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The Creative Cycle

Danielle Kathleen

Like most creatives, I often get lost in my own creative cycle, disappearing for weeks down the rabbit hole of making/destroying/making again. It is an enduring behaviour of mine that often gets dismissed as me being an “overachiever,” but I think of it more as my manic creation phase. As a creative I tend to go through a pretty distinct cycle:



I'm self-aware enough to recognise that being a creative is not always healthy, but I feel that by being able to recognise problem phases such as manic creation and stagnation, I can harness the creation cycle for maximum benefit. So, when I'm in the design phase I design using everything I can, as much as I can, but make sure that I rationalise and curb the urge to make by recognising my limits. This means I make only a little at a time, and the remaining designs are still sitting there ready to go for when I get a design block later on. If I feel like I need to make, I make prototypes and test ideas instead, so that I can re-design and resolve teething issues before committing.


I chose being a creative as my outlet pursuit rather than my main source of income, so that nothing I do in this space is ever urgent. I don’t ever want my financial stability to be entirely dependent on my often fickle creatives urges, because then my next creative block will result in only rushed, half-baked designs pumped out in a panic instead of lovingly resolved, miniature works of art. I have the luxury of asking myself if I have to make something now now now, or can it wait a few weeks and gain better design outcomes in the process? Often projects can wait, and I think the pause means that the creation mania becomes less financially destructive for the non-creative, worker bee Danni, who earns us the real bucks.


All of this does often mean that, because I design nearly constantly in some phases, I end up with several branches of ongoing design groups or collections that are hard to resist. At the moment I’m being pestered by a design that will not leave. It batters at the walls of my subconscious like a moth, throwing shadows and reflections across my inner eye, begging to be let free. It’s not the only one, either. My current projects include:


  • The Haiku II Collection. These are my laser cut stainless steel earrings and brooches. They are soothing pattern designs that are an ideal self-care method of creative relaxation. I get them cut into metal and hand finish them. These form the largest part of my selling stock.
  • The Seed Collection. These are 3D printed metal designs for necklaces that reference seeds and organic pod shapes. I have four pieces on their way and another few ready to go! I am ridiculously excited about these, as they feel very distinctly ‘me’.
  • The Reed/Stream brooches. These are two brooch designs that are still being built in my mind. They started as laser cut pieces and have evolved into a 3D printed/hand finished project. I’m envisioning submitting them to the ANCA Pin Six exhibition in the middle of the year, so I hope the designs work out!
  • The Colour Field scarves. I have countless scarf designs in my folders, but my by far favourites are three abstract colour scarves that reference the light filtered through leaves in different seasons. I think the way light glows through thin materials is one of the most beautiful images, and produces astounding colours.
  • The Ceramic vessels. As my manufacturing company have moved into ceramic as a material, I’ve been able to explore this medium. I have several hanging planters, a ring dish and bowl all made now, and several more pieces being designed. As a self-confessed art vessel addict, this might be dangerous.


I’ve started getting packages of design prototypes in the mail. Which design project do you want to see most?

If you’re a creative, what does your creative cycle look like? Is it a bit healthier than mine, or do you get lost in Wonderland as well?




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