Gathering and collecting finds from nature which I use to create Cast & Found Jewellery, is a special time as it is often when I have my most creative ideas.
Dutch psychologist, Matthijs Baas, demonstrated in the importance of (specific) mindfulness skills as a means of generating more creative ideas
Two of these key skills were:
- observation; the ability to observe internal phenomena (such as bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions) and external stimuli (sights, sounds, smells, etc.).
- acting with awareness; engaging in activities with undivided attention.
Have you ever had that totally immersed feeling? Like a child playing? Where the hours simply fly by?
For me this happens when I am out foraging the hedgerows for little pieces of nature that I can cast into precious metals to make my jewellery. Or when I am exploring possible design ideas with collections customers have sent in. Totally absorbed in noting the detail on every stem and texture on every leaf.
When we are totally immersed in an activity that requires us to be fully engaged there is no space for that distracting mental chatter. We are fully present, all our senses engaged, as we should be.
Experiencing a greater moment to moment awareness leads to us entering an almost meditative state. This is often called ‘informal mindfulness’. For me, another time this is most apparent when I am sitting at my jewellers' bench, my body and mind totally immersed in the process of making.
The tension on the saw blade, the noise the teeth make as the file rolls over the metal, the way an edge of cast petal shines as I remove the red rouge deposits left over from the polishing process. For me these daily tasks are totally absorbing.
When we are being mindful and present we are using the Prefrontal Cortex, the part of the brain used for processing and expressing our personalities. The calm and humanistic part of us.
Functioning in this way, we are calm and controlled, this is when our creativity is able to flow.
Stopping to take note of nature, to look closely at a cast piece of gold or to turn the pages of my sketch book, are not only an opportunity for me to practice informal mindfulness but an almost more importantly opportunity these moments create mental space.
It is in this space where my creativity really follows.
“Being in the state of flow can make the activity more enjoyable and engaging and lead to mastery and improved performance.” Ann Russel, my mindfulness coach.
Mindfulness informs and inspires my overall creative and business practice. It enables designs and ideas to flow, naturally and organically without force. It aids me in innovation and in the making of decisions, and in the developing of connections.
It is an approach to creativity, business and life for me. If you would like to share my journey please sign up to the mailing list.
Written by Jessica Collin, ethical jewellery designer and owner of Cast & Found.