I took a "break" from jewelry after the holidays. Mostly, I wanted to use the time to regroup and see what new ideas I could foster. In that time I did make a few things - some fun earrings, a couple of necklaces - but they were mostly for my own wear and an excuse to experiment with new materials and styles. I had set a time-line on when I was going to "get back to work" and was charged to get back into the routine.
I had organized my materials - believe me, with the amount of materials I have this is necessary - things are organized according to type and stored in a way that actually makes sense (previously, they were stored however best they fit). I sat down to make something new and exciting and .... nothing came. Nothing. It's part of the process to make something and then realise it didn't really work the way you thought it would; it's frustrating but I'm fine with it. This time, nothing came. I wasn't putting anything together. I had NO ideas. I consulted a couple of jewelry sites and beading magazines for inspiration. Nothing again. I went to bead stores and checked out some fashion magazines hoping that would help. Nope.
And then I panicked. I have timelines I'm working with. I have ideas for lines (themes, types, etc) that I'm anxious to experiment with, but there's nothing coming out. What happens if this doesn't go away? Am I done with making jewelry? After 20 years, is this it?
So I did the only thing I could. I stepped away. I started a new needlepoint, I thought about the clothing I want to make (I'm always full of ideas of things to make). I watched a couple of movies (Bollywood is generally the most visually stimulating genre) and listened to some music. Though not in my head the most productive use of time at least by stepping away I wasn't beating myself up.
Then I spoke with Ann. She always has useful advice in these situations. She told me about a call she just had with Martha Beck. During the call, Martha identified four different stages of starting a business. The third stage, she said, is always the hardest, always the point where people are ready to give up. The first stage is where the idea begins, the second part is the initial execution. And apparently the third stage is to be confused, jaded and slightly frustrated (my words, not hers). Oddly, that made me feel better; it's always nice to know you're not alone. What Martha recommends at stage three is to go right back to stage one, as unproductive as it sounds.
So I stayed there for a bit. I thought about how I would like to make clothing, wanted to sketch again, try some new knitting designs. I made many, many beaded daisy-chains (I have an idea for these, it's in the works) and continued on the needlepoint. All zero-productivity actions in my mind.
It worked. It may be the simple idea that I know I can step away if I'm frustrated. It may be that I was over-thinking. But a little patience with myself and I'm back on track.