Inevitably at some point leading up to the weekend, a friend will ask me what I’m up to. I usually rattle off a few things and then I mention that I have art day. Then comes the inquiry. “What’s art day?” Well, art day was borne out of a few friends getting together for a weekend afternoon to work on art projects. It originally served as a supportive gathering for one of the members of the group that was dealing with cancer at the time. I wasn’t there for the early days of art day, but now it’s a part of my weekend activities.
It’s interesting how the practice of anything coupled with repetition and support can feel so great. While I get to design for my clients during the week, the making of art, which is more personal is extremely rewarding. It reignites aspects of my creativity that otherwise reside in a state of dormancy. It also reminds me of the younger me that used to make things all the time, because it felt more natural than anything.
Surprisingly, making art has helped to improve the design work that I do for my clients by exercising my creativity. (It’s very much like a muscle that needs disciplined flexing). Aside from that, it’s just pure fun! Our group of lady-friends (4-5 of us) show up with food and treats to keep each other going for the 3-5 hours that we’re together. Every weekend there’s lots of laughter, intimate stories shared and tons of support. We also share a lot of collective gratitude to be a part of something that brings each of us so much happiness.
Our projects span a variety of crafts and techniques from working on mosaics to collage, creating transfers, glazing pots, Alabama Chanin stitching, zentangling and the list goes on and on. The group is so enthusiastic that it can be challenging to pick a single craft/project to work on from week to week. What’s interesting is that not all of our individual efforts are a success every time and some projects are a total flop. Nevertheless it’s more about trying than achieving flawless results. We also end up teaching one another in areas that one of us may have more experience.
Now that we’ve been doing art day for a few years, other friends have asked to join us. While we occasionally invite a new person to participate as a one-off experience, we decided that our small group works best. What none of us could have anticipated is that there’s a bond and alchemy that’s been developed and nurtured through our getting together and sharing of our lives. Within that space exists a specialness that can shift when new people come into the mix. It just doesn’t seem to work as well.
What I do get excited about is encouraging others to start their own art day. It doesn’t take much. A little space, a work table and shared art supplies along with some research to figure out what projects to work on. Oh and enthusiasm is an absolute must! The library or the gagillion blog sites devoted to crafting, makers and DIYers provide an endless opportunity for creating.
Then there’s always Pinterest…all I can say is that it’s a Pandora’s box of access to creativity! The tricky bit can be in figuring out which handful of people to pair together who will show up consistently and possess an alchemy that works. That formation might take some time and the first grouping might have to shift and contract or expand to get the right mix of people together. I used to think that art day was an experience enjoyed more by women than men, but in talking about it with friends, I’m surprised at how intrigued men are by the idea as well. I guess what stays a constant is that we’re all wanting to be a part of a community that offers support and allows us an avenue of expression. Essentially, a chance to connect with the things that make us feel alive and joyful.