I've been creating daily 6 inch fabric art squares for 400 days. In 2015, I made 250 squares and today is Day 150 in 2016. I have written 20 weekly articles in my Studio Notes blog in 2016. I love both of these activities and will continue but sometimes you need to make things a little exciting and change it up. My current new project is all about Collaborations. The idea for collaborations just kind of happened to me.
In April 2016, I got a comment on Instagram that someone had posted one of my daily squares on their Instagram account called @quiltylovely. (For all the Instagram accounts I mention in this article, just click on the highlighted name and you will be directed to their Instagram account to check them out for yourself on your laptop or phone even if you do not have an account.) This was exciting and shared my art with a whole new group of people. Then I realized there are many sites like this on Instagram which curate material from other people’s Instagram accounts and then posts it on their account. The curators always give credit to the original artists. I only follow the curated art accounts but I am sure there is a whole world of Instagram accounts based on thousands of topics. This is where the search function of Instagram becomes very useful.
In particular, two curated sites on Instagram that I have followed are @DoItForTheProcess and @CarveOutTimeForArt. At first, I was just drawn to the posts because I really connected with all the artists they selected to share. I also like the idea of focusing on the process and making time for art. These two topics are basically what I write about in this blog every week. Then @CarveOutTimeForArt posted one of my daily squares from my Fire series. So exciting!
Another collaboration happened when a fellow quilt blogger, Debbie Jeske, @quilterstable featured my article What is Creative Flow and How do We Get There? in her fantastic newsletter, The Scrap Basket in April 2016. Several people signed up for my Studio Notes blog weekly articles based on reading my weekly article in her newsletter. I also had way more traffic to my website that week based on her article.
Next, a fellow Instagramer @jimitick sent me a piece of his enso circle calligraphy. We had messaged about our mutual love of Gee’s Bend Alabama quilters. He kindly sent along a small quilt square made by a Gee’s Bend quilter that he got on a visit to Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Swoon. I have it on my desk so I can see it regularly. As a thank you, I sent him one of my daily squares ready to hang. I made sure to send him one that he had liked on Instagram.
This collaboration stuff was getting interesting. Up to this point, I had been rather passive and all this collaborating started happening to me. The next step was a natural one. I reached out to someone I found on Instagram who is interested in supporting creatives to make more art. Her name is Serena and you can find her on Instagram at @sirensfinds and on her website sirensfinds.com. We are in the planning stages of doing a joint blog post and other exciting stuff.
I also have been thinking about reaching out to fellow artists for art swaps. I am just amazed by all the wonderful creative people and their art on Instagram. Collecting art is a recent idea that really has me daydreaming about it. A fellow Instagramer @thewendywolf got me thinking about it when she posted pictures of art she has collected from friends and other artists.
About this time, another fellow quilt artist @wyndedyer who I have been following on Instagram for months posted on Instagram asking if anyone was interested in swapping art. Again, serendipity? Or just clarifying your ideas puts them into motion? Anyway, I reached out to her and we will be doing an art swap this summer. I am making a pillow cover for her with 9 of my 6 inch squares. She is making me one of her wonderful tarp quilts for us to hang outside and enjoy on our patio. Yes, I said tarp quilts. She cuts up tarps in a variety of colors and sews them back together. They are wonderful! I love her design sense. Plus they are waterproof.
Lastly, a friend of mine on Instagram @merel_birdblocks has had some serious health issues. A fellow quilter Hillary, @entropyalwayswins organized a group quilt project where anyone could make a 8 inch quilt square of a bird in flight. She and a helpful crew of others will assemble, quilt and mail the completed quilt to Merel. Quilters have big hearts. I had the pleasure of making Merel's bird out of one of my daily squares from the Sky series.
So why am I writing about this? Sometimes as creators we can get so busy and preoccupied with our own art. Collaborating is a way to get outside of yourself. It enlarges our view of the world. Whatever you give, comes back a hundred fold. But isn’t that how it always goes.
I have only started to scratch the surface of finding more ways to collaborate. Good luck in finding your own ways.
The Sky playlist on Spotify can be found HERE. For each of my series I come up with a music playlist based on the theme. This Sky playlist has one of my favorite songs, Blue Sky by The Allman Brothers and the great album by Jackson Browne Late for the Sky.