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August 25, 2006

wishes & fishes

by gl. at 10:35 pm

on wednesday we hosted the Fabulous End-of-Summer August Art Swap! i wanted people to give & get "new" art supplies for free. i figured people would be able to find good homes for the things that no longer inspire them and discover new treasures at the same time. i had it brewing in the back of my head for a while, but finally decided that if i waited until i figured out all the details, it would never happen, so i took the opportunity of our early august canadian trip and the upcoming artist's way creative clusters to create a new, fun, unusual event for us.

anyway, it was great! the studio swelled with art supplies and generous hearts. we got some new attendees out to the studio for this event, too! there were some amazing finds representing a wide range of arts, and i tucked homegrown tomatoes from the studio garden fairies into leftover gift bags i had been hoarding for years. i also managed to pass out flyers for the artist's way creative clusters and the general events flyer. we even had pizza!

since this was the first art swap i've ever held, the timing was a little off and i could have used even more space for people to swarm the goods when the time came. but i got a couple of details really right:

  1. i created little tags for people to fill out for the items that had stories attached to them or that had non-obvious functions. this gave people something to do when coming in and really made the items more personable during the swap. "what is it? why is it here?"

  2. but the biggest success was born from my main concern for this event, which was "how am i going to keep people in the studio for longer than 30 minutes?" i mean, how long does it take to drop stuff off and sort through a table of odds & ends?

    i've been watching the TEDtalks and am inspired by the presenters who have been granted a TEDprize. more specifically, i'm fascinated by the concept of granting someone a "wish" which everyone listening promises to help make come true by donating time, resources, money, expertise, or connections to make it possible. later i realized i've probably also been influenced by wishcraft & dayna's description of wishweavers.

    but the TED concept is what prompted the major activity of the evening, which is choosing a wish to share with others. as artists, these are the kinds of conversations we should be having! we don't know who among us will be able to help, but someone will if we wish loudly enough & often enough. but first you have to wish so people can hear it. :) so while waiting for everyone to arrive, i asked people to create nametages that also included an "implausible wish or desire" --- and then talk with each other about them, each person having a chance to wish and listen. this turned out even better than i hoped because it gave us a reason to talk about what we want rather than the typical small talk about what we do. at 8 p.m. we paused before the swap to introduce ourselves and our wishes so that everyone would have a chance to hear them. there was so much good feedback we went longer than i expected, but it was an amazing bonding experience.

so these are some of the wishes people had. can you help make any of one of them come true?

grand & ephemeral

places & spaces

jobs & such

this was a wonderful way to wrap up summer and look forward to fall. the studio can't absorb the remainders from another art swap for at least a year (though collage fairies shouldn't be shy about intermittent donations!), but i'm going to check in w/ wednesday's dreamers in three months and see what we've done to make each other's dreams come true.

while not everything was totally perfect, i really thought it went pretty well. though there are always improvments & tweaks to be made for next time, my only regret is that i didn't get that many pictures, and the ones I did get were thanks to sven (thanks, sven!). so if you want to see a few pictures, they're at the meetup site.

now to begin promotion for the artist's way creative clusters that begin sept12! (and if i had a second wish, it would be that both the tuesday night & wednesday morning clusters would have enough participants to run this term! so pass along that link to anyone you think would benefit from a dedicated creative group like this. :)

posted by gl. | August 25, 2006 10:35 PM | categories: artist's way