To those who don’t really do art, craft and design it can seem rather perplexing to meet people who love being creative, but don’t actually get on and do it. If making something gives you a sense of fulfilment and not making something leaves you feeling guilty and miserable, why not just get on and MAKE SOMETHING?
Well, somehow it’s not quite as simple as that. I definitely love making things, but somehow I manage to fill my time doing anything and everything but making.
So when I saw an advert last summer for a coffee morning for ‘recent art graduates who have made very little art and are crushed by guilt’, I booked myself a place and went along.
The coffee morning was held in the studio space above the Philadelphia Street gallery in Cabot Circus, in the centre of Bristol. It was organised by Rosa Eaton, a local artist who was based in the studio space as part of an 8-week residency of the New Collective (an artist led project to bridge the gap between the educational and professional setting for emerging artists and arts professionals). Rosa was running a series of three coffee mornings, which were described as a chance for guilty art graduates to meet, increase their confidence, and grow and their support network through art exercises, discussion, inspiration, beverages and homemade baked goods.
The coffee morning provided a great opportunity to get together with other creative people and share experiences – of frustration and success – in our various endeavours. As most of us were working alone in the pursuit of our creative goals, the session provided a rare opportunity to collaborate, even if it was only on one of the fun exercises that Rosa asked us to do!
At the end of the coffee morning, we were each given maps of the Bristol area and asked to make a mark at one location. The maps were then handed in and redistributed, with the request that we go to the place marked on our map and spend around 2 hours making some art. The idea was that, before the next coffee morning in a fortnight’s time, we stopped procrastinating and got on with something. This was certainly the kind of ‘kick up the bum’ that I needed!
I was away for the second coffee morning, but managed to attend the third and final session, arriving with the work that I did manage to do at the location on my map. The simple fact of having to show someone what you have achieved makes me much more likely to make a decision about doing a piece of work. When working alone it is so easy to think of several possible projects, but fail to do any of them!
Thankfully Rosa was keen to run more of the coffee mornings and the first of these took place in a new location in the gallery space at Hamilton House on Stokes Croft on 11th January 2014. Lots of people came along to meet one another, swap stories, make connections, and have a drink and one of Rosa’s lovely chocolate brownies.
After introductions were done and everyone had shared information about their work, we took part in a creative exercise. First we were asked to write a word (an adjective or feeling) on a piece of paper and hand it back to Rosa. Next we were asked to draw marks on large piece of paper to express each of the words as Rosa read them out. The results were very inspiring!
At the end of the session, homework (the ‘super fun art task’) was set – the results of which will be shared at the next coffee morning on 25th January (11.30-1.00) at Hamilton House.
For more information about the recent art graduates who have made very little art and are crushed with guilt coffee mornings, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/guiltycoffeemornings and send a message to Rosa to let her know that you are interested.