It’s been raining like crazy and I’m in a bad mood.
I’ve been putting off everything: patternmaking, designing, class prepping, blogging. I’m reminded by a quote (and you’ll have to forgive me for quoting someone so overused) by Picasso, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I hate him for saying that. Why can’t it find me drinking a martini and hanging out with my friends? Why can’t it show it up when I’m dangling a feather in front of my cat? Why can’t it come when I’m daydreaming?
I can be the worst at relying on feeling inspired in order get work done. Luckily, I’m inspired by basically everything so this doesn’t happen a lot. But since the summer has started, and the structure of a semester isn’t driving me, I feel like I’m suspended in Jell-O, weightless, still, and a little paralyzed.
I had the teeniest amount of super low pressure designing to do and by the time I convinced myself to do it, I had built it up into this huge thing. I did things, unspeakable things, that I HATE doing, like folding all the linens in the house and cleaning, before I sat down to design. That’s how bad it was. WHAT’S MY PROBLEM??!!
I’ll tell you. And then I’ll tell you what I did to fix it.
My first problem was that I wasn’t using any of my tricks, or techniques. My second problem was that I didn’t realize that I have everything at this very moment to be creative. I don’t need a super clean studio, linens folded, or even inspiration to create. I don’t need to be “ready.” I need a piece of paper and a pen. Like the Hopi saying goes, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
The first solution was from someone very smart and who’s in the very same room as me. He told me to please shut up and just work for 10 minutes. No more, no less. And that’s what I did. And after ten simple minutes, I had some work.
I tell my students, “No secret drawings!” when they don’t present all their designs. (If you needed another random reference, I got the idea from Jack Black in “The School of Rock” where a kid is hiding his little song from the rest of the band.) So my second solution was that I put the agony out there and shared it with others. It’s rarely as bad as you think and good fellow designers will often be able to lighten the mood, finish it up, and add the single detail to make a collection cohesive.
So let me finish this on a personal note. I’m often brought back to designing by my students, who remind me of my own lessons and keep me in shape. Here are some mood boards they created in various ways: Pinterest, Photoshopping, google image searches, Polyvore, Behance, Creative Commons and good old fashioned magazine collaging. I hope they perk you up on these gray days.