I really can't say enough about how important these groups are.
As artists we tend to work alone and isolated. Unfortunately those two words in our society, have a connotation of being negative. But having some time to be alone and isolated is good for all of us, even for those who are not artists. It is a time for reflection and possible serenity or maybe even a time to be angry, if that is what you need.
For artists, that time is when we can best follow our muse. That is when the creative juices flow and most importantly, it is a time when we can safely take creative risks. It is, for me at least, a bit like going to church. I have my routines and small ceremonial tasks (like making tea and lining up my tools and paint) that will lead up to the act of creation. During that time I will ponder. I will converse (with myself). I will cast judgment (on my work), and I will forgive (myself for failing at the task). I will create and celebrate (my succeses), and I will reach out to share them with my congregation of friends, family and the world through my website, Facebook, my blog, galleries, craft shows and fairs.
With all that said, we also need to come together. An artist group can provide valuable feedback without casting judgment, and can sing our praises, so we can find the courage to venture out into the world with our work. In an artsist group we can share technical information, network and learn the important skills of developing a critical eye.
In my studio there are now 2 such groups. One has been meeting once a month for close to a year now, founded by Marcia Young of Valley Fiber Life. The other
group has only just begun. Founded by Jeanne Marklin from the Studio Art Quilt Association, the group met for the second time last Saturday. I came away inspired, refreshed and reassured. Thank you Jeanne! and Fern and Barbara.
If you don't have a group to join in your area, I strongly suggest you start one of your own. Even if you feel that you have such limited time to be creative that you couldn't possibly spare another minute, you should still be part of an artists' group. What you will come away with, will propel you forward in your work at a rate you could never have on your own.
What about you? Do you have an artists' group? How has it helped you in your pursuit of your creative endeavors?
If you need help starting one, contact me. I'll be glad to help. If you need a place to meet with your group and you are in my area, I may be able to accommodate you. So contact me.
In the meantime, happy making!!