. Now on a day to day basis I’m no longer interviewing my friends BUT that moment really taught me how valuable talking about art and the creative process is. So now a part of my weekly routine is to have conversations with one of my friends about what I’m making, what they’re making, goals, ideas, what we saw on pinterest or instagram that inspired us. Those conversations fuel my creative fire more than I can explain. I strongly encourage you to do the same! This time to talk shop and bounce ideas off of each other is so valuable and just as important as creating itself.
Stay true to yourself. Omg do I sound like an inspirational poster or what? But seriously, when I was first going through the transition from making things for fun to making things to sell and market to other people I totally got caught up asking myself what are people going to buy. I started to think about trends and what I thought was popular and what I thought would be easy sellers like tote bags and zipper pouches and pennant banners. Friend, I hate making tote bags. But I made like 30 of them because I thought surely everybody loves a tote and so someone will buy it. I still have them 7 YEARS LATER. Make shit you love and you would want (because there might be a chance it will be yours if no one buys it). I honestly still get caught in this mindset pretty frequently because when you have a business you’re constantly thinking about sales and what can I do to make people want to support my business so that I can do stuff like pay rent. And while it would be lovely to have my business be a source of income, the reason I’m making things is because I love to create and that should be your reason too! Do it because it’s good for your soul. Art is an incredible form of therapy and accessible because it takes on so many different forms all you need is the desire to create.