How to find your artistic tribe! On-line AND in-person 👩🎨🎨👨🎨🖌🔨🎭
Do you feel like you are alone a lot doing a craft, artistic hobby or even a side business? Even before the pandemic, we are often solo doing these activities. Don't get me wrong- I do love my craft and hobby time solo to refresh and unwind. At some point though, you may benefit from connecting with actual people who share your interests (You-Tube tutorials don't count!) We start to get burned out, bored with ourselves and lose motivation. I have found myself in this place many times, whether running my jewelry business or getting stuck on tricky knitting patterns.
There are so many options out there to reach out and connect with others around a craft. Facebook has just about every possible group you can imagine. I am in a bunch of metalsmith groups on Facebook where I sometimes ask a question or answer a question. It is also a great way to show and tell to others who actually understand the time and skill involved in your newest creation.
On-line options are easily accessed and sometimes these groups are active and sometimes not so much. It is a great option for when you are not able to join in person due to location or um, a pandemic! I have found that when you pay a nominal fee, you are likely to get more valuable interaction in groups. I have been part of "The Thriver Circle" with Aussie Jess Van Den for a couple years now. I get tons of on-line business training, access to monthly Q&A's with Jess, a private Facebook group choked full of great tidbits, and more.
I also pay a small fee to watch enameling videos on Vimeo by Sandra McEwen. She lives in North Carolina and has won many prestigious art enameling awards. She gives you a bird's eye view of her entire process and answers any question you ask. She is so open and giving of her expertise and I feel lucky to have a connection with her.
While on-line is great, I'd rather engage in in-person opportunities. I find that I learn much more and get really inspired when I can be physically with the art and the people making the art. In the past year, I have been able to join the San Diego Enamel Guild and the San Dieguito Arts Guild. They are both groups of artists that show their art in galleries and have opportunities for collaboration, sales and education. I have met many inspiring, open people who are excited to share their knowledge with me and have expanded my ideas. These groups require some money to be paid and hoops to jump through but it has been worth it.
Of course my experience is limited to enameling and jewelry making in San Diego. There is a world of opportunities waiting for you if you decide to take a look. If you have an artistic passion, there are others out there who can feed your soul and encourage you. We only get so far by ourselves. I want to encourage you to not just be a looky-loo (you know who you are!) While it's fun to browse and see others' work, it sometimes backfires and leaves me overwhelmed and discouraged. Also know that there are groups for every phase in your creative journey. I was part of a group called "Knit One, Beer Two" before the pandemic. Believe me, it was all fun and no pressure. I'll bet they are planning on starting up again and hitting the breweries with the knitting needles.
I would love to know what groups you all are in to drive your artistic lives. And soon, I hope to be seeing more people around and about the art scene in San Diego.
Spanish Village, where the SD Enamel Guild lives (Studio 5) is open Thursday to Sunday right now and will be re-opening to full time soon. My work is on display there, along with 23 other enamelists.
The Off Track Gallery in Encinitas, is where my work will be shown in April as part of their monthly show! They are open every day, 10 am to 6 pm. Here are the two pieces I will be showing, and they are for sale!
We don't all have time to be full time artists, but I do believe that most people have a little space in their lives to be creative and follow an artistic passion. It brings so much joy and satisfaction to my life, I am sure that all of you will feel the same.
Thanks for reading! Keep learning and creating.