Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The SEFAA art community

There's a stereotype out there of the artist as loner, starving and suffering, toiling away in solitude with only the Muse for company.  It's really a myth, as I have yet to meet any such artist.  The most successful artists I know are deeply engaged with an art community.  (Note I said an art community not the art community or worse, The Art World.  There are multiple art worlds and art communities, and one of the artist's most important tasks is to find the one that suits him or her best.  You gotta pick which sandbox you want to play in.)

Art marketing guru Alyson Stanfield recently wrote a post entitled "Nestle into Your Artist Community."  She did great job listing five benefits of finding (or starting) your own artistic tribe to "nestle" into (love that choice of verb):  Connection, Engagement, Education, Empathy and Encouragement.  She quite rightly pointed out that while most of us work in solitude to make our work, we do need to emerge from our art caves and connect with others.  Our work, our selves, and our world are better, healthier, stronger when artists are engaged with the larger community.  And as is so often the case, we may join a community initially to get benefits for ourselves, but when we step up to donate our time and treasure we get so much more.

Alyson's post reminded me of how Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (SEFAA) in Atlanta has come to be that community for me.  There I have found common cause with a wide range of artists who work with fiber.  I've found a place for companionship at Lunchtime Fiber (every Tuesday and Thursday from 10-2, except for this holiday week.  I'm hosting the July 14 gathering at SEFAA).  I've found a sales outlet for the work I make at the annual Artist's Sale (Nov. 5-6 this year), and opportunities for exhibit in the Square Foot Fiber Art Pin-Up show.

I love shopping for gently used tools and supplies at the annual Fiber Flea Market (August 14). Tables for sellers are already sold out, but buyers can come and shop for free.  And I can count on SEFAA to offer up the latest fiber art in exhibitions, including the recent Spotlight on Student Trends, and 2015's great biennial juried show, Intertwined.

Selected work from Spotlight on Student Trends

Among the most important things SEFAA does is Education.  There's a really outstanding lineup of workshops coming up in the next few months.  Click HERE and then on the drop down menus under the red tab Classes/Workshops/Tours for each month's offerings.  There's truly something for everyone, no matter what their medium or interest.  In October, Jim Arendt, the Best in Show winner at Intertwined, is offering a workshop on working with old denim that looks really exciting.

Work by Jim Arendt

And ahem, I myself am halfway through teaching the series on Design I've been offering at SEFAA this summer.  This Sunday, July 10, we will consider Composition--the arrangement of shapes, lines, colors, and so on that form the visual world of a piece of art.  We'll consider balance, focal point (or lack of), classic compositional formats, and how to use (and not use) a photograph as a source of inspiration.  On July 17 we'll wrap up the series with a look at the Design Process:  From Inspiration to Road Map. We'll delve more deeply into what to expect when you take that flash of inspiration and mold it into a finished work of art.  (Spoiler alert:  As Edison said, it's only 1% inspiration.  But it can still be really fun!)  There's still space in both classes, so come join us!

Martha Myers, one of the students in the recent Pattern & Rhythm Design module, posted a very nice account of her experience in the class.  It's so gratifying when students find the classes worthwhile.  For me, teaching in a fiber community like SEFAA nourishes and refreshes my artistic spirit.

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