What struck me when I walked around the sculpture exhibition in Chichester Cathedral a few weeks ago was not just the variety of the work, but the way the sculptors had supported each other, especially over lockdown. Working on creative projects can be lonely at times, and it can be tempting to give up, so a strong support network is a great blessing. The title of the Chichester exhibition seemed apt: "Together we rise."
It got me thinking about how I have benefitted from the encouragement and inspiration offered by other creatives...
I have run a creativity group for many years. The "Creative Communicators" originally started as a writers' group, but soon extended to other creative projects. Catching up with my friends over Zoom and sometimes in person is one of the highlights of my month. We talk about life and our various projects and support each other through prayer and the sharing of resources.
The group's input on my paintings has often helped me to flesh out what I want to communicate. Their support has also been invaluable for writing projects, for example a book about climbing Kilimanjaro, which my husband John and I wrote together, and my "Treasures in the darkness" booklet, which is e-mailed to new subscribers.
Here in the UK, there are also the networking and learning opportunities offered by local art societies. I am currently a member of both the Petersfield Arts and Crafts Society and Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society. Members can participate in exhibitions and other society events (outings, workshops, demonstrations).
I have also just discovered that there is a "show and tell" evening for artists on the first Thursday of most months at Gallery 30 on Petersfield High Street, which is within walking distance for me.
However, thanks to the internet, it is easy to connect with creatives in other parts of the world. I always enjoy finding out how other creatives work. I have to be disciplined and limit my input or I would never get any of my own work done!
Here are some UK resources I have found helpful:
UK artists Louise Fletcher and Alice Sheridan explore all aspects of life as an artist/creative in their Artjuice podcast . The podcasts are often very practical.
Michelle Lloyd from "United Art Space" currently runs her free workshops on a framework that can help artists make a living from their art. You can still sign up . The workshops finish on 16th September. Michelle also has a practical podcast. There are also some paid membership/course options.
Kate Green's Art & Soul Together can be joined for free on Facebook. Her focus is on expressing the Christian faith through creativity.
I do not get paid for any of these recommendations, but just wanted to spread the word as a thank you to these artists who share generously and honestly about their creative journeys. I have learned something from all of them.
I am aware that these suggestions are based on my interests and circumstances, but I hope they will give you some ideas where you might be able to find support and inspiration. Please do share your ideas.
I will share further thoughts on how we can support each other in next week's blogpost.