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  • Writer's pictureHolly Gage

Igniting Your Creativity by Holly Gage

Igniting Your Creativity is the third of five Pay It Forward Events. The topic of design and creativity comes up in my online jewelry classes regularly as students have been creatively starved with the lockdowns of Covid, cutting much of their access to experiences, visual stimulation, and creative input. The small group setting exposes the students to the diverse design styles of each other, and I enjoy helping to push the creative envelope to new levels.

In our Igniting Your Creativity webinar session on Jan. 21, Chris and I sought to remind everyone how to turn our many inspirations from a mere catalyst of thought and ideas into artistic creations through an action plan of seeing, experiencing, exploring, playing, and doing. So how do you take the leap from wanting to discover new modes of creativity to actually igniting the creative process? Well, that’s what we answered during the session:

  • Finding new inspirational sources.

  • Stimulating new ideas.

  • Igniting free thought to snuff out the doubts and allow for a new path of creative discovery.

Participants were asked to bring to the session these random items:

  • Pencil and paper.

  • An interesting object.

  • Something you can eat during the session.

  • A spice from your kitchen cabinet.

As odd as the request must have been for them, they brought them along. It was satisfying for me as so many people took part in the challenge of trying some of the new techniques offered for inspiration.

I had them thinking about various sources in our everyday surroundings differently. They felt interesting objects with their eyes closed, looked at them for their design properties, and used them in conjunction with the other items they brought along to design a piece of jewelry.

I suggested ways to engage with these various sources to stimulate your imagination, such as tasting something and paying attention to their sensations and properties — the textures, the crunch, and the pleasing or displeasing result of their experience. How do these sensations look in visual form?

Our five senses were utilized and posed a “What if” action to ignite free thought and new ideas to help them along a new path of creative discovery. They were challenged to put a visual to a smell. How would they interpret a scent? Did it conjure memories and experiences? Did it bring comfort, like the smell of cinnamon in a pie?

The very first step, however, was moving forward with an open mind, really digging deep, and putting together a visual vocabulary to get started... and they DID! They posted their motivations, inspirations, and drawings on a forum I moderate called Metal Clay and Mixed Media. The illustrations and ideas were so inspiring!! Their next step is to execute their ideas.


Here is one example of the creative process by Randi Gammeltoft

Randi experimented with the exercise, and I love her observations and how she found a way to connect to each of the items.

Thanks for an inspiring workshop on "Igniting Your Creativity." Here is my design inspired by the following items:

Spice: Dried and powdered sea buckthorn

Something to taste: Raw carrot

Interesting object: A rock I got from my daughter as a gift

Sea buckthorn:

I picked the sea buckthorn because I like it, and it is totally different from all the other spices in my spice drawer (powdered berries). My first association is celebration and cake. I think of dry grass and dried flowers - like a sunny meadow in the late Summer when I smell it. The brown/ocher/dark orange color is also some of the colors I associate with late Summer and Autumn. The taste is strong and bitter initially, but has a pleasant and more sweet aftertaste of berries. It makes me think of lovely walks in nature, collecting berries and making jam. The consistency is a powder with fine grains. It feels soft, but you can clearly see the grains when you look at it close up. The sea buckthorn evokes idyllic happiness, good memories, and a combination of strength and vulnerability.

The rock:

I picked the rock because I really like it, and I think it has an interesting shape. I got it from my daughter. She found it in the forest and gave it to me because she thought it looked like a bird. She wanted me to have it to inspire me to make some beautiful jewelry with bird motifs. She was so proud when she gave it to me, and she insisted that it should decorate my workbench. This cute bird rock makes me feel happy and loved. I think of my family and all the gifts I have received over the years, and I feel great gratitude. The rock is rough and grayish. To me, it looks like it has two eyes and a beak. It doesn't smell of anything.


I picked the carrot because I was hungry and because I like carrots.

