The More the Artier and Crazier

The subject line got my attention. So true, I mused. I read the opening bullet headline, got drawn into the article and saved the whole piece to my Evernote account.

You can learn so much by working with others on a piece (or several pieces) of art.” –Cate Prato, Online Editor Cloth Paper Scissors

Collaboration is one of my themes.

I enjoy connections and connecting people. When I apply the principle to my art, I experience new rushes of creativity.

The New Mexico Bead Society treasure hunt is one example.

As a relatively new member of NMBS, I vowed to participate, reminding myself to meet new people and learn more about the organization. (Note to self: Somewhere I read to put energy behind your choices. I did! It works.)

Participants near me during the December meeting welcomed me as an instant team member.

Anne Gross, team leader by virture of the fact she picked up the packet, started the email chain.

Not everyone was pleased with reply all:

“Anne, please delete me from your list, this is very annoying. Thanks”

Five responders emerged from the list of 14. Participants began to check off bingo card items, visit bead stores, and think about a group project.

As leader, Anne excelled in encouraging and welcoming her team members. No finger-pointing if you couldn’t make a team meeting. No ideas rejected.

We proposed (on email) and then embellished. Oh, did we embellish!

The ambitious treasure hunt focused on bead stores, encouraging NMBS members to learn more about their business members.

None of us had a vision for our team project, but we gamely agreed to a Project Day meet. An email, sent at midnight summed it up:

“I think we’ll probably need to design the project based on our team’s theme when we’re together, so bring what ever you feel like would be interesting. No pressure…….. it may be on display at the airport. . I bought some seed beads (8/0) in red, white and black from the bead shops we went to, and some red plastic rose thinking red, black and white stand out from a distance so would have some drama. If anyone has resin that might be helpful as we might want to incorporate the names of the bead shops in our piece. It’s late………to bed!”

On meeting day, one brought magnifiers and another ribbon. Anne created Betty Beader on card stock; someone suggested making Betty the center and the ideas tumbled out: labeling each magnifier with a store name; using beads from every store; combining stringing, wire work and stuff.

Somehow a necklace featuring the items seemed like the perfect solution and a project was born.

Team opportunities, many impromptu, became fun events.

©2013, Finders Beaders Team participants of the day : (L to R) Margo Yee, Ann Gross and Mary Ellen Merrigan

During one team meeting, we had tools of all kinds strewn on the table. Our project featured wire-wrapping, stringing, bead embroidery and more.

©2013, Finders Beaders Team project “In Process”

When we presented the piece at a NMBS meeting, the one word heard across the room was “Crazy!” But it was said in an admiring, kind of awestruck way.

©2013, Finders Beaders Team Project “Betty the Beader”

This eclectic combination of beads reflected the many bead stores in the area, the diversity of team participants and the urgency of a deadline.

The NMBS description says this about its members:

Our members are a diverse group of artists who enjoy beadweaving, stringing, metalworking, silver-smithing, lampworking, fused glass making, enameling, chainmaking, kumihimo, fiber, macrame, polymer clay, precious metal clay, resin, mixed media, lapidary and more. We have artists at all skill levels, from beginners to professional designers.

They got it right. Our team was that and more. Add the collaborative factor and watch out: “Crazy!”

How will you get crazy to up your creativity?