Thursday, June 11, 2009

The (not so) Serious Business of an Art Picnic

Every 2 weeks I meet with a great group of creative women entrepreneurs in my 'hood. We're there to encourage and support one another as we face the challenges of our various businesses. We celebrate our successes, talk through fears and struggles, share resources and strategies. It's invaluable! One of the things that totally amped up the power and connection of the group was when we turned our coffee meetings into art picnics.

What's an art picnic? In January, I interviewed the ever-inspiring artist Leah Piken Kolidas of Creative Every Day for a series of interviews with highly creative bloggers that became the e-collection Your Creative Spark. One of the things Leah shared was her concept of art picnics - getting down on the floor, spreading out your art goodies and letting yourself play!

I mentioned this to the group; eyes brightened, ears perked up, and we gave it a try. Everyone brings a few things to the table at the coffee shop we've set up as home. Magazines, scissors, envelopes, stickers, origami paper, book pages, magnets, inspiring Yogi tea tags, everywhere. And we cut and paste... or not. We chat. We laugh. We get teary. Amidst the creative activity, we ask each other, "How do you deal with..." "Do you know anybody who..." "What do you think about..." And somehow, amidst the play, the conversation is easier, the pressure less and the flow so easy and natural.

And if you have an upcoming meeting of some kind, whether it's for work or business or volunteering or your community, why not bring a few art supplies and see what happens? See what a little creativity can do to the tone, the content and the progress of the meeting. I'd love to hear what it's like for you - and I bet Leah would too!

If you'd like to experience an art picnic for yourself, Leah leads Virtual Art Picnics. She's a wonderfully encouraging, gentle leader and is sure to create a safe and supportive space for your creative exploration. Her next Virtual Art Picnic is June 17th. You can find out more about it here.

What would happen if you brought your creativity with you everywhere? (PS. You do)

10 comments:

Genie Sea said...

Now that's a picnic for the soul! What fun :)

Ana said...

Sounds like a wonderful and imaginative idea. I have signed up at Leah's site. We do bring our creativity with us everywhere, it is inside of us. :)

Leah said...

It warms my heart to see you bring the art picnic experience into the world in this way. Love, love, love it!

And thank you for the sweet mention, Jamie! Much appreciated!!

leah said...

Oh, marvelous! I've been thinking about doing some sort of art picnic myself. Where do you hold these if the weather's not great? I've been trying to think of an alternative to the park, but haven't really come up with a cozy indoor place. (There isn't really a cafe nearby that is comfy for spreading out.)

Jamie Ridler said...

Leah, I hope you find a great space for your art picnic. We do hold ours in a coffee shop that has a nice low table surrounded by a coach and cozy armchairs.

A park sounds like an awesome idea. You could always take turns at people's houses or look for a local community centre space, a restaurant that's really quiet mid-afternoon. I'll look forward to hearing what you try.

Shell said...

I like this idea. I have been wanting to have a party with friends. This would be a great way to have a party and be creative too.

WrightStuff said...

I so loved reading this, it truly brought a smile to my face and hope to my heart. You see, this week I attended the most boring all day meeting of my life with a bunch of left-brainers who wouldn't know creativity if it smacked them repeatedly round the face yelling "I'm creative" in every language known to mankind. This method would never work in a million years with these guys, but hey they are not the only ones in the world, or indeed in the company so I shall persevere and never give in - the fight to bring creativity to the workplace continues and I am following you into battle. CHARGE....
And, while we're on the subject. I am STILL waiting delivery of my wrecking journal. How I long to stab, chew, stomp and romp!

peppylady said...

fan is only way I describe it.

Coffee is on.

Suzie the Foodie said...

Fantastic idea! I can tell it could really change lives having a group like that Jamie.

mermaid musings said...

oh i am jealous! LOL
Glad you are having lots of fun ALWAYS! God bless your heart!