17 Aug Inspiration Diaries with Zenshine’s Shawn Pitts
“If you haven’t found your niche- the thing that lights you up, just keep trying until you find something that sparks your passion. I had been looking for a creative outlet for many years because I have a very left brain career working in the medical/dental field. I tried quilting and stained glass- they were fun but didn’t consume me. I would love cutting the glass and fabric into geometric shapes. One day, a lightbulb went off- I love jewelry- why can’t I make jewelry?! I’ve taken my love for geometric and structural architectural shapes and worked them into my collections. I’ve always worked with my hands and small tools- even the flex shaft feels like a dental handpiece. There are many parallels.”
Downtown Frederick resident and artist, Shawn Pitts of Zenshine, invited me into her studio recently. Her organization, love for travel, art and jewelry were evident in this cozy downstairs studio where she creates her modern sterling line of jewelry.
1.What inspires you? I love geometry…when I was young I never would have said that. I’m fascinated with shapes. Architecture inspires me. Nature- the fractals inspire me.
2.How do you turn those ideas into action? Usually it starts with a sketch so I can get the idea down. Then I’ll usually get my materials out and play around. Sometimes in jewelry, a concept on paper doesn’t translate in the actual way of piece of jewelry will move.
3.Do you start with a plan or are you spontaneous? I either have a plan or there will be a shape that happens organically on the bench with materials being moved around. I’m highly organized and I like to create systems to be more efficient. I can spend time on tasks that need to get done then let myself play.
4.What is the greatest enemy to creativity? I’ve always battled with not securing what I know to be my prime creative time and not blocking out that time. It can turn into frustration when I try to work when I’m tired and try to do something and it fails.
5.How do you get yourself out of a creative rut? I play a trick on myself. I tell myself just to go down and stand in the studio for five minutes. It usually turns into an hour and a half. Once I get in there something usually starts to happen.
6.What does an average day in the life look like? I’m working towards getting a more average day. My perfect day would be: drinking a bowl of matcha, doing some yoga stretches, then stepping into the studio….and then a foot massage!
7.Who are your mentors? Originally Chrissy Gemmill helped me get started in jewelry. She was very open and kind to help me get started. Marie Forleo-I’m addicted to Marie TV! She helps you keep going. She motivates you and pushes you to examine how you look at things and keep moving forward.
8.What other hobbies do you enjoy? My favorite hobby is to travel. Plan for travel, pack for travel and to travel! I like exploring places I’ve never been before. It’s like a secondary education- it teaches you a lot. Do you have a favorite? Well, it used to be Hawaii but now it is Southeast Asia. I want to go to Cambodia, Angkor Wat. There are tons of islands I want to explore in Thailand. I am going to Chile in November.
9.How do you maintain balance? I struggle with that. The main thing is I give myself permission to relax or goof off. If I keep myself wound up about work (I enjoy work) but I give myself the permission to go for a walk or binge watch.
10.What words of wisdom do you have for others embarking on their own creative journey? I don’t let conventional rules or text book information dictate what’s possible. I just go for it. people should just go for it and see what happens. People should strive to do their own thing.