Jean Campbell is the senior editor of Beadwork and a
contributing editor to Beading Daily
I was flabbergasted a couple years ago when Editor Melinda Barta asked me to be one of the first Designer of the Year (DOY) artists in Beadwork magazine. In fact, I had to take pause before I answered. On one hand, it was an incredible honor to be asked. But on the other hand, how was I going to come up with six brand-new designs in such a short period of time? And six projects that wouldn't pale in comparison to my fellow DOYs Marcia DeCoster, Jamie Hogsett, and Lisa Kan, who are all amazing beaders? Of course, I put my ego (and my sanity) aside and said yes. But the process helped me learn a lot about beading on a deadline and clarified some tricks for designing in a smart way. Let me share some of my observations:
1) Don't Psych Yourself Out
When I sat down to create my first DOY piece, I was very nervous about
living up to what I thought would be my fellow designers' expectations. I felt
I needed to make my projects better, cooler, and more creative than
they'd ever been. The competition I'd created in my head was ruthless!
And it certainly didn't bring about creativity or ideas. After the umpteenth day of creative block, I
stepped back and saw this opportunity for what it was: an invitation that was based
on my design skills, no one else's. It was then that I realized that this wasn't a competition at all, but a chance to show what I do, what my
style is. With that simple shift of confidence, I could relax into an
easy-going design process and enjoy myself as I put together projects
that I knew readers would like.
My example is kind of extreme (international magazine, superstar beaders, etc.), but I think this happens in everyday beading, too. For example, have you ever made pieces of jewelry for a wedding?
Did you feel the pressure, considering what everyone else might think of
your skills as the bride went down the aisle? The reality is you were asked to do it because you're valued, and the only thing that's important is whether you like the
outcome and the bride is comfortable with it, too. Once you let go of
that internal pressure and let the quietness of creativity come, you'll
end up with something more wonderful every time.