A Pinterest Challenge! Inspiration, Pinspiration and Trying New Things

by Marisa Edghill of Omiyage

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been making something for as long as I can remember. And, to be honest, I’m a bit of a dabbler. While I’m (almost always) hopelessly devoted to my husband, I’m not so monogamous when it comes to craft!

It all started with handmade teddy bears (special-ordered joints and eyes, fluff everywhere). From there I fell in love with pursemaking, beaded jewelry, knitting (scarves mainly – though I did knit a blanket one cold Canadian winter while my not-yet hubby and I tried long-distance on for size – it’s not fun! On the bright side, that blanket did keep me warm and occupied.). There’s been papercrafting galore – origamikirigami, ornaments, cards. I’m well-known, in certain circles, for making a good-looking apron, and I can stitch up a pillow like nobody’s business. There was even a (thankfully) short phase of glamming up undies with iron-on transfers and rhinestones.

But recently, you see, I’ve found myself in a bit of a creative rut. It’s not that I’m drawing a blank, but more like I just can’t seem to motivate myself to actually make. Anything! Perhaps it’s because all my supplies are buried deep in a closet (one of the drawbacks of apartment living – lack of space.) And while I don’t make for a living, I do write about crafty projects, both here and on my own blog. Needless to say, this creative drought is a bit of drag!

However, while I haven’t been making, I have been thinking. Pontificating even. About inspiration. Where we find it, what we do with it. What’s the line between being influenced or inspired by someone else’s work and copying it?  I’ve also been thinking a great deal about recapturing the joy of making. I talked about that a little bit last month – about letting go of our expectations (and need for perfection) and simply creating for the joy of it. About trying new things.

But, as much as I love a good think – it wasn’t really getting me anywhere, so I decided to issue myself a challenge. I call it my Pinspiration Challenge!

Like many others, I’ve been collecting images on Pinterest. If you don’t know what Pinterest is, it’s basically an online bulletin board where you collect or “pin” images that you like. It’s a great way to save images that inspire you and, when done correctly, you’re also saving the link back to the source of the image!

So, here’s my challenge to myself. Rather than just collecting images, I’m going to use them. I’m going to use them to try new things, to develop new skills, to recapture the joy of creating and to grow by being able to isolate just what it is that draws me to the images that I collect.

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I love blue & white, patterns and watercolour. What fun to play with them all!

Stripes (pin) / Diamonds (pin) / Waves (pin)

My goal is to set aside a little time everyday (well, maybe not every day) to create for myself without expectation. To set aside the fear of not making something beautiful. To find the beauty in imperfections. To learn to enjoy the process again.

To help make this an achievable goal for myself, I’ve chosen to use small (approx. 4″x6″) paper. I’m also  trying to explore within a theme or explore using one medium at a time. The small size allows me to realistically fit art into my everyday. Exploring one theme or medium allows me to build upon skills or discoveries from one piece to the next.

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Beautiful layer cakes are pretty much the perfect subject for playing with washi tape!

Polka Dots (pin) / Maddie (pin) / Love Me (Pin)

And now, lovely readers, I ‘d like to challenge YOU to join me in this Pinspiration Challenge!

How often do you give yourself permission to create solely for yourself? To try something new? I’d love it if you joined me in exploring inspiration and recapturing the joy of making!

Here are the rules (though feel free to set your own personal guidelines!)

  • Select an image – it could be an image you found on Pinterest or elsewhere on the internet, or a photo you took yourself. Why do you love it? Let it inspire you (but please don’t copy it!)
  • Create. Play. Enjoy yourself!
  • Try something new! Step outside of the boundaries of your handmade business. If you sew for a living, try painting. Graphic designer? Get off the computer and get your hands dirty! Always wanted to try quilting? Turn those images into patchwork!
  • Make something for you. Not to sell. Maybe it will be the starting point of something bigger or inspire you to try something new in your business, but I think this challenge is special because it’s something you’re doing for yourself!
  • If you’d like to share your work (and we’d love it if you would), Jessika has set up a collective Pinterest board called Oh My! Pinspiration.  Start by following the Oh My! Pinspiration board. Upload an image of your work to Pinterest and mention Jessika or myself in your description (to mention someone in a comment use the @ sign and their name). We’ll make sure it gets repinned to the Oh My! Pinspiration board.

I do so hope that you’ll join me in this challenge. I look forward to seeing your creations on the Oh My! Pinspiration board. Personally, I’m also hoping that this project reignites that maker-motivation for me!

Pinterest is currently invitation-only – if you haven’t joined and would like an invite, please request one in the comments and either Jessika or I will send one your way. And if you have any questions about how Pinterest works – how to upload an image – or how to tag someone, please ask. I’ll do my best to answer!

Oh, and before you go – I’d love to hear from you about inspiration! What inspires you? What do you think is the line between inspiration and copying?

When she’s not making (or, ahem, procrastinating when she’s supposed to be making), Marisa runs Omiyage.ca – a little webshop full of charming things from Japan. Visit Omiyage to find a great selection of washi tape,  fun paper balloons and lots of other cute and crafty goods. You can also connect with Marisa via Omiyage Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and yes, even Pinterest!