Inspiration Jar (and Bowl) for Jewelry Making

I have too much stuff. I'm positive it's part of the American experience in general, but the clutter and chaos and overwhelming nature of it all often block me creatively. I've been aware of this creative block for some time but finally came up with a solution: An Inspiration Jar (and bowl)! 

I knew that if I could narrow down the options I have, I could actually focus on being inspired by the plethora of found objects, art beads, thrifted treasures, and all the other amazing materials I've collected. Many of those were buried, forgotten, and put aside. I felt if I had just a small selection of them in a bowl on my desk I would have them on hand, ready for transformation. 

So, I set about sorting through all the jars, drawers, shelves, containers, and hidey holes in the craft room to unearth those treasures. I thought I was being very selective and only pulling out the bits that inspired me RIGHT THEN. But when I was done sorting, I had two bowls spilling over with inspiration. 

I recognized immediately that these needed to be contained a little better. So, I switched to the idea of a jar. Alas, that was still not large enough for all I had gathered. Instead, I placed most of the beads in a decorative bowl and put the pendants, art beads, charms, and other beauties in a jar. 

Wanna see what I selected?

First, there were the chandelier crystals and vintage buttons.

Next up were my drawers of found objects, junk, charms, salvaged materials, and whatnot. So much awesome.

From there, I dug through the art beads: such lusciousness!

After that, there were a few miscellaneous items stashed around the room.

Then, I dug through some beads...

and some more beads!

You see, it got out of control. But, at least some of my stash is narrowed down for me to focus on. In fact, I used much of this when I put together my Bead Box to Go. Sifting through this small collection made it much easier to come up with design ideas. I wasn't as frustrated with having too many options. 
Instead, I have a concentrated amount of materials from which to choose. What a wonderful thing!

And, it's all contained fairly neatly!

It's definitely a relief to not be overwhelmed with options when I'm ready to make. Sometimes the sheer number of options stops me in my tracks. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has this "problem" of overabundance = creative funk. I hope this idea of narrowing down the materials helps other artists narrow down their focus too. 


  1. Hi Hope. I can completely relate to this. I sit down to create, and there are just too many options. And it's partly because I don't want to use a really cool item on a less-than-great design - that it will not be "good enough" for such a "precious" component. Sounds dumb, but I don't think I'm alone in this.
    But I love your little curated collection. It looks super delicious and I'm sure it'll spark lots of creativity! And your bowl is really pretty too.

  2. I have the same problem, but I have sooooo much, wouldn't know where to start...a project for the new year!

    1. Veralynne, I understand. It took me just over a whole day to sort through and narrow it down. But, I made myself work fast. If an item in a drawer, jar, bowl, box spoke to me right then; I pulled it out and added it to the new collection. If nothing spoke to me, I put it away. I tried not to overthink any of it and just work my way through the stash! Best of luck. Let me know how it goes!!

  3. I actually love this idea. I certainly have an overabundance of awesome in my craft room, and it definitely can feel overwhelming. I usually use project baggies to keep things separated, but the thought of jars and bowls seems much more--pretty? Welcoming? Something along those lines. Thanks for the idea!

    (Also, as a side note: oh my goodness, your stash looks amazing. So many pretty happy things! I don't have stash envy, nope! *smirk*)

  4. Overabundance, what that? I have never faced it! said not jewelry artist ever. If only we would "shop" in our storage before going out to buy findings or beads we would save so much money and time.

  5. Your photos are inviting and spark a little envy in this particular beader :-) It is such a good idea to have fewer options when in a creative rut. Too much clutters the mind. In the warm months, I have every bead & find available to me in my workshop. In the colder months when I don't go out there, I only use what I have on hand in the house...that limited supply gets me motivated to see what I can do with fewer colors, fewer cool finds. Then, come Spring, when I go out to the workshop, I am highly inspired by the bounty out there once again.

  6. Great idea Hope! Too many choices can be overwhelming! Happy December~

  7. Too many choices can be overwhelming but I always take out beads and findings just in case there is something I have forgotten about! I hate the mess, though, so I try keeping things on my working (=dining) table in bowls. I will have to clean it for Christmas and this is when some jars would be great to visualize my treasures :) P.S. I clean it once in a while on other occasions, too, not just for Christmas :):):)


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