I've been home now for over a week and I still haven't had the chance to clay, but my notebook is full of ideas for new stuff and ways to make the old stuff better. So instead of posting pics of my latest work (of which there is none) I thought I would share some of the things I learned while at Synergy.
#1. Everyone makes crap. This was the most wonderful and freeing thing I heard all weekend. I know that it was completely unrealistic but I had this idea in my head that "real" artists sit down at their work table or go into their studio and just make beautiful pieces and the ideas are always flowing and everything they touch comes out looking gallery quality. NOT TRUE! I learned that even the artists that I most admire go through times when they don't have ideas and everyone has a box, a drawer or even a closet full of junked projects. How nice to know that I'm not the only one with a box full of stuff that I consider rejects! One presenter even said that when she wants to create a new line first she makes about 20 drawings of an idea, then puts the 10 best drawings to clay, then narrows that down to 5 and after revision maybe 1 or 2 will actually become a product for her. In the past I have felt like every time I want to clay I have to create something fabulous and award worthy. So many times this has caused a complete creative block. I was told over and over that the only way to really make something good is to make a lot until it becomes good.
#2. There should be evidence of decision making in every aspect of your design.
This was the main point in Kathleen Dustin's session on earring design. She gave us examples of earrings that were a wonderful bead or design and then were put on a store bought earwire without thinking. By adding a little thought and a bit of time to make your own earwires that relate to the design of the earring the quality of the design as a whole is greatly increased. This leads to better sales and also greater value of the earring itself. I'm already trying my hand at making my own earwires (I think it's one of those practice makes perfect things) and I already feel more confident in my finished products.