The Collaborheartists stand in front of Studio Spirit, a group creative project.

Group Creative Projects Demand Consensus or Not

Group Creative Project Shows Consensus

The Collaborheartists stand in front of Studio Spirit, a group creative project.
©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, “Studio Spirit” by CollaborheARTists: Pat Moorman, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Frances Starnes, Cindy Chavez, Mary Rothman

Group creative projects require a commitment of a different sort. Strong-minded, creative individuals must be willing to put ideas on the table for discussion. Compromise is involved. Creative direction becomes a collaborative affair.

An instant gratification world honors the present with little regard for history. So it’s no surprise this picture of the Collaborheartists in front of “Spirit Woman” fails to communicate long-term development.

Like many group projects, Studio Spirit began impulsively. I’ve posted before about Collaborheartists, and we have produced other projects. In this post I discuss Studio Spirit.

More than a year ago, we decided to create a Studio talisman. It was an exercise in communication as much as creativity. Our first attempt did not communicate the collective imaginings.

This is the first rendition of Spirit Woman.
©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Studio Spirit Woman#1

We learned quickly to put our ideas more clearly on the table. Consensus made our project better.

Similarly, class projects are often influenced by those in attendance. On Saturday, I participated in a small class at the Fiber Arts Fiesta.

Seven of us gathered to make an art doll. Three of us included: Pat Moorman, one of the Collaborheartists, Kristen Parrott, a fellow Amapola Gallery member and me.

Instructor Yoka Roos, an expert doll creator, walked us through the project.

Even though we had separate projects, consensus happened. The similar process went more quickly. Our comfort levels depended on our background. The sculptor proved adept at engineering the body of her doll. Another participant immediately coordinated beads and fiber into a design palette.

Out of context. the class questions and comments seem hilarious.

“Does this look ok?”

“I like that. How did you get it so stiff?”

“Where’s my needle?”

“Can I change this red bead for something else?”

“I prefer symmetry to randomness.”

In our Art Doll class, each participant created a five inch doll from small beads and fiber. As is frequently the case, the techniques we discovered will evolve. (NOTE to self: Don’t sign up for the doll society meetings.)

Three participants and the instructor for the Art Doll Class.
©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Art Doll Class with Kristen Parrott, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Instructor Yoka Roos, and Pat Moorman

The results were fascinating. Each person’s doll reflects a different personality. Yoka shared her knowledge of fibers and materials as well as her encouraging comments about our efforts.

In all, it was a different type of concensus: we played. A good time was had by all.

This is the art doll Mary Ellen Merrigan created in the group creative project.
©2015, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Art Doll

Will you use a group creative project to study consensus in your art?

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