Artist Block

Have you ever had a time when no matter what you did, your creativity seemed to have flown out the window? Since I moved my studio and got settled in, I can’t seem to get myself moving again, creatively. It’s really weird. This is nothing like me.

I’m the person who usually has four different projects going at one time and a bunch more rolling around in my head just waiting for their time to jump on my table and become a reality. I’m usually much more ADD–moving from project to project as inspiration moves me, tiling as many projects as possible before I force myself to grout them and get them finished.

I’ve tried the usual creativity jump start activities. I’ve purchased more stained glass scraps. I even sorted through them and picked out the colors that caught my fancy. I went to an artisan tile studio in NE Minneapolis and picked through their tile seconds, again choosing the colors I like best. Both are spread out across my table.

I’ve played with color schemes and arrangements. I have a special request project to start…but can’t seem to get myself revved up enough to do it. I’ve tried sitting at my table and just playing. I went curbsiding with a friend and found a really cool pedestal base that I can mosaic.

I discovered what I think I want to do to the tesserae for my female figure garden art, but I have to collect the blue bottles…and hopefully, slump little chunks of glass in a kiln so the edges are soft and melty rather than sharp, but I haven’t made any forward steps on it.

But I can’t seem to get the creativity to flow. I look at my beautifully arranged studio–so much more organized and effectively laid out than it’s ever been before. I have all the materials I love best and…



Odd silence.


So, creative friends–now what? Any suggestions to bring the joy back? I’ve thought of taking a class–but funds are limited. I’m going to Art-a-Whirl this weekend in hopes of jump starting my creative side. I’ve even pondered whether or not mosaic has served its purpose for me and whether I should simply sell or donate my supplies and move on. I’m not there yet, but it’s occurred to me more than once of late.



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5 Responses to Artist Block

  1. Jen says:

    One of the things the instructor for the writing class I am taking told us do was to find something creative to do, not writing. Maybe painting, crocheting, knitting, etc. just something besides our initial task. Maybe finding something else could help. I am still struggling to find my creative writing focus, I actually have two or three writing projects to work on this weekend for my class. Good luck, you will find your outlet again. I have faith in you.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Jen! I think you are right–focusing too much on not being able to make art doesn’t make it easier to make art. (wry grin) Glad to hear you are writing! That’s FANTASTIC.

  3. I have been feeling the same way! (although all I have is two balls of yarn and knitting needles and am jealous of your incredible sounding studio!) I’m heading to the HK art fair in a few minutes. I’m sure Art-a-Whirl will help! Good luck!

    • Thanks for your post Nicole! I would love to be a mouse in your pocket at the Hong Kong art fair! Take lots of pictures for me, okay?? And those Dragon boat races–how cool!!

  4. Mac Bull says:

    Hello Rachel,

    I am sympathetic to your “artistic block”.

    However, it sounds to me like your efforts to “break free” were perhaps “too focused”–maybe–only YOU can really make that call.


    I don’t know what your choice of medium is (i.e. paint, pencil, crayons, whatever…doesn’t matter–all of it is wonderful), but I have a few suggestions you may like.

    Here we go:

    1. Grab a pencil and paper and just doodle. Seriously, I am a writer by trade, but I love to draw circles, triangles, and squares. And floating hands that reach out of the shadows, as if they are chasing after these shapes.

    Stuff that is super out there. But…

    Then the magic kicks in. I can write copy or dive into a translation that I working on for a client.

    2. Look at works that other artists have done. Pictures, photography, paintings, sculptures, etc. When the you feel that creative tickle, get to work.

    3. Get crazy and dive into the Sunday Comics. Maybe even re-draw one of the characters on a separate piece of paper, Then draw a duck being chased by a banana. Or anything. The point here is go wild, go free, go limitless.

    When inspiration hits, drop the doodle (even at just a few lines or the half way mark) and go sculpt or paint that piece that is bubbling up inside of you.

    Case in point…

    Recently, I had a bit of a dark hole I fell into. So I took a writing course and shortly there after ended up writing (marketing communications) for a USA based client–I am the Bostonian in Japan.

    I hope you find your “creative voice” and then find yourself in an endlessly flowing waterfall of creative works that are joyfully created.

    All the best,
    Mac Bull

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