creativity

Where to Get Ideas and Inspiration for Your Arts and Crafts Projects

candleTypography Candle Holder from Cheltenham Rd 0n 3B Street

Getting immersed in arts and crafts projects is, for a lot of people, a great way to express their creativity as well as a source of enjoyment and relaxation. There are others, though, who recognized the money-making potential of this hobby and seized the opportunity, establishing their very own businesses. These often revolve around selling their creations in a store with a physical location or one that operates purely online.

Whether you are looking for fresh ideas with which to boost your current arts and crafts business, or you are in the first stages of establishing your own store, you will find useful information in this article. The following paragraphs provide suggestions on where you can get inspiration and ideas for your next projects.

Take Note of the Latest Trends

Many entrepreneurs, regardless of the industry they’re in, manage to earn a lot by following trends. You can achieve the same results if you do your research on which arts and crafts creations and related services are now popular to consumers and specifically, to your target market. This information can be obtained easily by doing a general online search. You can also look at the most popular products in various online marketplaces. And to supplement your findings via the Internet, you can browse through magazines and other print media to have an inkling of what’s currently hot in the market.

Aside from joining the other entrepreneurs whose offerings are now all the rage, another way to follow this tip is to do projects that have something to do with what’s popular with consumers today. Here are some suggestions:

  • Feature popular characters in the best-selling games today.

  • Appeal to a wider audience by featuring popular and well-loved TV and movie characters.

  • Create accessories for the most popular gadgets, such as tablets and smartphones.

Opt for the Classics

If you are a risk-taker, the tip above is for you. But if you are looking for ideas that are for the long-term and will provide you with more stable income, you might want to consider classic arts and crafts projects. Businesses that follow this strategy often provide products and services that either meet human needs, or are related to activities that man has been doing for a long time.

While classic or timeless arts and crafts projects are not likely to fly off the shelves, they are a good investment for your business because they are anchored on tried-and-tested, profitable concepts. Examples of these are the following:

  • Candle-making

  • Production of home décor

  • Creation of seasonal décor (Christmas decorations included)

  • Photography services

  • Tailoring services

  • Painting services (charcoal painting, portrait painting)

  • Jewelry and accessories-making

  • Woodworking

  • Embroidery

  • Crocheting

  • Costume Rentals

Consider Your Passions and Interests

Aside from trends and timeless business concepts, you can also find inspiration for your next arts and crafts projects by looking at your passions and interests. This is an especially great tip to follow if you have yet to start your business and have just begun thinking of what types of products or services you should offer. A business that allows you to do the things you love or are genuinely interested in has a higher chance of succeeding than one that is based on current consumer trends and other concepts because you’ll be more focused and passionate about it. Also, it’s likely that you excel in a field that’s in line with your passions and interests, so you don’t have to worry about mediocrity in your creations.

Before you follow this advice, though, you should remember that mere passion won’t make your business an instant success. You need to look into the feasibility of your idea before you throw yourself into making it a reality. The perfect business concept is one that is not only profitable but is also in line with your interests. Here are some ideas that usually combine these two factors:

  • Jewelry creation

  • Painting and Drawing

  • Photography

  • Pottery

Be Nature-Inspired

Nature is also a great source of ideas and inspiration for your arts and crafts business or projects. Many successful artists and crafters look to their surroundings when they are out of ideas. A quick getaway to a mountainside inn or a weekend trip to the beach often gets their creative juices flowing, resulting in creations that are both unique and inspired. If you want to create something new, steer clear of the first three suggestions and instead follow this tip.

clarynbio

Claryn Bowell – 3B Street Marketplace Blog

I’m Claryn Bowell. I’m an artist, crafter, writer and entrepreneur. I grew up in the great state of New York which is pretty awesome. I have been blogging for five years and I love writing about crafting or anything about creativity.  My blog is the product of my love in crafting and DIY.

 

Step Two to Unsticking Your Creativity

“There aren’t creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use it and people who don’t.”

—Brené Brown

Doodleimage

Drawing.

What comes to mind when you see that word?

For many, it conjures an image of Picasso or Renoir. The eccentric girl sitting at the coffee shop huddled over her drawing pad furiously sketching all day.

For people who don’t, drawing = artist.

Drawing isn’t a magical skill that is bestowed on only a select few. Drawing is human. It’s an act that is part of our identity as homo sapiens.

Do you ever write? Letters are just symbols that represent sound. Writing is drawing symbols (see where I’m going with this?). Any kind of mark-making is a form of drawing. Drawing itself isn’t “art.”

Drawing is simply expression.

We all do it.

Recently I went to a lunch lecture (with Kerry!) and I learned some interesting things about drawing:

  • done regularly it benefits every other task you do.

  • it improves your memory.

  • drawing rewires your brain.

What is drawing?

