A few weeks ago, I was on my way to a meeting and had some extra time. So, I sat down and wrote about some thoughts I had been having throughout the day. I thought I'd share them with you.
I am meeting with my small group of quilters/artists tonight. While sitting at Barnes and Noble waiting to head to the cafe across the street to meet with them. I am thinking about the small group, and how important it is to me.
I am, of course, a member to several larger groups that are quilt and fiber related, and I enjoy them also. In fact, it was one of those groups that put me in touch with the small group I'm in! I get somethign very different, and very dear to me from the small group,
While the large guilds bring me speakers, and the chance to "connect" with other quilters, my small group has given me the chance to make close friends who understand my fiber artist life!
The group has been profoundly healthy and beneficial for me. They are there when I've had a bad day (or week, or month!), we learn new techniques and skills together and from one another. We can ask for technical help, artistic/design help. We try to offer each other emotional support: when we may not feel support from non artist friends/family, as well as in family crisis. We've gone through death in the families, illnesses, moves, rejections and just plain crappy day!
We've shared the joy of one of us taking a ribbon, being accepted to a show, starting an art/fiber teaching career, and some of us selling our first pieces of fiber art!
Although there have been a couple minor spits or spats, for the most part from my perspective it's always been a pretty amiable atmosphere!
I have received encouragement to continue with my art career - and have learned I am not the only one afraid to declare "I'm an artist." I've already come to know that others feel the same difficulties I feel in being a fiber artist in particular. I think each of us at one time or another (at least) have felt we weren't being supported at home, enough and for some maybe not at all. We draw from each other the courage to try new things - soy wax batik, discharging fabrics, oil sticks, sewing through copper (yes, with our machines!)
Small groups give you the opportunity to cultivate relationships on a personal level, that cooperatively can help you artistically. You learn from one another. You even open yourself to teh possibility of collaborations and group exhibits.
I am very thankful to be a part of my small group. I look forward to our meetings each month. It's fun and encouraging to watch one another grow artistically. It's interesting to see how we each approach challenge topics. There have been some months I may not have done a single piece, except the challenge. Doing one small challenge piece can often relieve "quilter's block".
I now live outside the "meeting" area I was in when the group was formed. I make the extra drive, because they're not just my small group, they're my friends!
Forgive it's disjointed nature, keeping in mind this is a snippet from a journal type entry in my ideas book. The images are all from outings we have done. The flowers are from one of our member's flower garden, where we had the privilege of snipping off whatever we wanted to use in flower pounding. The leaf pendant, I bought when we went to a local Russian Art museum. The pieces, are either from techniques we tried, or challenges we took part in through our guild or set for ourselves.
Are you a member of a small group? Has your guild/group thought of help small groups form, to help encourage each other through projects and challenges? I highly recommend you try one some time!