Sunday, August 22, 2010


(In which she thieves the excellent advice of Bead Maven, Mikki Ferrugiaro, with a completely clean conscience and passes the advice on to you!)

Rule: When critically stuck, bogged, blocked and creatively brain-dead, do NOT under any circumstances look at bead work, saith The Mikki.

There comes a time in the lives of designers (any medium) when the flow of inspiration dries to a trickle and then stops. Or at least that happens in the life of this particular designer. It's not that Brenda, my Muse, has gone AWOL (although she is prone to doing whatever the hell she likes) - It's plain, ordinary, exhaustion. The dark side of the Superwoman syndrome. All work and no recreation or rest for a very long time.

I hit the wall about a month ago. With my face.

There's a lot of daytime TV in the vicinity of the wall. I developed the habit of watching strangely afflicted people on "reality" TV and I hate reality TV.   I would wonder, in a kind of half-hearted way, about my odd behavioral changes and then, because wondering was an effort, I would shamble into the kitchen for potato chips and cake to keep my energy up. It wasn't pretty. Or slimming. And I left the cake plate in the sink, unwashed.

Of course, there were fitful, doomed efforts to goad Brenda the Dysfunctional Muse into producing at least a glimmer of artistic ambition. I had a September deadline for a gallery show. I turned to my stack of beading magazines and books and spent hours imploring Brenda to look at 500 Beaded Objects and back issues of Bead & Button with me. Brenda wasn't having it. In the end, as Mikki later pointed out to me, the only conclusion I could possibly draw was that everything has been done. At least twice and by more talented people than me.

I fell back into the television during an episode of reality TV concerning a woman with a chalk-eating addiction.

Fortunately, Mikki dropped an email my way before I succumbed to the urge to take my Etsy shop off vacation mode and set up selling every last bead and finding I owned.  Instead, I shamelessly wailed my plight out. Apparently (although she seems to create with blinding speed and steady enthusiasm), Mikki has been to the wall, herself.

Her advice was to look at the new runway fashions or to watch a movie set in Victorian times.
To do anything, anything but look at beadwork. And suddenly I remembered that my best inspirations have never come from looking at actual beadwork - but from Fiber magazines, pictures of flowers, patterns in shadows, ceramics, paintings, wearable art clothing, books of wallpaper samples. Random sources that range from National Geographic to Popular Mechanics, basically.

Dress by LeMuse on Etsy

So I did. And I have a plan! And I have just enough time to make my September 15th deadline for the Wearable Art show at The Moorings. I'm doing a neckpiece that would work with any of the pieces shown here.

Take it from Mikki and me - When tempted to burn your beads, put the beading magazine down!

And by the way, life is nicer when you stop long enough to smell the roses or make sure you have clean underwear.


Mikki said...

Well, dear, I knew there was no way you'd wrung out your last design.....things get dry in the sun and it's time to splash around in the fountain again.

And....we're friends, we don't steal, we share!

NEDbeads said...

Oh my. Yes indeed!!!!! The magazines and books just make it so much worse!!!! And I thought the exact same Now, I am just DYING to see the design that goes with these gorgeous outfits (although the crotchless pants there are interesting...)

Thank God Brenda got up off her butt!!!! (Or back from the bar.)

LLJones said...

Mikki...For a while I really thought I might be in for a 10 year dry spell. And thanks for "share."
Ned...Brenda has an unfortunate liking for sailors and gin. We get the Muse we get, I guess :)

Roberta said...

Imagine, if you will, being new to beading as I am. Everyone is better than me. Sometimes I ask myself, what am I doing trying to learn yet another new jewelry making skill. Shouldn't I just stick to the old tried and true. There are so many others (like yourself) who have been beading for many years. You are all experts. And then I realize. I can't stop. I don't want to stop. Just keep swimming. Your muse will be back just when you least expect her.

LLJones said...

Roberta - you're going great guns from what I can see...those shapes are tough to learn! And think what you can do, combining techniques! You go, girl! Obviously YOUR muse is fully engaged! And PS - Mikki has been beading for two years. Two little years!

Belinda Saville said...

Linda, you are one of those personalities in the beading world who has always inspired me. Your cuff project was in one of the very first beading magazines I ever bought (I've been beading for two and a half years), and I was instantly attracted to your impeccable design sense and wickedly funny and self-deprecating bio :-) Your cuffs are still unlike anything I have ever seen, so vibrant and full of energy. Brenda has still got it in her...she obviously just needed a vacation.

Btw, did you ever find out what happened to the woman with the chalk-eating addiction? ;-) heh


LLJones said...

Belinda - thanks for the vote of confidence in Brenda. She is not immune to flattery, our Brenda (or Vodka). She's had a lovely vacation and is now showing up, time to time. And the girl who ate chalk went to therapy...and then continued to eat chalk. It was amazing to watch someone crunch away...and she also liked drinking laundry detergent, but swore off because of the health risks. LOL.

Roberta said...

Mikki? 2 years? Ok. I have hope now!

PS. Maybe your muse is so excited about retiring, she is waiting until THE DAY. Or did the day come already and she is still recovering?

LLJones said...

Yep. 2 years. Mind you, she's a genius...but lots of people pick up fast and you seem to be speeding along. Brenda & me are working on a major necklace. She's a little worse for the vacation time...a tad sluggish, you might say. So I've had to rip out quite a few inches of peyote strap. But I think we've got it together now.

Gypsy said...

Ahhh, but I LIKE looking at bead mags when I am stuck...I just leave my glasses off and get drunk on the color LOL! Aryd'ell

LLJones said...

That's medium-stuck for me. Completely at the wall, it stops working. But let it be said that in all but the most dire circumstances, I love my magazines and books - and normally, they are a boost!

beadbabe49 said...

hey linda! glad to hear your muse has returned in time for your gallery deadline! You know I love, love, love your work and always have, so I'd be crushed if you gave it up!

tinybeads2004 said...

Linda, total sympathy! and the advice from The Mikki about NOT looking at beadwork or bead magazines is right on target. I get overwhelmed by the obvious superiority of everyone around me and my muse slinks off into a corner and hides. Mikki is right - go to places, look at things that provide inspiration for oneself, then start again. thanks so much for this blog post.
best, Mary

LLJones said...

Same back at you, BB!
and Mary...that "I get overwhelmed by the obvious superiority" thing is pretty common. Apparently it happens to the absolute genius's as well. Go figure. Is there anything more prone to bouts of insecurity than artists? I think not.

Rita alias alatvian said...

Thank you so very much for these posts on your blog Linda!

Can't wait to see the next!

Eva Maria Keiser said...

Linda, this is a super blog, good read and of course your works are very inspiring! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself!