I was recently reminded of the importance of getting our of my box.
I work on a lot of weddings. I make prom dresses and other custom garments. I do a lot of theater. My favorite shows are what I refer to as "big skirt shows"- if it requires a petticoat to make the ladies skirts look right, then it is my kind of show.
The musical I worked on this spring was definitely not that kind of show. The director wanted our production of Seussical to look like a brightly colored, animated Dr. Seuss book. It was good for me. It stretched me- made me step outside my box, think new thinks, and try new things.
Once the show was over, my next task was a custom prom dress. As I worked on it, I realized that two of the techniques I had used on Seussical costumes would greatly enhance this dress. The Seussical bird girls had bubble skirts that were full, fun, and bouncy.
The prom dress was floor length, but bubbling it made the drape and the bunches hang beautifully. We used hundreds of yards of black binding to give the Seussical costumes that cartoon look. The prom dress had a multi colored, draped shoulder bow. Adding black binding to it made it pop and pulled the elements of the dress together.
I don't think this would have occurred to me if I hadn't just used the technique elsewhere, which makes my point. To stay fresh and creative, you need to step outside your usual zone. Mix it up. Read blogs, see a show, look at and analyze pictures of other designer's work, try a new technique, take a class or experiment with other art forms. Think outside the box. Think new Thinks. You'll be glad you did!