It’s mark making.

Nothing more, nothing less.

How do I do it?

You start.

Chatting on the phone with a friend? Pick up a writing instrument and doodle.

Sitting in a meeting? Doodle in the margins of your notes. It will help you remember what was discussed.

And as an added bonus, the more you do it, the better you will be at it.

Just make marks. It doesn’t have to be anything.

Why should I do it?

The act of drawing is a form of meditation. Doing it opens your brain up to new thoughts and ideas.

The more you draw, the more you can draw.

Did you read that part about rewiring your brain? Creating widens your brains super-highway and improves your problem-solving skills.

You just need to follow a couple simple rules

  • don’t judge. These marks are not representative of you or your worth.

  • remember that it’s not art. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad. It’s expression.

To help you get started, I’ve created a doodle sheet for you to download, print, and get to doodling. These doodles are an exercise to get your brain flowing. Keep it handy and start making marks. It’s ready to be colored too!

This is just for you, but if you’d like to share, be sure to post them with the hashtag #gettingunstuck. You can find me on Instagram here http://instagram.com/deannamullican#.

Happy doodling!

deannawashi

Deanna Mullican – Spark Retreat

Deanna Mullican is an artist and designer and is co-founder of Spark Retreat (and if you register before Nov. 15 you’ll reserve your free spot in our May 2014 online group coaching program!), which is for creative women who are looking to reignite their soul’s fire. This year at Spark, she’ll be leading a workshop called “Free Your Creativity Through Visual Journaling,” which will expand on some of the techniques in this series — helping you find your personal brand of creativity by Living More Orange. You can find Deanna at applesandorange.com.

Getting Back in The Swing of Things Through Painting + Play

pumpkinpainting

We had family stay with us from out of the country all last week. We had a ball being tourists in Arizona and really enjoyed the lovely weather. The end of their visit was bittersweet though. We had been planning their visit since last May so it was hard to believe it had ended. But it was also nice to get back into a routine. That can be hard. I really felt out of sorts after a week of excursions, eating out and late nights. In an effort to switch gears, my little boys and I pulled out fall colored paints, went outside and started painting pumpkins. That lead to painting on printer paper and mixing colors together on our cardboard palettes. I just loved how much fun were having! We started out with a purpose and then just started having fun. I even ended up with inspiration for November’s desktop calendar. It was so nice to have a playful and creative way to transition from time spent with company to getting back to business as usual. It also allowed us time to pause and reflect on the fun week we had with our family. After a fun afternoon spent together we were left with inspiration, art to hang and pretty pumpkins to put on our front porch.

This activity reminded me of Deanna’s post last week about unsticking your creativity. Did you start using Deanna’s little “getting unstuck” worksheets from last week? I just shared my first one on Instagram and Twitter yesterday using the hashtag #gettingunstuck.

Do you have a creative outlet or activity to get you back in the swing of things? Please share in the comments. I would love more ideas! Also, I just linked my personal Instagram account to Handmade Success so click here and follow along. Most of my photos are about enjoying a moment or capturing something that helps me get creative or unstuck. If you are on Instagram share your username in the comments so I can follow you!

Cheers to you and finding those fun moments that create transition and creativity!!!

Step One to Unsticking Your Creativity

Getting-Unstuck

We all get stuck, right? One day you realize you’re just not in the Flow anymore.

Don’t worry, it’s just temporary. It’s pretty easy to get back on track.

Because getting unstuck comes from doing, this is the first of four exercises I am sharing with you to help you find your mojo again.

Busy lives can distract us and it’s easy to push creating-for-ourselves to the bottom of the list. But creating for the sake of it is so vital to us as human beings, it’s important to make time for it. Even if it’s only a few precious minutes.

So as a jumping off point to begin to get you unstuck—or, if you’re not stuck, to get you seeing your day in a new way—I created a worksheet of sorts for you to download, print out and cut up.

This is a form of journaling that uses simple observations as you go about your day-to-day.

You can use them throughout the day or save up your thoughts for the end of the day and use them as a form of reflection. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket and are easy to get to when you have a thought so you can jot it down. You can keep all of these in an envelope, or fold them up and put them in a jar. Or, if you’d like, pick up a little notebook to keep all your daily musings in one place. Or every-other-day musings. Whatever works.

This exercise will help you notice all that is going on around you. It can help you learn to recognize when you’re bored or uninspired. You can use them to set a small goal for tomorrow.

It is not meant to create guilt or to become a “have-to” (because, let’s face it, we all have plenty of those!). Seeing your day in a different way will help tear down the block that has finagled it’s way into your life.

Download and print as many as you want. Put them in your purse and your pocket. Put them on your nightstand. Teach yourself to see your day with new eyes. Set one simple goal for the next. Before you know it, you’ll be in the Flow again.

