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Expand Your Creativity: A Ceramic Artist's Advice

The Stories

Expand Your Creativity: A Ceramic Artist's Advice

LAUREN MUSACCHIO

We all know that creativity comes in waves. Some days we can't even look at our art because we are just so not in it.  Another day, we can't stop. We all want the days that we just can't stop and to go even deeper.  We want to expand the moments that we are in that zone and really challenge ourselves. So, how do we go deeper? How do we create something that's a little outside our comfort zone?  So, we picked the brain of Kristen Juen. (It was a good brain to pick.)  Kristen is a ceramic artist based out of Austin, Texas.  Kristen is passionate about inspiring creativity and she loves the process of working in clay.  She gave ten wise ways to jumpstart and more importantly expand your creativity, all inspired by her own experience. 

These petite sculptures from my past inspired a line of wall hangings. 

These petite sculptures from my past inspired a line of wall hangings. 

Go back in time

Make something from your creative past! Try remaking that old sculpture or wall art, you might be surprised how old ideas can often yield new results once your hands get back in it. 

Cut it in Half

One day, while working on a vase design that was really missing the mark, I abandoned my original idea and cut the piece in half… twice! I played around with the remains, and ended up with a really awesome bowl. Sometimes, new creativity can come from completely changing your perspective! Try it.

I enjoy designing without strict guidelines so that I am always trying something new. 

I enjoy designing without strict guidelines so that I am always trying something new. 

Don’t Read the Instructions

Take inspiration from everywhere! But also try skipping the patterns and recipes. Focusing on the process is a challenge that always gets my creative mind going.  Skip the tutorial, and your creative voice may surprise you with even better results. 

My forms are often inspired by plants! What is your thing?

My forms are often inspired by plants! What is your thing?

Have a ‘Thing’ 

I have this thing for plants – especially crazy plants that are so weird you didn’t know they existed. I love finding new plants to gawk at, and that enjoyment definitely enlivens my ceramic work. What’s your thing? Run with it and let it inspire your creativity.

Take notes

 The scientist in me says take notes, or take photo notes! (What was that beautiful glaze combination from months ago?) It is great to discover your creative voice. But remembering it so you can build on it later? Even better!

Playing with clay scraps.

Playing with clay scraps.

Be Your Own Imaginary Friend

 

Never forget to imagine, play, and wonder. I like to experiment with my leftover clay scraps to make new shapes. Try letting your mind wonder to playful new projects no matter how silly it may seem at first. 

Quiz Your Creativity

 Next time you need a new idea, try a few of these: What if we lived in the clouds? What if I didn't use my tools? What if I could see in ultraviolet? Occasionally quizzing your creativity can get you thinking creatively all the time. 

I had no idea if this coral bowl design would work when I started, glad I pushed myself to try it.

I had no idea if this coral bowl design would work when I started, glad I pushed myself to try it.

Check Your Mess-Up-Meter

Pushing your creativity inherently comes with the occasional oops. Mistakes are part of the process (like cracked pottery and ugly glaze jobs). Use these mess-ups as a self-check. If you haven’t goofed up in a while, consider pushing yourself to the next level.

Listen to Your Materials

I rolled out a slab of clay too thick the other day. I could have simply rolled it out thinner, but I took the opportunity to make a thick carved piece instead. Having the flexibility to take opportunities presented by your materials can keep creativity flowing and lead to new designs!

Mismatched bowls inspired by many creatives. 

Mismatched bowls inspired by many creatives. 

Seek Creative Community

There are so many ways to work creatively. Working alongside other ceramic artists has taught me unexpected new techniques and given me encouragement. Keep connecting with other creatives and see your own artistic voice grow.

It takes courage to be creative, so get out there, make mistakes and enjoy the creative rewards. How do you challenge your creativity? 

Kristen Saksa Juen is a Ceramic Artist living in Austin, TX. Follow her creative process on Instagram @kristensaksajuen or see more of her work at www.saksajuen.com