How Do You Expand Your Art?

Each of us has the same 24-hours. We also have opportunities within our field, within our networks, and within ourselves to stretch. So, how are you stretching?

In a quick mind map sort of way I jotted nine resources.


©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Resources Mind Map

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Resources Mind Map


I then challenged myself to add three specifics to each category.

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Mind Map ME Resources

©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Mind Map ME Resources

Here’s a look at my resources.

My bookshelf is crammed. Every chair hosts a reading stack. The three “must reads” I’m enjoying this month include New Mexico author Maggie Macnab’s “Decoding Design: Discover the hidden meanings inside common corporate logos and designs;” This book complements “On Body and Soul: Contemporary Armour to Amulets,” by Suzanne Ramljak; and a creativity overview, “Creativity Cure: Making Things With Your Two Hands” by Carrie and Alton Barron.

Learning events include the Tucson Bead and Gem Show, Bead Fest Santa Fe, and Fiber Arts Fiesta. At each event I look for opportunities to connect with new vendors, renew acquaintances with old favs and catalyze new ideas. My little notebook is everpresent.

Laura Gasparrini of Om Tara set a high bar and remains one of my favorite instructors. (See my 2014 post about a high standard to emulate.) I look forward to participating in 2015 sessions with nationally known bead weaving expert Heidi Kimmli and silversmith Dale ‘Cougar’ Armstrong.

Local Organizations:
Amapola Gallery, an artist cooperative to which I belong and New Mexico Bead Society are the two organizations to which I devote my time. In my mind, participating means just that. I show up and do my part to help the organization move forward.

Interweave offers an extensive collection of jewelry and art newsletters to which I subscribe. In addition, my other favorites include Todd Henry’s Friday release, Accidental Creative and Mari Smith’s weekly Facebook and social media update. In between I add a variety of short-term offerings for specific purposes. For instance, I’m now enjoying Ryan McRae’s online newsletter/email course on presentations.

By far, my “go-to” art magazine is “American Craft.” It’s always crammed with news and ideas and its articles and reviews stimulate other reading or connections for me. I read it cover to cover soon after it arrives. In addition, I enjoy “Success” Magazine, especially the bonus audio that travels with me. I also skim several beading magazines as well as Fast Company which keeps me posted on the business world.

You get the idea. Ask around. My challenge to you is to fill in your own resource mind map.

How will you expand in 2015?