Neva over at the Bead Mavens wrote an excellent post on Challenges, Competitions, and Inspiration. I invite you to give it a read, and I have a few things to add to her wonderful suggestions.

If you are anything like me, and get stuck in “I’ll never make anything as good as that” zone when you finally sit down to design- stay away from looking at other people’s beadwork.

Instead of letting your creativity flow, you can accidentally create a block for yourself. I know, because I’ve done it myself. It’s only when I step away, and look at what inspires me and my voice do I find success.

Looking at vintage, fine, or costume jewelry is ok for me, since its not beading, I can separate and admire the shape, the color, or the composition. I also love photography websites like or recordings of runway shows. When you find that thing for you that makes you grab your notebook and record your ideas before you lose them- well that’s your home, and you can always go back to that place for inspiration.

What is the theme of your work? Nature, bold, organic, calming, fringey? Look at your pieces and think- “what am I good at, what do I love about my work,and where do I want to take it.” Then, you can be true to you, and design from that place versus looking at all the gorgeous stuff that other people have created.

Like the quote at the top of the page says, Comparison is the Thief of Joy. So I’ve taught myself to not compare when designing, to go everywhere for inspiration except for what has already been created in beadwork, and go straight for the joy of creating.