Posted by Peg in South Carolina
Robert Genn of the twice-weekly newsletter called Painter’s Keys wrote a letter in response to a woman who wanted to know what to do because her small art group had broken up. Here is a part of that letter. When he talks about artists, think weavers.
The main reasons artists congregate into groups are friendship, education and opportunity. Groups ebb and flow with the increase or diminishment of any of these. I've noticed that many artists actually bloom when they abandon clubs....Artists thrive when they learn to stand on their own two feet. They often find it easier to access their own inner creativity, build a unique style, and activate the latent ego-force that's necessary for growth.
This was the part of the letter I responded most to because it described so accurately what has happened to me.
Like the woman who wrote Genn, I felt lost and adrift when we moved to an area with no weaving guilds within a relatively close distance. (By close, I mean within an hour-and-a-half drive, which is about how far the Atlanta guild was from me). I looked at two relatively large guilds in this general area. But their distance was such that I felt I would have to arrive the day before and stay overnight, in the case of the one, or arrive the day of the meeting and stay overnight before returning home. That was disappointing.
So I tried a small guild that was two hours away. After a year I realized that the two-hour drive was not worth it for me. That guild offered little to enrich my own education. Moreover, it was too far away from me to work with members on helping the guild to grow
I then spent a few months feeling guilty about dropping out of the guild and also looking into once again guilds at a greater distance. This second look at those larger guilds showed me that they just didn’t have much to offer me. And the distance was just too great for any real guild involvement. Maybe, just maybe, I began to think, I had outgrown the need for a guild.
I started reflecting on the weaving I was doing here, isolated as I was from other weavers. I began to realize how content I had become with my weaving life. And finally, finally I realized that this move so far away from the guild that had helped to grow me as a weaver, was really a good thing. I was beginning to grow and flourish in ways that probably would never have happened had we remain in Georgia. Indeed, remaining in Georgia would probably have been a true road block in my weaving life. At the same time, , however, had it not been for the Georgia experience, I would not be the weaver I am today.
I have no weaving friends now. But I have friends and enjoyable non-weaving activities. And the weaving friends I have retained from the past are not really weaving friends at all; they are friends.
Perhaps this is the healthy way to be? Perhaps I have simply been able to turn a situation I was unhappy with into a situation I am happy with. If this is the case, I am very grateful.
To read Genn’s whole piece, go here.