Typically, my studio is my “bubble” in which I feel safe, and creating art is an important aspect of my emotional well-being.
However, back in May of this year, I felt overwhelmed with the recent situation: racial injustice, the pandemic of Covid-19, and the complete loss of income from my art business. I felt unmotivated and lacking the energy to commit to a regular art practice.
I read many posts on social media of artists expressing the same struggles, the same frustration, the same sense of isolation. So I decided to host a 30-day challenge to celebrate our creativity and move out of the position of uncertainty and feeling stuck, TOGETHER.
It was the first time I was hosting a challenge like this and I was wondering if anyone would even take me up on my offer. I decided that I would call this project a success if 3 people would join me.
Apparently, the wish to create with the support of an online community while we are physically isolated due to the pandemic, resonated. 33 people registered! I was blown away!
Not all who registered ended up participating, and some people dropped out early for health reasons and other life events that required them to change course. On the other hand, some artists were encouraged to create for 30 days without officially participating, but they sent emails or shared their progress with me in Zoom meetings. We all practiced and created, ranging from drawing, painting, cutting fabrics, sewing blocks or entire quilts, practicing free-motion quilting, making art quilts, printing on fabric, hand-stitching and embroidery, digital art, to writing and culinary arts.
The community we formed provided accountability, it offered a safe place to ask questions, give and receive support and feedback, and a space that encouraged everyone to explore a project in greater depth or refine skills even further.
I have learned so much from the participants and their projects! Their commitment to create has encouraged me to spend time in my studio every day. Their work inspires me to pull out my pencils, pens and watercolors, and try something new, just for fun! After spending a month with them, I’m excited again and I have a completely different mindset about my work.
I very much enjoyed the talent, the positivity, and the energy in this group. Together, we re-discovered your own strength and resilience to move forward. That’s the power of synergy!
I will definitely host another challenge in the future so we all can benefit of each other’s compassion and creativity. We are stronger together!
(If you haven’t done so, subscribe to my newsletter! This way you will be in the loop when I announce the next challenge.)
Before and after: I started the challenge with a pile of empty canvases. Throughout June I created 21 small art quilts and mounted them on canvas.
I will add four more to yield a series of 25 pieces, all measuring 6″x6″x1.75″. Once they are all completed, I will share with you the entire series “There Will Always Be Light”.