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When Stash Speaks and What to Do When it Doesn’t: Overcoming and Frolicking with Creative Block

A Re-Purposed Silver Necklace makes the Perfect Purse Chain

Like many you, I have stash.  And, as my husband is an artist, he has stash, too.  It is very convenient.  As my projects and creations come together, sometimes they are missing that je ne sais quoi.  I go shopping at his studio.  The only worrisome bit, is that more and more of his stash seems to be moving into my studio lately.  Poses a bit of a storage issue, but it is good for the creative juices– and it’s mutual.  Lately, I have had some extremely successful foraging expeditions.  My recently completed Paisley Purse is the perfect marriage of new and old elements.  A beautiful Kravet wool/cotton paisley, luxurious creamy dupioni silk, a gorgeous purse frame with old world charm, and the piece de resistance, a thick vintage silver necklace I absconded with from hubby’s digs.  It positively sings as the re-purposed purse chain for this bag.  Satisfying through and through.

An old spring finds new life as a purse handle.

It seems my bag and purse making projects guiltily hoard the other creative juices and resources at our address.  Previously, another favorite purse project was equally successful due to not only my boy’s stash, but his eye as well.  My needle felted swirled bag spirals to perfection with a handle created from a spring the sweet guy contributed.   I doubt I could have come up with that on my own.  But having stuff, yes stash, around you opens up your eyes.  That and another’s set of eyes and perspective can allow you to see your work and its artistic need from a whole new point of view.

All this is well and good.  Really.  But sometimes, yes sometimes, your stash overwhelms, overtakes, and overall seems like such a discordant dust collecting mishmash that you feel no good could ever come from it.  Inspiration and projects are failing to matriculate from your head to reality and nothing  —  nothing!  — is of any use.  (At these times you are probably also finding that your overstuffed closet offers nothing for you to wear, either.)  Due to forces beyond your control, frustration builds and you feel there is no choice but to rid yourself of it all in one big house cleaning swoop with the intent of a clean slate.  Yet, I beg you.  Please reconsider.  There are steps you can take to reach mutually agreeable accord within your artistic self, your stash, and your sanity.  Creative block can be overcome.  Simple steps.  Easy steps.  Deep breathes.  And (insert favorite relaxing beverage here—coffee, tea, hot cocoa, wine) consumed by a fire.

First:  Stop!  Walk away.  Take a break.  If you are like me, you work constantly anyway.  No one is going reprimand you for going for a walk or out to lunch or whatever on a Wednesday afternoon.  Clear your head.  New ideas don’t happen in a pressure cooker.

Second:  This is the “working part” of “taking a break” (because after your brief reprieve your little workaholic self is panicking that you aren’t being productive):  go reproduce a tried and true pattern or product you already have in your collection.  Do paperwork, social media, whatever.  Catch up on all the not so much fun stuff that goes along with this crazy business, so at least you feel like you did something.  And, honestly, it will probably really help your business anyway.  It’s castor oil, baby.

Third:  This, I kid you not.  GET MORE STASH.  Being fiscally responsible is all well and good.  Frankly, I encourage it.  But stash can be derived from so many things and places.  Make it work.  Old stash meets new stash and all kinds of illicit liaisons can happen.

Fourth:  When all else fails.  Go make cookies.  It soothes a myriad of creative ills, and as I’ve said before, frankly, I think cookies could save the world.

Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut Cherry. Don't you feel better already?

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