Connecting and Community

Isn’t it annoying when the start of the year rolls around and you don’t have a perfect plan in place? Even though the calendar is a random construct, we’ve been conditioned to turn the page, review the year, and begin again. On time, dammit! 

Well, that is not how this year started for me, let me tell you. On the one hand, things are moving along nicely. I have wonderful studio mates in a comfortable work space, and a supportive gallerist, things I’ve been working towards for years. On the other hand — what now? I’ve spent the last few weeks reading everyone else’s plans, to see what I could crib. Here’s what I found, and settled on. 

Hold the Course

An option that took a while to percolate up was the classic British crutch: keep calm & carry on. If last year was good, why not just keep doing much the same? I am so used to making course corrections, big & small, that this really did not occur to me as a choice in itself for quite a while. I had to hear it from others, and ponder a bit, but I think it’s actually a plan. Go to the studio, show work, connect with the art community: got it!

Reach Out

Another possible plan for the year might have started last month, when I thought about the goals for my open studio hours. Real success for my open house, I decided, was connections with others — artists, friends, neighbors. Sales are wonderful validation, but conversation and commonality are lasting ties. I did see quite a few people out during the holiday events, and got in touch with others I’d been meaning to contact. Now my January is full of lunch and coffee dates, art walks and openings, leading to more renewed connections and contacts in the city.

Take a Class

I do get a lot of benefit, and community, out of workshops, so I like to have at least one lined up for the year. Thanks to a friend’s post on social media, I found one early!

Collage exercise by Liz Ruest
An exercise from the #2019YearoftheCollage class

Carla Sonheim’s 2019 Year of the Collage is online, with a very achievable structure. Lessons every two weeks continue all year, participants are all over the globe, and there’s lots to think about. Follow along with us using this Instagram tag: #2019yearofthecollage.

There you have it, my direction for the year, cobbled together from bits and pieces, and slowly being put into place. Starting a bit late, with the first Ballard art walk of the year, I met up with another artist, lucking in on a lovely store, Camelion. We found not only excellent curation and good conversation, but this gem of a book: Belong, which confirms my direction perfectly. Its tag line is “Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life.” Sounds like a plan! What’s yours?

Chime in!