Surviving a Creative Slump

I have a confession to make.  I've been in a full blown creative slump since I got back from my class with Carol Soderlund on June 17.  One full month.  I am deeply mired in the creative doldrums.

And I'm sick of it.  But apparently not enough to do anything about it.

To be perfectly honest, it started last winter.  I've been a bit slumpy for at least six months.  In that time I've made, at best, two significant quilts.  The rest are pretty much the result of treading water.  I'm just not getting terribly excited about anything right now.  At least about anything to do with quilting.

I do have a very slim excuse.  I damaged my heel.  And like a dummy I walked around on it for several months before seeking treatment.  Which of course made it worse.  I am supposed to stay off my foot for at least a month.  I see the doctor next week to see if any progress has been made.  It does seem a bit less painful, but certainly not comfortable.

The only good thing to come of all of this sitting around is the quantity of knitting I've produced.  I've made a cowl, several hats and I'm working on a scarf in the team colors of the Philadelphia Eagles for my husband:
I loved making the cowl.  It has been the highlight of my "confinement" so far.  The pattern is the Honey Cowl by Antonia Shankland.  You can get the free pattern on Revelry here.  It was a very soothing knit, and I think it turned out beautifully.  My garden owl agrees:
I have been spending my afternoon hours knitting and my morning hours working in the garden.  It is looking quite good for July.  At least for the middle of July in Texas:
One of our Lycoris squamigera flowers (I believe commonly known as the Resurrection Lily) is blooming very early.  We don't usually see them until August or September:
And I've been doing a lot of reading.   I love to read.  Biographies, mysteries, historical fiction, history.  I love it.

So, you ask, if you can work in the garden why can't you sew?  I've been asking myself the same thing.  Sewing is much more sedentary than gardening, right?  If you plan ahead, you can consolidate trips to the cutting table and the ironing board. And the studio has the added advantage of air conditioning.  I like air conditioning.

I have worked on one piece since I got back from Ohio.  I thought that if I took color out of the equation I could focus more easily.  So I whipped up a black and white paper collage:
And starting with the big black square I pieced it in black and white fabric:

The finished piece was about 32"w x 49"h.  And I was not terribly pleased with it.  It is ok.  But nothing about it is exciting:
I thought perhaps if I sliced it up and put it back together it would improve it.  After all, it couldn't hurt it, right?  So I printed up some paper copies of the picture and sliced them up.  I haven't come up with a winning redesign yet:
I've chopped up several pictures and taped them back together.  They all leave me feeling blah.

I have been doing a bit of internet research.  And there are several common threads in the articles about breaking a creative slump.  First, they say, workout or exercise.  Not going to happen with the foot.  And, honestly, I miss my morning walk.  I would if I could.  Second, try another media.  Does knitting count?  Third, organize something.  My house is pretty clean and the closets are looking good.  Lastly, they all recommend embracing the slump.  It is a normal part of the creative cycle and beating yourself up about it doesn't help.  In fact, it can prolong it.

So, do I consider myself on vacation?

My question for you, my friends, is "How do you get the excitement back?"  I am so tired of feeling blah.


Julierose said…
I do a lot of surfing and looking at other people's quilts...or sometimes I just let it be...and walk away for a while--or buy a fabulous fabric...I find after working for a long time I go into a withdrawal period--a rest stop, so to speak...
hope you feel like sewing soon...hugs, Julierose
Margaret said…
Knitting is good (it was the first textile craft I learned, almost 60 years ago and I've never stopped knitting).

But re: fabric? I piece. I use "OPI" (Other People's Instructions) and make a Bonnie Huner mystery or dip into my Never-ending Postage Stamp Quilt project, or make some small, simple comfort quilts for charity. Slicing fabric and piecing it in regular pieces per a traditional pattern or OPI works a treat to rest my tired brain and get the creative juices flowing again. All the best to you as you rediscover your mojo! :-)
Janet said…
I find that the best way to cure a slump of any kind is to do something nice for others....friends, family, and neighbors. Maybe Christmas shopping in July? Picture yourself lounging with a hot toddy while others crowd the stores in December. Or maybe make a small quilt for a friend? Envision their excitement when they open your gift!! Maybe something with a 'splash' of yellow surrounded by grays, browns, and blues? Wishing you the best with all of your creative and beautiful art....