Getting Started in Pattern Design: Tip #3 Finding Community
Last week, in this blog series about my Top 5 Tips for Getting Started in Pattern Design, we covered creating your first repeating pattern. This week’s tip is all about the importance of community.
I’m very passionate about the need for community and the power, support and encouragement that comes from community which is why this topic made it onto my Top 5 Tips list.
Let’s dive into the different kinds of communities available for creatives right now, the ones I currently use and how they have supported me in my reinvention process in my late 50s. As you know from my back story, I got laid off from my fancy corporate job, very unexpectedly, when I was 55. The whole process of reinventing myself was intense and each of the types of communities I’m going to cover in today’s blog were critical to my success in staying sane and in building the joyful and rewarding business that I have now.
The three supportive communities that I’d like you to explore and that I believe can provide you with tremendous encouragement and support in your creative journey are:
· Co-working spaces
· Online Facebook groups, and
· Creative workshops & retreats
Many of us, at this age and stage in our lives are either at home part-time or full-time and working from home can be very lonely. When I was struggling to figure out what to do next in my own life, I happened upon a picture of a beautiful, open and airy co-working space called The Hivery while scrolling through my Facebook feed. The Hivery was founded by Grace Kraaijvanger, and her mission is to provide a safe, supportive and gorgeous environment along with programming focused on empowering women to find their “What’s Next”. It was exactly what I needed to get out of the house, start to explore alternatives for this next stage of my life, and get the encouragement and support of women going through similar transitions. The pictures below are snapshots that I took early one morning before my concierge shift began. It’s gorgeous, right?
Co-working spaces come in many shapes and sizes. Explore what’s available in your area and find one that’s right for YOU. If you can’t afford to join, volunteer like I did on the concierge staff or in another capacity. You’ll meet like-minded people, be able to attend workshops and get your own creative juices flowing. Even if it’s only a few times a week, it sure beats working from home and getting distracted by the laundry or the endless other tasks and errands that keep calling your name. It’s essential, in my mind, to get out, meet new people and interact with them to stay current with what’s happening in your area.
Online Facebook Groups
If you are on my email list or have taken any of my classes, you’ve been invited to join Anne’s Art Club, my private Facebook group. There has been an explosion of Facebook groups in recent years and if you find the right ones, they can be FABULOUS for support, encouragement and a very strong sense of community.
I am a member of several private groups where I feel like I KNOW the people in the group really well, learn from them nearly every day and gain tremendous encouragement and support from them. Three of my favorite groups are:
· Bonnie Christine’s Flourish,
· Dylan Mierzwinski’s Everyday Creatives, and of course
· My own, Anne’s Art Club
I joined Bonnie’s paid membership several years ago and you are granted access to her private Facebook group just so long as you remain a paying, active member. She is an internationally known surface pattern designer and educator living in the foothills of North Carolina. While she is not that active in the group anymore herself, the community is lovely and very supportive of one another.
Dylan’s group, Everyday Creatives, came about at the beginning of 2018 when a whole bunch of Bonnie’s followers decided to do a 100-day challenge. I wrote about the challenge in my blog post called What I Learned From My First 100 Day Challenge. It was a fabulous experience and while I’m not as active in this group as I was during the challenge, I developed wonderful virtual friendships because of it.
My own private Facebook group, Anne’s Art Club, is full of women in my age cohort who are looking for support and encouragement around their own personal creative journey. The group is very active and it’s amazing to be able to serve and support other women from all over the world. I offer free classes inside the group and lead LIVE chats every Wednesday.
Creative Workshops & Retreats
There is, of course, nothing that can replace real personal interaction. Creative workshops and retreats are the perfect way to bring people together from a Facebook group or within your community to interact and get to know each other in person.
The best possible combination right now is online courses paired with in-person retreats. I’m predicting that this combination will become more and more popular not only in the creative space but in other areas as well.
The pictures above are snapshots that I took while at my first creative retreat. One photo, the “grateful” snapshot, was taken by the incredibly talented Callie Lynch who took photographs throughout the retreat. Here’s what I liked most about my recent experience at this retreat held at The Prairie at Round Top, Texas.
· It was very relaxed. The agenda was not overly engineered. There was plenty of time to just enjoy being in a beautiful place with interesting people who you knew online but hadn’t met in person before.
· It wasn’t too big. There were about 38 people which felt very manageable. I’m an introvert and need time to recharge my batteries after being social and participating in meet and greet type situations. The small number of attendees was also great because we could all disappear into our rooms if need be and the place never felt crowded.
· Every detail was perfectly attended to. The beds were comfortable and the bathrooms were updated and fresh looking. The food was delicious with vegan options that addressed everyone’s needs. The flowers in the great barn where we ate our dinners were beautiful yet simple and not over done. It was gorgeous!
Please explore these types of communities and find one or more that provide the support and encouragement that you need in your creative journey. Reach out and leave me a comment about which one you’ll try first! I’d love to hear from you.
I look forward to sharing Tip #4 with you next week. And until then, remember:
It’s Never Too Late to Create
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My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation living in, and traveling to, beautiful environments in the United States and abroad.