I’M ANGIE AND I’M THE ONE BEHIND SOFT AND STICKY. SOFT AND STICKY IS A JEWELRY [AND TO BE SMALL OBJECTS] LINE THAT BEGAN AS MY NEED FOR CREATIVE RECOVERY. WITH NO INITIAL EXPERIENCE IN JEWELRY AT THE TIME, I TOOK ON A NEW MEDIUM TO FIND THE JOY IN ART AGAIN.
When I started my career as a designer, I found myself in a cycle of tug of war between logic and feelings. Feeling burnt out, tired, and uncreative, I wanted to find how I could make the kind of work I wanted to make for the sake of fun again.
People don’t talk about how much you have to step inward first, so these are some ways that helped me exercise a more playful and compassionate way of thinking to recover that part of my inner artist.
Let go of control and expectation
Allow yourself the compassion to not always do things perfectly. Let go of any expectation [temporarily if you can] and detach yourself from the result because perfectionism only prevents you from showing up.
Make something, share it with the world, file it away, throw it in the trash because it turned out like trash, or burn it.
Then open a window or your front door and scream “YES, I DID IT!!!!!” without any shame. Whether you really like the result or not, starting something new that you may or may not be good at is something to scream for.
Play is explorative. Focus on the joy of having fun and less on how it ‘should’ and ‘must’ be.
Retrain your way of thinking that not everything has to be a means to an end. You can make messes like accidentally stomping on a tube of opened paint on a beige carpet or impulsively buying 20 stamps and an expensive cutting tool that you have not used more than 5 times [that happened] and that’s ok.
When we play without any goal, purpose, or problem-solving in mind, the value of play precisely shows itself - to play for the sake of it, because you want to. And it’s so freeing.
Study the people you admire, and also those you don’t as well
Let go of judgment, and expand the type of content you consume. Consume work from all mediums - fine art, music, film, fashion, literature, architecture, culinary. Let go of what “good work” and “bad work” mean to you.
Ideas are more interesting than the end result. Let yourself be open to learn and respect the artist and the insight behind ideas over your initial [subjective] opinion of the work.
Find a box, then collect physical things that inspire you
Get a box, or make a box. And start collecting trinkets and things that inspire you. Open this box, look at and touch these items once in a while.
The tactile touch of material is unlike any saved digital bookmark or Pinterest board.
Some feelings never come back, so you have to put them out in the world
Like looking back on an old journal that you don’t remember writing when feelings are forgotten, it’s a lot more difficult to find again.
Document your feelings and thoughts while you’re working on a project and after as well. Share it or keep it to yourself - but that documentation allows you to sort out things that may sometimes be unconscious to you. It might not make sense at the moment, but it may give context to your work when you revisit it. And context gives meaning.
Sometimes I find it hard to do precisely this, so if you want to read more about why talking about your work is so difficult and how you can practice being more comfortable with it, I’ve written a post called “Why talking about your creative work is so difficult” on www.softandsticky.com.
What are some ways that help you stay creative? Let us know in the comments below and share photos of how you stay creative with us by tagging us @itsmaryyoung.