I wrote the following blog post as a Lead Brand Ambassador for Fiskars back in September of 2011. I can't remember if I blogged about it at the time here on my personal blog but I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I don't want to lose this piece so I thought I'd repost it here because I believe it more now, over a year later, than I did even as I wrote it. I want to remember this and continue to push my creative boundries.:
I don't have a fun photo or video to post but this is probably the most personal I've been in a blog post in a long time so it's gonna be a long one...
A few months ago, I added a blog post here about my goal of trying to create the artistic community I wish I lived in. I have had amazing opportunities to travel as a Lead Fiskateer and I can't help but wish I lived everywhere I've been that has a rich, creative network of people. I've felt that way meeting hundreds of crafters in Seattle, Porland Oregon, Austin Texas, the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California (among many other places). What I set out to develop this year was a creative community here in my town- Reno, NV. What I am learning is that there are ALWAYS creative people. Everywhere. Yes, even in your small community. You just might not have as many people as the communities I've visited but I just know there are people just like us waiting to be found. Here's how I have found creative people in my "biggest, little city" and evolved a little bit as a crafter:
1) Realizing I wanted to find creative people was the first step for me. It was also helpful to tell other people this was my goal. I got a lot of unexpected help in my quest. Up until this year, I spent a lot of time wishing I lived somewhere else. This year, I decided to try and make this a city I'd want to move to if I didn't already live here.
2) If you see someone who looks creative or is doing something creative or even wearing something creative, stop and ask them about themselves. Creative people like each other. We just do. Most of us are happy to meet kindred spirits. Many of us are hoping you'll make the first move.
3) Let other people's creativity inspire you. After going through steps #1 and a ot of step number #2, I have met the most interesting creative people. In January, Lynne Bruning of www.lbruning.com approached me at CHA because she recognized a kindred spirit in me when she saw me in my orange vintage prom gown. She suggested I meet her friend Jessica of www.loveandtrash.com right here in Reno, a meeting that went so well it inspired me to stop in at Nancy Nelson's store and visit her blog http://artistreestudio.blogspot.com/. Meeting Nancy (and her business partner Missy) and Jessica inspired all of us to work together to create a small, inexpensive event to which we each invited people creative people we knew from town so that we could all meet each other. This is where I met Dusty of www.dustycouture.com. They are all amazingly creative and talented. Just not in ways that I am. I am primarily a fairly conventional paper crafter, they're doing upcycling and couture design. But I have loved meeting them and I feel very inspired by their passion for what they do. Even if I'm not necessarily able to duplicate their particular projects, we still speak the same language.
4) Open your mind to creative events that are outside of what you normally do. For years, I have watched as fascinating people come to Reno in August in preparation for the nearby, week-long event that is all about "radical self-expression." I always wished I could go see what is going on there. This year, I decided to quit wishing and just plan it and just do it. I spent a week at Burning Man and loved it- the art and the costumes were amazing. I also decided to find out what Maker Faire is all about so I volunteered to work there this year- so inspiring. In August, I attended BlogHer and met amazing, interesting women who blog about things besides crafting (who knew?!) I am attending Art & Soul in Portland next week which is a little more what I'm used to but still a bit more on the "arty" side. To round out my year of evolving as a crafter, I have been invited to attend the Holiday Symposium at Colonial Williamsburg in November (any Virginia Fiskateers want to join me there?). This means by year's end, I will have experienced a full range of creative expression all the way from radical artistic self-expression to the classic crafting roots of our nation.
I am still assimilating all that I have learned in the past 9 months. I don't expect that many Fiskateers would have the time to go to as many things as I've attended this year (and I'm going to freely admit that a lot of this journey was based on me being a tad bit freaked out that I was turning 40- call it a mini/creative midlife crisis if you'd like) but I want to inspire you to think about doing something small. Look for creative shops in town. Make friends there. Notice flyers for kooky events- go to one if you can. If you can't afford an event, ask if you can volunteer there. I have gotten more out of volunteering at events this year than I think I would if I went as just an attendee. Look at some creative blogs that are different than what you generally look at. If you're like me, this won't necessarily change your style but it might be a nice recharge to your creativity and you might just feel inspired to try something a little bit, a tiny bit new. And don't forget to share your new finds with your Fiskateer friends so we can be inspired by what you are doing too.
So, are you with me? Are you ready to try something new? Expose yourself to something different and maybe just a little outside your creative comfort zone? Share your resolution with me. Tell me what you plan to do, see or who you'd like to meet. Sometimes just taking that first step and stating your intention will put you on the road to a little creative evolution. And having someone who is here to cheer you on never hurts when you're taking those first creative steps outside of your usual comfort zone. I'm cheering already.