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The thrill of new skills

Not to wish October away or anything, but I am eagerly awaiting the first week of November, when a big heavy box filled with copies of this little gem will land on my doorstep. It’s funny (or maybe it’s sad, given that I own a polymer clay book store), but this is the first clay book that I’ve really looked forward to in a long, long time.

I’ve been content with my clay skills for the last few years at least.  I’ve found my niche in millefiori, and I don’t have any interest in learning how to do anything else at this point.  That’s not to say that my workmanship can’t be improved in some ways, but in terms of learning new techniques?  No thanks.  I’m good.

I think that there is something to be said for the thrill of picking up a new skill.  Polymer clay was the source of that thrill for me for many years.  I experimented a long time before I landed where I am.   And where, exactly am I?  Well, I’m at a place where I know how to do everything that I want to do, and while I still enjoy doing it, I’m not driven to soak up every new book to cross my desk anymore.  In fact, I barely crack the binding on most of them these days.

I’d blame it on the fact that I’ve been distracted and utterly captivated with the host of new possibilities my sewing machine represents, but I think my clay complacency came before the fabric addiction.  Sewing was just in the right place at the right time to pick up the slack.

At this point, I’m finding my two artsy interests very much intertwined.  I rarely sew something that can’t be embellished with a custom button, and I rarely make a piece of clay jewelry without thinking about how nicely it will coordinate with a handmade skirt.   But the thrill of picking up a new skill?  That’s about 90% sewing-based for me right now, and why it’s worth noting when I get jazzed about a clay book!

So what about you?  Do your creative passions ebb and flow? or do you find yourself completely immersed in one thing for many years until you reach a saturation point and must look to a different craft to satisfy the urge to do something new (like me)?  Do you even feel that urge?  or do you enjoy a comfortable place of knowing how to do one thing and do it well?

9 thoughts on “The thrill of new skills

  1. Hi Lisa,

    I’m not sure if my creative passions ebb and flow per say, but I definitely suffer from multiple artist disorder (MAD). With MAD, I find myself attracted to various mediums, from painting and collage to fiber and beads and polymer clay, of course. My current desire is to make large paper mache masks after visiting the Bread and Puppet Museum in VT.

    I find that dabbling in these other mediums expands my creativity and creative endeavors. The challenge is finding a way to meld several of them into one piece. Maybe the term “mixed media” is a catch-all phrase when it comes to art but that is what I love doing.

    I know that I get bored with one medium so mixing them up is perfect for me. Polymer clay will always factor into my work somehow yet I need the other mediums to keep things interesting for me.

    -Amy

    See what Amy Crawley has been blogging about: A Gold Star Day

  2. I can’t wait for this book, either!! I know it will be full of all sorts of things that will intrigue and inspire, and maybe it will finally get me moving on the clay front. I spend more time beading than anything else (though not so much lately) but I like learning new things to add to my repertoire. I’m so visual, so really well-written tutorials work well for me, and I seem to recall Donna’s last book was full of those.

    I sort of ebb and flow with my artsy passions, and bop back and forth. There’s nothing wrong with knowing all you want to know and staying there; I’m sort of there with my JOOLZ, and really, just like to put things together and see what I get. New techniques aren’t always on my list, but new pieces are!

    See what Laura has been blogging about: Vibrant necklace – karmabeads

  3. I have done a huge variety of crafts over the years, but I can not imagine a day when I should bore of polymer clay! The sheer flexibility of the medium is incredibly exciting to me. I love how all my past crafting mediums can be combined with the clay from painting, to stamping, to metal work and mosaic. For me, polymer clay has endless possibilities and intend on absorbing every scrap of knowledge I can on the subject. I too look forward to the book!

    See what Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor has been blogging about: 5 Tips For Finding Polymer Clay Instructions and Info At This Blog

  4. I love what the first poster said about MAD – multiple artist disorder! I now have a name for my “phases” that I go through. There are times when I do nothing but knit (usually only during the winter), or nothing but read books (usually fiction, but haven’t been in this phase for awhile), or nothing but sew (hasn’t happened in awhile, and frankly, I’m not that good w/ the machine), or, I may go off on a wild tangent and try something completely new. But whatever phase I go through, there’s just this *thing* inside… that craftsy, artsy, creative gene that must be allowed to explore.

    So, to answer your question, definitely creative juices ebb and flow. But I think that’s the key to staying creative… new ideas come when we get a little stuck or “disgruntled” with the same stuff we’ve always done.

  5. I have been quilting for about 10 years now and haven’t tired of it yet. I think there are so many different things you can do with the wonderful fabrics, methods, and patterns that I will hopefully never grow weary of it.

    I do go through phases of how much quilting I get done. There are times when I dedicate every free moment to a project and other times when it takes me months to complete a top.

    I love the Pop Garden fabrics!

    See what Ellen has been blogging about: Quilt hacker

  6. MAD is fantastic and it is all about me. I have projects of all mediums everywhere in my house. I am a weaver first, then crochet and sewing would be next. I have tried fabric painting, clay, quilting, embroidery, knitting, candlewicking, metal working, etc…on and on. I do get bored with things and processes or parts of a process (like threading the loom). And that is where I move from one craft to the next. But I always come back to weaving, over 15 yrs of weaving now. I think we get inspiration from all different mediums and grow throughout that discovery process. I am still trying to figure out what I want to do and which mediums I can combine to make a unique piece.
    Nice blog…I’ll be back!
    Carrie

    See what Carrie G has been blogging about: Sports Illustrated Kids: Derek Andrews

  7. Uh-oh. Fresh case of Book Lust coming on! I don’t know whether to thank you for sharing this, or wish I hadn’t seen it, lol!

    See what Anitra Cameron has been blogging about: MEET THE (New Tea Pot) FOLKS!

  8. I guess I have MAD, too. Christie over at dragonflylane (http://wright5804.blogspot.com/) calls it craft ADD which I’m sure I have as evidenced by all the supplies from past projects I’ve donated to the grade school over the years.

    I just always want to learn something new. I may not dive in too deeply, and I seem to always return to clay, crochet, painting or sewing.

    But yeah, I have manic crafting episodes. I used to blame Carol Duvall (my all time favorite crafty lady in the world), but now I just blame Al Gore. He did invent the internet, didn’t he?

  9. For me, my passions ebb and flow with the seasons. I knit and I sew, those are my two passions. As soon as it starts to get cool in the fall, I start knitting up a storm. At least that is how it has been the last few years. Now though, I am wanting to make some cute corduroy dresses for my girls and pants for my boy!

    See what Kim has been blogging about: While You Were Sleeping…

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