These are the antlers Mary Ellen Merrigan will bead.

In Search of Creative Spark Origins

Where does a creative spark originate? What is it about creativity that draws you in? Catches your eye with a wink and a quick ‘come hither’ gesture? There’s no formulaic definition. I only know it happens with no particular rhyme or reason.

Julia Cameron, in “The Miracle of the Morning Pages” e-book talks about the light of insight and how to consciously link insight and power. It may not be obvious, she states, but intuition has a pattern.

Ruminating on my own experience, I wondered if a piece of a theme do the trick? For example, did my devotion to vintage African trade beads and tribal-like display items such as exotic leather and skins, horns, antlers and other animal ilk provide the impetus for my creative exploration?

When did I first decide to bead antlers? I can’t pinpoint a finite date or time. Like many creative ideas this one took root, growing more vivid and finally taking on a life of its own.

These are the creative spark antlers for Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Antlers

Before I snapped the first picture of the antlers I would embellish, I’d made up my mind. I even knew which gold and bronze beads I planned to use. They weren’t the perfect Czech glass beads. My choices were metal, matte metal, somewhat misshapen, and all the more dear to me because of those characteristics. When we decided to drive to San Francisco I started gathering my packet for the road trip.

Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque prepares her creative spark project for the road.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Antlers and road packet

With a book on tape and a mind full of ideas, I started the project. Fittingly, I snapped a picture at the end of day one’s mileage.

Mary Ellen Beads Albuuqerque shows her creative spark antlers project at the end of day one.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Antlers Day One

You may have a standard way of beginning and completing such a project. I don’t. As a result, I wandered up and down the antlers, casually embellishing whenever my needle paused. I added bits of turquoise and coral, and of course, those gold and bronze seed beads. (What was I thinking with the size 11’s? Why didn’t I elect 8’s or 6’s?) I built new pathways and then reinforced the ones near them.

Creative Spark for Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque - day two.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Antlers Day Two

Happy? That’s me. Count me totally content with life. I used an unusual combination of netting and peyote stitches, as well as some general randomness to fill in along the way. I so enjoyed myself I forgot to take pictures on the way back. Here’s the studio version.

This is creative spark, day four of the road trip project for Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Antlers Day Four

Ohhhhh. You say you see a thread? Yes, you probably do. My antlers are near completion, but not finished and ready for final viewing. Don’t worry. I’ll add a proper publicity shot when the time is right. Meanwhile, what do you think?

Is there a creative spark in you?

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