The Creative Spark: One Final Bit of Excellent Advice from Sharilyn

On Friday Sharilyn shared The Creative Spark for her piece, Metallo del Fiore. She had one final suggestion that I thought was so important it warranted a post all by itself. As Stampington’s Editor-in-Chief for 9 years, she saw lots and lots of submissions from artists ranging from beginners to experienced professionals. Here’s what she has to say about making your way in the world of mixed media art.


“I would just like to share with everyone how much I appreciate the gift of creativity, and to encourage you all to embrace your own creativity and feed it by spending lots and lots of time alone in your studio, working. It’s a good idea to take lessons from an experienced teacher and to learn good techniques that way or through books and instructional DVDs. But once you learn the specific techniques you need and have improved your craftsmanship, try to forget the instructor’s designs. Go back to your studio and practice the new techniques you’ve learned, but try to break free of the teacher’s design ideas as quickly as possible. There seems to be a very sad “copycat trend” going on in the mixed-media art world right now, and I find it frustrating because I don’t want to see a bunch of copies of art by “Miss Famous Artist” who has been published in all the magazines. I want to see what you can create, not what you can copy. During a class there is rarely time to be creative and come up with your own designs and compositions, so I don’t expect to see that in a classroom situation. But after the workshop is over and everyone has returned home from the art retreat or convention, I encourage you to work at home alone and quietly in your studio, taking the necessary time to ponder what you have learned and to practice your new techniques without any visual reference from your teacher. Sketch some loose and rough ideas in your sketchbook and trust your own inner genius to bubble up with something wonderful. It will happen by spending time alone with your materials, and by working at your art regularly, for this is how you feed your creative self. Copying another artist’s work or style is educational to a certain extent—all the great masters learned drawing, painting and sculpting techniques this way—but it will never satisfy your yearning to be creative and express yourself. It is only by working at home alone in your studio space that you will find your own unique voice. This might take a few months of diligent practice, or it might take years of floundering. But keep at it. You are a creative genius! Believe it, act on it, and you will experience it. Nothing is more satisfying or more worthwhile.”


To see more of Sharilyn’s work, go to her website and her blog.

Sharilyn is the author of two North Light titles: Bead on a Wire and Rubber Stamped Jewelry.



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One Response to The Creative Spark: One Final Bit of Excellent Advice from Sharilyn

  1. CarolineA says:

    Such excellent advice! Books, classes, tutorials and videos should be the kicking off point, not the end! I have a weakness for freeform work, crochet, weaving, embroidery and suchlike, and find inspiration in what to others might seem unlikely places, such as this site. Its not that strange, when you think about it, because so much of what we learn from one craft form can be transformed into something else both new yet familiar when taken across to another. The more techniques we study and learn, the more we can put our own interpretation into what we make instead of slavishly copying someone else’s work. Its not always very easy, but we can learn from our mistakes, and anything worthwhile will not happen overnight, otherwise it would not be worth doing. Getting there under our own steam is fun, but when we can look at our creations and truly say its all our own work, thats when we know the lessons have paid off and we have achieved what our instructors set out to try and teach us, and that we have done them proud! There is no feeling quite like it!