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The Creative Community

Creative people benefit from being part of a creative community. Forget about the lone artist holed up in an attic. Yes, we need time to work, without interruptions and interference; quiet time to go within, imagine, and play with ideas. But sooner or later, we will want to share, and a supportive community of diverse yet empathetic individuals with whom we can consult and cavort, is enormously helpful. This has been my experience, and although it may not be everyone’s, it is common. If I time travel back to my days at Art College, my peers provided synergy, the sum was greater than the parts. We didn’t always agree, we could be critical as young ego’s bounced off each other, but collectively we created a climate for growth. Eventually we went our separate ways, but those who maintained their connections, shared studios even, fared better than those who lost touch. Anthropologists and sociologists will testify to the importance of ‘tribal’ connection, it runs deep in our DNA, and there is much evidence to support this in popular culture.

I have just joined a group of local artists who have all put their hand up to take part in the 2022 Mansfield Open Studio Trail - As close as rural communities can be, the physical distance can make it harder to connect with others. Initially we ‘Zoom-ed’ for convenience, it being a weeknight, but there will be face to face meeting soon. It was in her Open studio over six years ago that I first met local artist Wendy Jagger. An award-winning ceramicist and painter, Wendy has spearheaded a revival of the Mansfield open studios, her response I believe, to our release from the captivity of Covid lockdowns. It is a group thing, and so the many supporters and sponsors are helping to make this a significant annual community event.

I confess I am excited and frightened by the prospect! I promised myself to take part in 2022, and I now have 10 weeks left to build a body of work worthy of public display! The knowledge that I am not alone, that others have put themselves on the line for their Art, to be seen and be vulnerable - that thought and their company in the weeks to come, will give me the confidence to open my studio door on the weekend the 29th and 30th of October.


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