If you’re feeling especially daring, take a photo of something you notice with new eyes. Instagram is a great app for visual journaling. I enjoy snapping a quick photo of things that make me happy, inspire me, or just make me feel good (I take a lot of photos of my puppies and food) If you want to journal in this way, post to Instagram (follow me here!) or Twitter. Use the hashtag #gettingunstuck.

I’d love to hear (and see) the things you notice and the small goals you achieve!

And as a little hint for what’s coming I want to share that the fourth exercise will be a block-carving tutorial. I’m telling you this now in case you want to give it a try and have a chance to get a couple supplies beforehand. You can get a simple starter kit here or at your local art supply store. It comes with black ink but if you’re going to print on paper, you can also use acrylic paint.

Deanna-Spark-square-150

Deanna Mullican – Spark Retreat

Deanna Mullican is an artist and designer and is co-founder of Spark Retreat (registration is open now!), which is for creative women who are looking to reignite their soul’s fire. This year at Spark, she’ll be leading a workshop called “Free Your Creativity Through Visual Journaling,” which will expand on some of the techniques in this series — helping you find your personal brand of creativity by Living More Orange. You can find Deanna at applesandorange.com.

How To Recharge Your Inspiration When Your Creative Batteries Are Drained. Or At Least What Works For Me

judiglassAutumn Yellow Sunflower Wine Glass from Judi Painted It

Are you the jack of all trades in your small business? Do you always feel there are not enough hours in the day or that you need a clone, or two or three? Are you constantly pulled in 10 different directions on a daily basis as a small handmade business owner? Me too!

I set high goals in a short time frame and dream big, with that mindset comes being consumed with work and stress. After all, you want to succeed at what you do and if you love your craft and have an insane desire to keep it your full time job or make it one….. be prepared to work your ass off! Be prepared to work harder than you ever have in your life.

It’s one thing if your reselling an item someone else made, it’s an entirely different animal when you physically make something and sell it. You need craft time (the easy part), then the battery draining part of everything that comes with marketing yourself. That is when the hard work really starts.

Some of the things that I have learned the hard way to keep me in touch with loving what I do and keeping me inspired.

  1. Stop with time wasting tasks! Some things I just totally suck at are writing and visual marketing ads. If you need help with something and have a small budget Fiverr.com has been a life saver for me, along with reaching out to those who are looking to build their portfolio like HS kids. Ask family members or friends to help with what ever they can. At times, I put my entire household to work.

  2. Create a work schedule and stick to it! This, I will admit, I struggle with because I work from home. I cannot just leave the office and walk away calling it a day. I have found that my family time suffers. As hard as it may be if your really backed up, start your work day and hour early or pick it back up when the household went to bed.

  3. Clean, organize and de-clutter your office or work space. If your home office is anything like mine in a matter of one week it can easily look like a tornado went through. Between orders, accounting, show schedules, marketing plans, other projects, etc it can get nuts. I have found if I keep it clean and try to follow the rule I tell my little one “When your done playing with it put it away”, but I’m never really done playing with it. If I walk in my office and my brain is overloaded with a mess… it drains my creative juices and all motivation to get through my work day.

  4. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You would be amazed what cool creative things I have come up with just by messing around and trying something new.

  5. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF that is not work related!! Im 100% honest here when I tell you I watch 1 hour of TV a week and that is the only time I sit on my couch. Don’t let your craft take over your life. I’m a very energetic and on the go person. BUT I do schedule a full body massage every 6 weeks or so (partially because I have to with my neck always looking down painting), but the rest is a treat to myself. I also go to kickboxing classes about 4 days a week. Find what works for you and take care of you.

These are just some of the things that I have found work for me. I would love to hear what works for you.

Editor’s note: Judi has been a reader of Handmade Success for a while and was our 1st reader interview last year. We have made a lovely connection over email and social media. I love following her artwork, craft fairs and adventures. I added the photo above to give you a glimpse of her amazing work. I hope you check her out too! Her new Pumpkin glasses are now on my “must-have” list for my favorite fall pumpkin beers  :)

judibiowashi

Judi Jamieson-Rader – Judi Painted It

Judi Painted It started out as a hobby that took off to new levels in 2010.

She believes in hard work, dedication, quality and getting the best possible value for your hard earned money.

The name came about when people would see her work at friends or family members home and ask “Wow, where did you get that?” and the answer became the name of her new business as the response was always the same…. “Judi Painted it”.

Judi is a mix of self taught artistry and artistic family traits, she is a workaholic who pushes for perfection. She is also wine lover who enjoys sweets, red and white. Deep sea blue fishing and sky diving were two activities she enjoyed in the past.

Hard work and determination does pay off over time if you stick with it and don’t quit.

If you would like to read more about Judi and her learning experience growing this business, you can read some of her blog posts by clicking here.

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