Get outside! There is probably nothing that fills my creative well quite like nature and the beauty of God’s creation. I love to take walks in my neighborhood – we have a lot of beautiful trees that are all turning colors right now so it is especially inspiring! Just getting out of the house ( I work at home) and in the fresh air is so good, even if it is just for 15 minutes or so. I always come back feeling at least a little refreshed and usually return with a handful of leaves, a fallen branch or some other foraged find that can inspire a new piece of art or a new idea.
Never stop learning! I love to learn new things and new techniques that I can incorporate into our designs. For me, I know that I can sometimes fall into a rut and so learning or discovering something new, be it a new painting technique, a new way to braid ribbon for a styling detail, or just a completely new hobby that keeps you fresh and piques your creativity is always a good thing! I have really been wanting to learn about dyeing fabric naturally and incorporating that as a detail in our products and packaging in new ways.
Look outside your industry for inspiration! I love to find inspiration in other places than in my own industry. Fashion, textiles, interior design, textures, nature, anything that has an artistic element to it but is not lettering + illustration. It is all too easy to get caught up in the comparison game when you are looking at others who do what you do – I have certainly been guilty of that! When I look to other places I get inspired by the feelings that those things evoke in me and it sets me up to create my own original work rather than imitations of another’s inspiration.
Unplug! I feel like i am almost constantly staring at some sort of screen. E-mails, work, blogs, Instagram, social media, reading, texting, television – it just doesn’t seem to stop sometimes! I am sure that a lot of you, if not all of you, can relate to this feeling! While none of these things are bad – in fact they can all be good things - sometimes what I really need is to take some time away from those little backlit rectangles! When is the last time that you took a break – even just for an afternoon or weekend? Don’t worry about what you are missing – pay attention to all of things that you are missing when you are plugged in!
Find community with other creatives! Have you heard the saying that creativity sparks creativity? I believe that! For any of you who have been to The School of Styling, you have experienced this firsthand! Get a group of like-minded creative ladies together and they will probably all leave feeling even more inspired. I especially love the community over competition movement that is going on right now. I have found a great community of fellow creatives both locally here in Portland and also virtually across the country and I cannot recommend this highly enough. Having that group of friends that you can get together with, brainstorm and create together is so good and so important to staying fresh and inspiring each other!
Slow down! Lately it seems like everyone is constantly on the go and busy almost all of the time. Truthfully I do not love this pace; my creativity is never at its best under pressure neither do I feel my most inspired when stretched so thin. I crave calmness. Now for those of you who thrive under pressure, and I know that there are some of you who do – you can ignore this one! When I am overworked and overcommitted I am rarely able to do my best work and be happy. Try as much as you can to make time to rest and be refueled. Sometimes that may mean saying no to a project, but isn’t that better than saying yes and not doing your best work? Constantly running ourselves ragged trying to keep up can lead to burn-out. Yes, there are seasons and times that will be busy but taking even a small break or a single day off to clear your mind and recharge is so good!