Spring is always a busy time of year for me and for any artist gearing up for summer shows and the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival. In the best case scenario, us artist types are inspired by the upcoming shows and are working hard creating our best work. But being an artist is an extremely challenging job, and finding inspiration can often be the most difficult aspect of our work.
I realized a long time ago that I am at my very happiest when my work is going well, and I'm at my lowest when my work is not going well, which usually translates into a lack of inspiration. Earlier this year I went through a few months of absolutely hating my work, and resisting the work that needs to be done on my production pieces, which pay the bills. While I was wallowing in my dark little place, I kept returning again and again to thoughts about what it means to be inspired, how you get inspired, and why inspiration is so elusive. I believe that one simply cannot be inspired to create all the time. In fact, it is essential to go through unproductive periods so your creative "well" can be replenished and you can fight your way back to that happy, inspired, productive place.
Still, knowing all of these things doesn't make the dry, uninspired periods any easier to suffer through. And there is no cure, other than to just get through it. Finally, after weeks of dragging around, I lit on an idea that made me excited to get into the studio, and I've been happily cooking along since. Here are a couple of things I came away with from this experience:
- It's okay and normal to be uninspired at times, and being angry at yourself about it is a waste of energy.
- Taking time away from the studio when things are not going well in there is a good thing.
- Complaining to yourself and others about how uninspired you are is not helpful; doing something completely different with your creative energy is. (I took an 8-week writing class and a paper cutting workshop.)