Interacting with other artists is absolutely essential for you to grow as a creative person.

Several years ago I joined a local quilt guild and from the moment I walked through the doors I knew it was something special.  Over 100 quilters in one room is quite the amazing site.  But as much as I loved the meetings and consider myself an official card carrying “guildy,” I needed an edgier group.

Note:  In a future post I will talk about how I discovered quilting and the differences between traditional quilting and art quilting.

Through this local quilt guild, I joined a smaller group of 30 art quilters and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.  Every time I leave a meeting, I’m revitalized and full of ideas.  And it really doesn’t matter if I’m drawn to a fellow member’s work or not, I learn from each one of these talented women in some way or another.

From that small art quilters group, I joined a group of five women who meet monthly.  Smaller groups are beneficial because they are intimate and you can get more feedback and support on your pieces. It’s also enjoyable to have a relaxed get-together without any agenda items!

interaction

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski. For more information, visit his flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

This interaction and engagement with others has helped me increase my skill level, hone in my ideas and feel more confident about my work.  Remember, we’re probably not the best in our field whether it be painting or art quilts, writing or making jewelry, fashion design or knitting.  We may be good, very good, but there is always something to be learned from someone else.  I’m a big supporter of joining groups or clubs and I think it stems from my experiences living in New York City.  In an area of 8 million, it’s sometimes hard to meet people.  I joined meetups, book clubs, political clubs, art groups, etc. to connect with others at an individual level.  It can take time to find the right fit but the payoff can be wonderful!

Many of us are a little nervous of meeting new people.  We don’t like rejection typically. Though I support joining groups and meeting other artists, it doesn’t mean I’m the type of person who thrives walking into rooms full of people I don’t know.  That is so not me!  I have self-doubt too but I’m a creative so it goes with the territory.  For instance, I’m starting a class this semester where we will work in groups. This kind of makes me nervous because what if no one wants me in their group?  Of course, this is silly and I’ll end up enjoying the course.

I titled this blog post Interaction and Engagement in the New Year because I want to challenge all creatives out there or at least any creative person who reads this blog, to dip their toes in the water of uncertainty and meet another creative person.  If you’re a painter and are feeling a bit isolated then go to the next gallery opening and talk to other painters.  Of course, there is always that element of competition which many artists possess that might make them seem standoffish.  Well, just stay away from those people!  There are plenty of others who would love to share their experiences as artists. We are out there, believe me!

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