Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sometimes it All Comes Together~ Inside the Creative Process

I have been asked over the years how I come up with products to sell. Most of the time, my way of creating is to take the stuff I already have and make something out of it. Once the components are gone, so is the product.

Today I am going to give you a glimpse of the process I used while creating a specific product.

First I will give you a little context. I am getting ready for an Antiques Show at the end of the week. It is spring. I am doing green and blue as a color scheme. And I wanted to come up with some currently very popular "industrial style products".

Usually I try create useful products. In this case, flower vases and/or pencil holders.

I am ALWAYS buying stuff at sales~ Estate, garage, rummage, fleas that I think I will someday use to make products. Most of the time I have no idea what I am going to do with what I buy, but my criteria is "Do I REALLY think I might make something out of this?"

I didn't buy anything additional for this project. Everything was already in my stash of stuff... most of it for at least a year:

1. Jar of blue/green stones
2. Box of test tubes~ two sizes
3. Box of pencils
4. Metal clamps
5. Roll of twine
6. Musical flowers~ leftover from another project

I started with the idea that I wanted to make vases using a box of test tubes I had. They have rounded bottms so they don't stand up by themselves. I decided to try grouping/wrapping them together with twine to see if they would then stand up.

They did, but they weren't very stable. I remembered these metal clamps which I have been picking up in all different sizes for quite awhile, but I hadn't done ANYTHING with yet. So I clamped the tubes together~ after Mr. Anything Goes Here explained how they work. PERFECT.

Picked the first flowers blooming in the yard to try them out. Pretty good, but not very colorful and maybe they would topple over so I got this jar of blue/green rocks out of the garage and dropped them in the bottom. Dropped some of them too vigorously and broke some test tubes. Oops! Then "Pretty".

Then I thought what else could people use these for. Tried them as pen holders, but the pens were TOO short. Remembered these neat looking pencils. I dIdn't like how they looked unsharpened. And thought "Do people still have pencil sharpeners?" so decided to sharpened them all! I am a full service product designer.

These little test tube holders are TOO small for pencils, so I added a tiny faux flower. At home people could add tiny snow drops or grape hyacinths.

The product test will come at the show. Will people buy them? If not, they will be reinvented into something else.

How do you work through the ideas that you come up with? First, an idea and then buying materials? Or, like me, most often materials, and then an idea of what to make? Or a bit of both?


  1. Those are great - I think they'll fly out the door!

  2. LOve them ... Great idea... I like the flowers in them a lot. For some reason the pencils look dangerous. Jabbin you .. But for the office it would be a great thing.. It looks very upscale...Sheila

  3. Another idea I'd never have thought of! Amazin!

  4. You're such a good problem solver, Joan! I love these, and I'm sure they'll be a hit at the show, but what I love the most is that you had all of the components already! I usually have an idea, then have to search for the parts to make it all come together!

  5. These are one of the best things I have seen in a long time! Very unique. I absolutely love them. These will definitely sell.
    My mind works like yours. If I see something I like I buy it not really knowing exactly how I am going to use it. Inspiration usually strikes later.

  6. They're great! I'm sure they will sell! I think like you too, I see something and my mind starts creating it into something new. If I think I will definitely use it I buy it, I try to edit my purchases more carefully these days but my barn doesn't really show that! Theresa

  7. I love those! Especially the ones with the twine. I can invision using those on my table when the flowers start blooming!
    ☺ Celeste

  8. I love these vases - what makes them for me is the clamps...

  9. What a fab idea. Crazy about the use of clamps to hold them the lines of this project. You should sell these very easily. Sea Witch

  10. I agree that industrial is hot, hot, hot. I buy most things as they are. Some I doctor up with paint. But me and a glue stick are not always so friendly. I do have a couople boxes of bits and pieces that I look through sometimes to create stuff. And sometimes, other people (like you) make stuff and I happen to have the stuff to make some for me! But my New Year's Reolution was a challenge to myself to clean out some of these parts- so the creative side has been working. Though this weekend at Grayslake, I have some boxes of hardware to inspire other creative souls.

  11. What a great post.
    My favorite thing is to see how people do what they do.

    I enjoyed visiting-
    Drop by if you can,

    White Spray Paint

  12. Fabulous! Loved hearing about the creative process!

  13. Great idea, as usual! How do you manage to store and organize all the great stuff you find until you are ready to use it? Maybe you will do a post on your work room. I for one, would love to see how you have it set up.

    Second Hand Chicks

  14. Hi Joan
    Love the creative process, your mind works well! Love the idea and it all looks terrific

  15. ooohh, you have such a creative mind! Love the test tubes and you thought of a great way to use them. They are a perfect bud vase. I love the twine around them. Great job!

  16. these are great as usual Joan! Can't wait to see it all in person this weekend:)
    let's pray for good weather~talk soon...xo

  17. You are truly creative with your projects! I am always am exited to see what you will create next. Thanks for linking up to Be Inspired today.


  18. Oh Wow! How creative! I love this, and love how creative it is. Thanks for sharing. I wish I had some test tubes hanging out. :-)


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