Creative Sparks – and Embers By Linda Stiles Smith
What sparks your creativity? Do you need a bag of materials to play with? Do the sparks fly when you read the details of a challenge? Or can you launch into creative euphoria just at the mention of a word? Can you turn it on – and off – with little effort, or does it take a level of concentration that requires a block of time and a specific place? Does a visual cue sprout wings and become an artistic image in your mind?
On many days, a creative urge will overtake me at the slightest provocation. I drool over the shelves of materials in crafts stores and over the pages of new supplies in magazines. The tables and counters of my studio are flush with projects and the evidence of sparks of inspiration that I have yet to implement. They wave at me as I pass by on my way to the laundry room. These days, most of the time I have to put aside my artistic inclinations and concentrate on business and family needs while allowing my creativity to simmer.
Not so many years ago, a new material called silver metal clay was born from someone’s creative spark. This one kernel of inspiration has spawned a full-fledged firestorm of creativity around the globe. Today we are bombarded with articles, books and contests that demonstrate the ability of creative people to mold and manipulate ever newer materials – bronze clay, copper clay, glass clay, even steel clay – with the promise of more to come.
As time passes there are increasingly creative pieces produced with this fantastic material and I wonder, “Could there be anything more creative than the last one made?” I am humbled by the talent and raw determination of the many artists who have blossomed with this new medium. I was honored to be one of the judges for a recent competition and during the process the thought struck me, “What made the artist think of doing it that way?” Many people who would not or could not have worked with metals using traditional techniques find that metal clay has fueled their imaginations. With so many interesting and artistic things being made, how can you keep ahead of the flood and still create something unique? Should you try?
Here is my answer: S P A R K S.
S A spark never becomes anything unless it is shared. Share it with yourself, your friends, and your tribe. But pick it out of your brain and write it in your journal or sketchbook. Doesn’t matter what it is. It may not become anything, but it was a spark that made your brain say Oh! So share it.
P Your passion needs to be nurtured. Buy clay and make something. The fire to create comes from your passion to touch the material, envision the results, and fan that spark into a flame. I guarantee that there is no one else who has quite the same take on your passion as you do. It doesn’t have to be earth shatteringly different. You are unique, so your passion is unique to you. Enjoy it.
A Activate yourself! Read, research, practice, play, move, stir, make, work, process…..just plain do it.
R Repeat, redo, replay, return, restart, reactivate, re-nurture, re-…
K Kindle your imagination. If what sparks your creativity is a word, object, place, smell, or sensation, make it happen again. Every person has a creative spark. Not everyone knows how to use it. Take notice when you find yourself mumbling that you would do something just a little differently than the way it is presented. That is your creative spark. Blow on it!
S Sparks are embers that have been fanned. Ideas never go away completely; they will smolder and lie dormant for as long as you let them. Artists know this instinctively. Artists also know that the urge to create can become overwhelming at times and will burst into a flurry of activity that is not always directed or productive. By keeping a personal journal or sketchbook, you always will have access to your sparks.
Sharing your Passion Activates and ReKindles Sparks
Each time I see new and more creative uses of metal clay, I marvel at the artist’s imagination. It’s not easy to keep striving when such marvelous work is being done already. For me, at least, it’s also not possible to stop. As the metal clay world we have known for 14 years continues to evolve, maybe a few of those creative embers that have been lying dormant will be sparked to life by some new material or method. What fun!
Linda Stiles Smith is a Senior Certified Instructor for Art Clay World Inc. and she is also a Rio Rewards PMC certified instructor. She teaches all levels of metal clay classes in her studio in Dayton, Ohio. Linda holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree which includes a fellowship to Yale University School of Art. The best ruins of Linda’s experimentation in metal clay and polymer clay, as well as the unique tools she makes are available on her Etsy shop, https://www.etsy.com/shop/superfluityshop.