I think that in today’s busy world you just have to make a little time to play! To not allow yourself that time means the death of creativity!

Maggie Bergman - PlayDesignCreate.com

Hi I’m Maggie Bergman

I love making things, using whatever materials I am excited about, but I also love my digital tools, my iThingies in particular! So I thought it would be a good idea to combine these two loves and share with you what I do and how you can use the ‘Virtual’ to help the ‘Real’ and visa versa! I have no idea where this blog will go, I’m flying by the seat of my pants, which is exactly the way I like it. Too much planning stifles my creativity – which is ironic as I am a bit of a planner and like things organized! I walk a thin line….

The topics covered will be varied, whatever I’m into this week/month/year will be front of mind. But I have found that some things hang around a little longer, others I leave and then come back to again and again.

I LOVE designing with paper and other low cost materials, it allows for a lot of creativity and gives me a chance to play without blowing my budget, (not that you would know, looking at what I’ve spent on paper & card stock over the past few months!!) I especially love to play with my Silhouette Portrait,  which let’s me design very complex cuts in all sorts of materials, that I can use for all kinds of techniques.

My jewellery making benefits in many ways from digital input:

Designs I create in Paper can get repurposed using other materials, like Enamel, Perspex, Aluminum, Copper,  Silver & Metal Clay. The list of all the materials I use is huge, these are just my main ones.

Here is what I typically do before I make a new piece:

  • My designs nearly always start as a scribble on a piece of paper, even the famous table napkin has gotten me out of a spot when an idea struck!
  • Then I take a photo of the doodle with my iPhone
  • This syncs automatically and is available on my iPad within a minute
  • From there I can take it into one of my favourite drawing or painting apps to clean up the lines, refine the design and test colour combinations.

All this is done before I even get to the studio! Most of my ideas come early in the morning, I draw them up and work them out on my iPad sitting up in bed!

I follow the same process when I make black & white artwork for Etching, Photopolymer, or Silhouette designs. 95% of the work is done on my iPad, the computer takes care of accurate sizing, and printing or cutting the final designs.

Fan-Coral-PaperI use the cut-out patterns I get from my ‘SilLie’ for roller printing, masking or as stencils for enameling. I can cut contact on the Silhouette to use as an acid resist for direct etching in metal or glass. So you see that just one successful design can have lots of different lives, depending on how it’s used and the materials I select.

These days nearly all photos & videos I take, at the studio or when I’m out and about, are done with my iPhone! The camera in this phone is totally awesome and I always have it right there when I need it, which is great because I always used to forget to bring my camera!

Doing lots of different things really works for me, I have what is known as a ‘Quick-Start’ personality, which means I get lots of ideas, but don’t like doing any one thing too long.

Years ago my friend Catherine Witherell recommended I read a book that explains this very well, it goes into the concept of  The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life – A Creative and Practical Guide and it was only after I read this book that I finally understood what I was all about, and what made me the way I am, usually out of sync with the rest of society. I love going from one thing to another, sampling materials, techniques and design possibilities, like a butterfly going from flower to flower.

One of the most famous Renaissance Souls (RS) was Leonardo da Vinci, whose work I’ve always been attracted to, even as a very small child! Read his biography and you’ll be amazed at all the things he was interested in and the huge variety of work he did, what a Super Star he was, the original Renaisance Man!

Of course I have since found that there are lots of us R.S. that are having problems in today’s society, we are constantly told by friends & family to stop going from one thing to the next, specialise and become an expert in just one thing! Of course this is never going to be possible for us, we are ‘ideas people’!

But in Jewellery & Small Objects I have found my perfect ‘Umbrella’ I can use anything at all, using materials and techniques from one thing and then applying it to another…. that is my idea of Bliss!

It’s amazing to me sometimes to look back at all the things I’ve done in my time as an artist, some of them only for a year or so, others I keep coming back to, I rediscover them and then use them in a different way time after time.

Using Photopolymer plates (PPP) for Metal Clay was a typical adventure for me, I had learned to work with PPPs at art school where I specialised in printmaking, but then found them to be the perfect answer for my designs when I started enamelling on Silver Clay. Of course once I had the setup for exposing PPPs I found there were lots of other things I could use it for, things I’d like to share here.


PMC Conference – Purdue 2006

Following side-tracks like that can lead to all sorts of wonderful experiences, I had the opportunity the present PPPs to my friends at the PMC Conference in 2006 and met a whole bunch of wonderful people there, lots of them are still my friends today.

I’m hoping some of this resonates with you, maybe you are a Renaissance Soul yourself? I’ve learned that it is something to enjoy, not to feel bad about! Allow yourself to follow your own exciting path, explore! Don’t allow yourself be caged! ‘The Norm’ might work  for others, not for creative souls like us!




….. and have lots of fun in the process!