Any artist knows that creativity does not always flow like a river through the mind. There are times when it seems to, and there are times when the creative river suddenly dries up, or environmental and mental factors seem to build a wall blocking any rushing inspirational ideas.
Nate Mell is the founder and CEO of the globally known ceramics design and manufacturing studio Felt+Fat based out of Philadelphia. Creativity above all is a stimulating, necessary, and motivational tool that artists need to survive in their careers. Still, even Mell says that as an artist, creativity is not always so easy to find. When feeling in a creative rut, consider utilizing Mell’s ten tips and tricks outlined in detail below for your artistic inspiration needs.
- Embrace Mistakes
Many artists struggle with perfectionism and hesitate to get started or hit a mental wall from fear of making mistakes. Rather than letting the idea of a mistake stop any creative move, artists should learn to embrace their mistakes, as mistakes often lead to wonderfully learned lessons or even successes in the end.
- Stock Up Inspiration
In basic terms, when a human needs something, a common reaction is to go out and find the solution to that need immediately or to find it and stock up, so the need is fulfilled longer- kind of like satisfying a food craving or hunger in general. The same idea applies to inspiration. Artists can benefit from creating a “go-to” inspirational idea book or folder filled with collected references and pictures to use as resources when in a rut.
- Take Technology Away
“I’m not saying that technology is necessarily a bad thing, as it is a brilliant tool for any marketing or business needs, but artists should practice awareness when technology gets in the way of inspiration,” said Nate Mell. The Philly artist finds that when he is in a creative rut, leaving technology behind and going out into nature usually helps to decrease stress and elevate inspiration.
- Find Something New to Try
Artists who try something new are practicing open-mindedness and looking at life from a beginner’s perspective. Putting oneself in a learner’s environment can spark new ideas that can feed into inspiration.
- Have the Intention to Create Something Daily
Even if an artist has to make something that has nothing to do with their art career, creating helps keep the creativity flowing in some direction, often inspiring creativity to flood over where that artist needs it the most.
- Do Something Enjoyable
When artists find themselves in a creative rut, negative thoughts are easier to come by, which can further cripple any innovative progression. Artists should incorporate something they genuinely enjoy doing daily, such as playing with a pet, to release positive feelings that can help fuel inspiration.
- Keep Supplies Nearby
There are times when an artist has to seek inspiration, and there are times when inspiration hits the brain like an unseen curveball. Especially when an artist is in a rut, keeping supplies nearby such as a small notebook and pencil or blank canvas and commonly used mediums will help to grasp and implement inspiration when it comes.
- Work Hard, Play Harder
This term might have a party-like tone to it, but everyone parties differently. When thinking about the idea of a party, it resembles a time to let go, celebrate, relax, and forget about deadlines or daily stresses. Applying that idea to a creative mental rut means making time to throw a private party to let go of stress, whether that party looks like exercise, a long walk in nature, or a vacation to a desirable destination.
- Find Inspiration from Other Artists
According to Nate Mell, the name of his company, Felt+Fat, was inspired by one of his favorite artists, Joseph Beuys.
“The name Felt+Fat came as a nod to the material explorations and theories of mid-century artist Joseph Beuys,” said Mell.
- When All Else Fails, Doodle
Doodling is a fantastic tool when creativity is at bay, as drawing is an excellent exercise for inspiring a creative mindset. Artists in a rut can grab a sketchbook and a pencil and start doodling what they see in their present environment.
About Nate Mell
Nate Mell is the founder and CEO of Felt+Fat, a ceramic design, and manufacturing studio based in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 2013 Nate was asked to design a set of plates for the award-winning restaurant ‘High Street on Market.’ Since then, the Felt and Fat studio and team have grown exponentially through Mell’s leadership to become a go-to manufacturer for design-conscious restaurateurs and at-home chefs.