Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It takes a village...

...to sustain an artist.
I have learned that community is the key to happiness. The best times of my life have been when I am surrounded by people with common interests and I feel a part of something larger than myself. Playing softball, going to collage, the Peace Corps, studying abroad and parenthood have all offered a sense of belonging and enabled me to blossom because I have had support, guidance and a stronger sense of self.
Today, I feel that same sense of contentment because I finally have an art community. I now see that over the last five years, I have unknowingly been trying to manifest a tribe. I realize that my scrapbooking kit business, the store last summer, my studio, teaching at Michaels, etc. were all efforts to bring my passion into the forefront of my life. To legitimize my need for artistic expression. I was using my business ventures to make me feel like I am an artist. Despite my efforts, I still felt turmoil about my artistic abilities and my "place" in this aspect of my life. I had security and stability in my marriage, as a parent, colleague and friend yet the indescribable va-va-voom derived from creative expression was shadowed with a loneliness I could not understand.

Today, this is not the case. Today, I have a tribe and I feel more at ease with my craft than ever before. My abilities have not changed that much and my arsenal of tools and materials remain the same but I finally feel REAL - just like the Velveteen Rabbit - and it is all because I have my peeps. :o) I have a village of creative souls and they have loved me REAL.

This tribe did not just appear over night but it was just last week when I realized that I was a part of it. Let me tell you why...

One of the dearest friends I have in the whole world is Corvus. Our friendship began because we both love to play with crayons :o). So last week she came over to do some "show and tell" (every few weeks we get together to share what we have been working on and any new techniques, tools, products we have discovered). It was an incredible visit and I was in awe of how her work has evolved! I couldn't show her what I've been up to because I had been working on her birthday present (below).

A few days later I arrived home to discover a RAK from my inspired goodie bag partner - as if she hadn't already given me enough! She had sent me a mini album in a tin and a class kit of a project she loved! Hello - I was feeling the love from across the continent - Thank you Amiee - I can't wait to meet you!!
All the while, my Simply Obsessed design challenge partner and I were working on our layout together via email. We were asked to each create one side of a 2 page layout from the provided sketch. The goal was to achieve cohesion. Here is what we did (I still need to add my journaling)

And finally, I met with my Valentine swap partner from Studio Calico. We are both local so we got together for coffee which was such a wonderful time! She spoiled me ROTTEN - check out this goodie bag:

Thank you soooooooooooo much Lisa. I can't wait for our scrapbooking date in March and I REALLY hope you consider going to Inspired!
I feel so much gratitude for the generosity and fellowship I have from so many talented people. I love sharing, learning and exploring with all of you. I hate to sound like a goofball but I can't help myself - you complete me.

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