Where to find inspiration and how to deal with creative blocks: Part 1

hand embroidery inspiration and creative blocks

This post is written due to similar questions I got asked on Instagram. So here is an attempt of a more detailed answer :)

I suppose creative process and the way it flows differently with every individual does fascinate a lot of us. As an embroidery artist, I kind of dread questions about inspiration and creativity because it is actually very hard to track where it comes from and when, why and how exactly the light bulb lights up above your head.

But there are some things that have happened enough times to make it eligible for me to share as a sort of a “pattern”, I guess. Please note, though, that I'm going to talk about myself and my own experience with inspiration and creativity, and what works for me might not work for you, right?

Initially, I wanted to make one post about everything related to the topic. But seeing how long the first section came out, I decided to divide it into two parts and post separately. Today I will share my own experience when it comes to inspiration and creative process. And next time, I will give my two cents on creative blocks and what to do when you have one.

Where I get my inspiration from


So, I can't tell you the exact “place” or “time”. But I can tell that I personally figured out that I'm a vivid visual “consumer”. Consumer not in terms of trade and market, but consumer in terms of absorbing information. Let's put it this way.

That's why, when I get an inspiration, it usually comes in the form of an image in my mind. When it happens I run to my sketchbook or take any free paper I can find at hand and start doodling it down.

Unfortunately, as I'm not really good with drawing or painting, so what I get out on a piece of paper usually looks like a mess, haha. So I actually make little arrows with notes something like “here it goes like this and that”, “Using this color here”, “Don't forget such and such detail here”. And so on. If you looked at my messy doodles you would probably cringe big time, to be honest. But as long as I understand it, it works fine, haha.

Hopefully, in the future, I will develop my drawing skills so that I at least can make decent doodles on the spot. Now I have to work with what I have :) All the doodles are kept in the sketchbook until I decide it is time that I want to create that particular design – then I start working on the details.

Everything above is about what happens the moment the light bulb lights up.

What happens before that, though?

And before that, I might just dive into the visuals I like. On Pinterest, in the books and magazines, on Google.

For me, when I look at embroidery, I usually look at the way it is worked. I mean, I do appreciate the beauty! But usually after the initial “Wow, look at this, so pretty!” goes “Let me see what kind of stitches and techniques they used” and “How did they do that??”. Not sure if it is good or bad, but I'm often fascinated about the technical side of others' needleworks, no matter the level or style – I always want to see the close up of the stitches. Like, it's not about how “neat” or how good the technique is, but just how it is worked, what it consists of, you know? That's what excites me the most.

That's why, when it comes to looks, I usually get inspired more by drawings and paintings. Sometimes when a “greed” hits me I can oversaturate, overload myself with all sorts of visuals (I say “all sorts” but I mean only the ones that please me), I can look through tens and tens of images in a short span of time. Also, at times like this, I usually don't stay too long exploring one piece of art: I only grasp what I can from the first-second glance and move on to the next one. A sort of a marathon.

After I feel that I got enough, I take a step back and get myself busy with something else. Doesn't really matter with what exactly. Just get my mind on something else. Then an idea (or ideaS) might strike when you least expect it – usually when I do some routine, like house cleaning. It also doesn't necessarily come the same day or even the next day. I just let it be, I don't sit and wait biting my nails “ugh, when is it coming? I need my idea”. No, not at all. I just relax and do some other stuff and forget about it.

My goal at these “visual marathons” is to feed my mind, and NOT to get an idea. That's why I'm able to sit back and not anticipate anything further than that. If an idea comes – cool. If it doesn't – it's cool too! My goal is already achieved: my mind got some food for processing.

I just wanted to mention that these “marathons” don't mean that I can't sit and explore a piece of art thoroughly and in a detailed way when I want to or even if it grabs my attention especially strongly during such “marathon”.

These “marathons” also aren't anything daily or even weekly. Or even monthly? I actually don't remember when was the last time I felt “hungry” like this, I think it was a couple of months ago.

But anyway, this kind of visual stimulation does work for me. Usually. Although it is still a delicate matter that normally just happens itself. Sometimes ideas can come themselves without me doing anything at all.

Uh, it's a difficult topic! I'm pretty sure I missed a lot of stuff so we might return to this topic sometime later.

By the way, you might not be a visual learner, so maybe you can try activating intensively other senses for a short time? Actually, even thinking about myself, I believe I'm relying too much on the visual information and should try balance it out with other senses. But that's the talk for another post!

What about you? How do you get inspired? Share your experience! :)


  1. Lovely post amina, as usual! Nice write up!And hey, no one will believe you are not good at drawings...Seeing your designs!

    1. Thank you! Well, my initial sketches are usually like a child's drawing, haha. Then some details come through, thankfully 😊


Write what you think! ❤

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.