basket by sylvia lehman
They get together once a month to have lunch, chat and talk about inspiration, their craft and just about anything else.
Every month they choose a challenge for each other. One month the challenge may be to create something relating to spring or it might be to paint with watercolors or create a work that represents ‘light and dark’ or the theme is cold.
Each monthly meeting is different but one thing is in common: they’re all trying something new together. Their journeys of creation are different and while their finished works may be all over the map, their shared experience builds upon itself. They all share how they approached the challenge from the previous month, any setbacks or problem-solving they faced and then determine what the next month will bring.
The camaraderie is the most important part of the monthly get together. Giving and receiving criticism (in all its forms) is an important part of developing as a maker.
Why do they do this? Sometimes being a maker can be a very solitary profession. They each spend many hours creating alone in the studio. And since creating in a vacuum is a terrible thing, they set aside time in their schedules to openly talk about each other’s work: reviewing, critiquing, sharing triumphs and failures. You need peers to help with your struggles and to share in your triumphs. It helps reinforce your identity and individuality as an artist while making you feel like part of a larger network/community.
It’s the same idea for a knitting group, a Guild, or an online community (like, say, Handmade in PA – shameless plug). You can go far by yourself. But with the help of others you can take your work even further by trouble-shooting out loud, networking or asking advice. The group you choose or become active in does not need to even be in the same craft you work because many creative decisions overlap many mediums.
So get together with friends or complete crafting strangers and talk about your work. It’s also a great way to hone how you talk about your work with potential customers.
Thanks again for your time!