Why do I stress myself with deadlines?
It's simple ~ there are times when I need that deadline to get my act together, to give me a reason to go into the studio and create something. The life of an independent jewelry artist can be very solitary at times. The challenges and blog hops keep me connected with the creative community.I am inspired by the talent and variety of designs that come from a single bead kit.
Check out Andrew Thornton and Lisa Lodge's blogs for information about the kits challenges they sponsor. Lisa's Facebook Group and the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Group are great sources for info.
The swaps encourage me to think outside the box and work at the edge of my comfort zone. You never know what your partner might send you. I try to send favorite items ~ things I have a hard time giving up or components I've creating specifically for my new friend. And I know I always push myself to create something that might impress my partner and the other hoppers.
I love participating in the Inspired By Reading Book Club. There are plenty of folks lurking on the Facebook group, but usually just a handful participate. I've read books I would not have picked up on my own and met quite a few great people through the blog hops and in-person meet-ups that Andrew hosts.
So to simplify my answer ~ challenges, creative book clubs and blog hops supply and endless source of inspiration and have led to many friendships.