Both carrots tasted good, sweet, and healthy, and I liked eating them. They had a nice orange color and only a mild taste. They were crispy and juicy. It felt like a completely ordinary everyday event, and it didn't evoke any strong emotions. But after eating them, I was not as hungry any longer, which was nice.

The design:

All this inspiration made me think of a bird with a head made of oxidized silver clay (the shape, hardness, and color of the stone) and a body made of brown, ocher, orange, and gold seed bead fringes (the softness and texture of the powdered sea buckthorn and the colors of the carrot and the sea buckthorn). The bird must look strong but "sweet" like the carrot.

THIS WAS FUN!! THANK YOU, Holly Ginsberg Gage.

I encourage you to watch the recording and take part. It is not too late to add your drawings and creations and share your ideas on the Metal Clay and Mixed Media forum.


For the give-a-ways, we gifted Prometheus Bronze Clay, a set of handy dandy tools, and my husband Christopher gifted one of his 2-sided Cultured Opals. His Opals are usually only available at his Friday 10 at 10 Auctions, on his Facebook page, so feel free to stop by and check out his offerings for the week.


Spring Jewelry Workshop Schedule

Live, Interactive Online Class for ALL Abilities

These small interactive, online group sessions provide expert learning and great connectivity with other artists during this pandemic Click here for details or click on the Class Title

1 to 1 Mentoring By appointment Let my areas of strength help your business to grow to the next level with online mentoring. Intimate one-to-one and small discussion groups are casual and enjoyable but packed with information and tips designed for "YOU" and the growth of "YOUR" business.

  • Private Lessons

  • Write a complete business plan

  • Develop your artist's voice

  • Refocus your business

  • Engage in a private class or group class complete with demos and handouts

  • Use your experiences within to develop the artist within

  • Take your business to the next level

  • Develop a wholesale line of jewelry


Tuesday, March 1 - 29, 2022

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, EST

(11:00 pm GMT, 5:00 pm CST, 4:00 pm MST, 3:00 pm PST)

(5) week group sessions • 90 min. Live & Interactive on Go to Meeting


Wednesday, April 6 - 27

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Eastern

(5:00 Greenwich Mean, 12:00 PM Central, 11:00 AM Mountain, 10:00 AM Pacific) (4) week group sessions • 60 min. Live & Interactive on Go to Meeting

All levels of ability


Tuesday, Aril 26 - June 28 • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Eastern (Skip May 24, June 14)

(5:00 Greenwich Mean, 12:00 PM Central, 11:00 AM Mountain, 10:00 AM Pacific)

(8) week group sessions • 60 min. Live & Interactive on Go to Meeting


Wednesday, May 4 - June 8 at 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, EDT (Skip May 18)

(5:00 Greenwich Mean, 12:00 PM Central, 11:00 AM Mountain, 10:00 AM Pacific)

8) week group sessions • 60 min. Live & Interactive on Go to Meeting


Please join Chris and me for the next Free Pay It Forward

EVENT 5: The What If Factor: Negative Space Caning with Metal Clay Monday, March 7 • 1 - 3:00 pm EST (6:00 pm GMT, 12:00 pm CST, 11:00 am MST, 10:00 am PST)

FREE Online This presentation asks you, “What If?” What if you tried something new? What if you allowed yourself to explore your mind and talents without the pressures of goals and expectations?

Holly developed this exciting new technique; called Negative Space Caning when she asked herself, “What if?” Negative Space Caning combines Fine Silver Metal Clay and a combustible material creating intricate canes. After slicing the canes, assembling the components, and firing them in a kiln, the combustible material disappears, and you are left with elaborate filigree, chambers for enamel, resin, or polymer inlay, and complex patterns easily duplicated for tessellating designs. The time-saving efforts of making one complex cane and slicing it into multiple components make Negative Space Caning practical and fun. Now, I recognize this technique as a springboard idea for looking at and working with Metal Clay in a whole new way.


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