Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m always jealous when someone comments about what their “art group” did in the last meeting. There are no art groups in my area and I really want to be part of one! So, a handful of artistic buddies created one ourselves!

We are a diverse mix. Dixie is a photographer and painter, Gail is an altered-book artist, Susan is a graphic artist, Christine, Carol, and I are quilters, Lori jumps right into any of it, and Amy has her own kiln (although she teaches painting and works in many media)!

We take turns hostessing the group and planning the project. There is usually a lot of giggling and occasionally a serious discussion of art matters, such as the state budget cuts for art education and grants.

Amy introduced us to clay. What a step out of the comfort zone it was for some of us (meaning me). I think in fabric, and clay has a totally different philosophy.

Amy made it all work and we all felt like the project was do-able. The clay was already rolled to the proper thickness and we used a pattern to each cut out a kimono. There were all sorts of texture tools used to press or gouge a pattern into the damp clay.

We meet about once a month, so December we formed the kimonos and added texture. In January we applied glazes and this past Sunday we saw the finished pieces.

Each kimono was a delight. Every one was different, and we rejoiced in the differences.

Mine has a ruffled collar and buttons (of course). Not knowing how the glazes would act made the whole exercise serendipitous, but I wanted something organic looking. I’m definitely pleased. Clay will not become my medium of choice, but it was fun and challenging.

Isn’t that what art groups are all about? Experimenting in new techniques, encouraging one another, and enjoying the community of like-minded souls.

Don’t despair if there aren’t any art groups in your area. There are many online groups for fun, swaps, and serious discussion. Check out Yahoo groups. There is sure to be one that will tickle your imagination.

If you’re interested in rust dyeing or thread-base art, consider joining. There are links to the Joy of Rust Dyeing and The Thread Society along the left column. Or contact me and I’ll be glad to send an invitation to you!

Enjoy the adventure!