OK so it is not Thursday – but here is my throwback thought for the week. It’s about community and how important it is as an artist to have a supportive tribe to rely on. I am thinking about this for many many reasons this week, but here are a few of them.
As many of my readers know I work part time with the Cattaraugus County Arts Council as a creativity consultant to their business program for artists ABLE. Last week was out last monthly meeting with this great group of creative people, and although our support for this group will continue on indefinitely, this intensive part of the program is coming to an end. As part of our wrap-up we talked about what we had learned from the program, and one of the artists said that something I had said at the very first meeting had profoundly changed the way he thought about his work. He had said he was reluctant to share his photography in case people didn’t like it, and I had said who cares? And I meant it – our work is our own given only to us, if we don’t do it it never manifests in the world. I really believe our job is just to do the work, not to make judgements about it, just to do it and put it out in the world. I was glad something I had said had encouraged a fellow artists to stay on the path and keep on working – that is such a great feeling! Bringing this program to a close made me think about my NYFA Mark experience, and how powerful it was to be acknowledged as an artist and be taken seriously. (If you are new to me and my blog you can read about that here). But also it is about seeing that others are in the same place as you – that even the most seasoned and accomplished veterans wrestle with the same problems.
The second incident was when a past student dropped by to visit – she has been in a bit of a bleak place in her life and wanted to reignite her creativity and work her way back to emotional health. I sent her off with a long list of recommended reading, and I hope that along with a chat over coffee I was able to help her a bit! I remember “beginning” as an artist, and I told her that right now I still struggle with the same thoughts as then. Doubt assails me less often, but doubt still comes, and that for me I have to remember to just keep working and wait for the work to find its own way. So many people support me when doubt creeps in, and my blog readers especially have become such an amazing support network of people, most of whom I only know through this cyber-space connection. It is good to be able to pay that feeling forward.
Also this week I read this post over at Tattered and Worn about balance – and I felt refreshed and reassured and able to get back to work with less concern about how out of whack my life has been lately – I just decided to drop the pie on the floor and eat it! (Now you will have to go read the post to see what on earth I am talking about!). I read this blog almost every day with my morning coffee – I hope you have time to read at least this one post this weekend – you will be glad you did!
This blog has been a catalyst for me in meeting and making my tribe. Through it I have met so many amazing generous artists willing to share their talents and advice. Being online and reading other blogs makes me feel less alone, inspires me to get up out of my rut and go back to work, fills my mind with the splendor of their work, and encourages my inner child to get up and go play again. So I am very happy to say that I was contacted this week by Jill Zaheer from Jazworks to be part of a blog-hop. Jill and I met as paper swap partners through LaWendula’s amazing and FREE paper swap. (I encourage you to go check it out and sign up – it is really FREE). So next weekend I will be posting my answers to her questions and linking to the next blogs in the hop. I hope you will go and visit Jill’s blog and look at her incredible work, which has such a unique signature style, and then backtrack along the hop and check out the other artists who are playing. Maybe on the way you will find a little something to help you today. Thanks for visiting – and I’ll be back with a new post in a few days. blogging it turns out is much like riding, when you fall off you just need to get back on and ride again!