Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Social Crafting

A here.  Although I’ve been absent from the blog for a while, making and creating has never been far from my mind.  I’ve been working on commissioned projects for friends and family and planning some bigger things for our new house.  One of the major perks to having our own place has been the ability we’ve had to expand our studio and share our space with others.  One of my first goals once in the new place was to host a craft day for the women of my family.  I set a date and promised myself that the new house would be presentable in time.  Deadlines are always a good motivator!

For my family, coming together to craft isn’t a particularly new idea.  Several years ago, my mother and aunt created a yearly celebration of my grandmother’s life called Barbara’s Tea Arts.  All the women of our family meet once a year to celebrate my late grandmother, socialize, drink tea and swap art projects.  The art projects each year are themed around one of my grandmother’s paintings, photos, or other items that represent her life.  We each work on our piece throughout the year (or the week before in my case) and bring it to the tea to swap for another woman’s art.  It’s a beautiful tradition and an excellent reason to see each other outside of the stressful times like Christmas.

Tea Arts Projects 2010, based on B.Anderson's Sunflower watercolor
After a few years of meeting to exchange artwork, we realized that what we’d really love to try is getting together periodically to make art.  Now we meet every couple of months at a different house to spend an afternoon making something, anything, and sharing tips and tricks of our various mediums.  We’ve planted herbs in antique teacups, filled canvases with mixed media, and this month I hosted everyone at our new home to make porcelain and stone tile coasters.

Tea Arts Projects 2014, based on B.Anderson's jewelry
Here’s the best part about a craft party – it’s just like any other party!  We socialize, eat, drink and are quite merry!  As a bonus, we all go home with something creative and we all get to learn from one another.  I also love that it allows me to further our message of crafting a lifestyle.

This month’s project really brought out everyone’s individuality, which you can see in the photos of the group’s projects below.  We all used the same medium to create unique messages and designs.  We supported one another and helped when one or another became frustrated with misbehaving stamps or bubbles under our graphics.  We also enjoyed eating party foods that led to shared recipes and appreciation of seasonal foods.  Overall, it was thoroughly fulfilling, and almost everyone left the event discussing their newly inspired motivation to keep creating when they got home.

Coasters 2014
I guess the purpose of sharing this with all of you is to encourage you to try socially crafting.  Working together on separate projects leads to community building, brainstorming, mutual learning experiences, and an increased appreciation for individuality.  Hosting such an event in your home is cheaper and more freeing than signing up for a wine and painting night at a local shop or gallery.  It also allows you to make something that caters to your interests and abilities.  Because, face it, some of us are terrible with a brush and canvas!  Try it out, share the love of making something new in the world, and let us know how it went.  We would love to see similar images of your sea of creativity below.

Teacup Herb Gardens 2014, using teacups, saucers and silver spoons from the family collectibles

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