The cray-cray of creativity

Updated: Aug 12


Nancy Marland Jewelry creative process
A combination of old and new ideas in silver.
Nancy Marland Jewelry creative process.
A page out of my sketch pad. I need to make one of these!

Inspiration is often like a feather in the wind. If you don't capture it in the moment, with a sketch pad at the ready, you might lose hold of it. It's been especially elusive for me over the past year. No surprise there, right? With so many fits and starts and not as much traction as I would like, it's been a bit cray-cray. I know, "cray-cray" is that term that came and went about 5 years ago, but I just couldn't resist the alliteration for the title. :-)


I will admit the efforts haven't been completely fruitless. Even with the procrastination and the distractions, the hours of noodling and doodling, I think I'm getting somewhere. Not sure exactly where yet, but I feel it happening. And I do have to remind myself that in the midst of 2020 I did create ModPod, which has been a fun and successful collection.


This image of the silver is a loose example of the current process. What you see here is a mix of old and new work. I've been developing metal sheets of groove patterns with the plan to cut out shapes and maybe add a bezel, or mix it up with my Bebop bezels, or add a line element in the form of silver wire—it hasn't quite landed yet. Creativity is an endless work in progress.


I've been taking classes, learning some new jewelry techniques (Keum Boo with Paulette Werger) and deepening some more familiar techniques (translucent polymer techniques with the amazing Kathleen Dustin), both were fantastic and so inspiring because both of these artists have developed such strong and unique voices in their mediums. I'm also taking ceramics again because that's a place where I can be loose and messy with clay and let go of any major expectations (as much as any Virgo can).

Nancy Marland Jewelry creative process
A large wavy coil pot I just finished in my ceramics class.

Kathleen suggested a small book called Steal Like an Artist, written by Austin Kleon. It is generously peppered with great wisdom for anyone looking to loosen up their creativity, so much of it really resonates with me. It reminds us all that nothing is new under the sun, that stealing is OK, and actually preferred to borrowing because there are huge and important differences between stealing and plagiarizing. One page that I truly appreciated seeing in the book is The Life of the Project. Can you relate?

Anyway, it's a meandering, a searching, a not-for-the-feint-of-heart journey. At the end of the day, this little blue-eyed beauty in the box helps keep me sane...