Lately I have been thinking about the importance of connection and community and what it brings to life...
Why? The importance of connection has become so clear to me in the past 2 years. I can see (now) that moving literally to the other side of the world, with a four month old child, to a place where I knew little of the language and at the same time trying to find what it was that I really wanted to do with my life, what would make me happy, could have been a very lonely experience...and at times it was. But it has largely been an amazing experience for me, of living a more connected life and the wonderful things this can bring. Not that I am doing it perfectly...or even well...but I'm learning lots as I go along.
I'm really getting in to this little area of thought (I love how this blog allows me to do things like this!) and will be delving in to it in the coming weeks. To begin I am building a list of sorts - starting with some of the ways I have been able to connect with others, to be inspired and motivated, to learn from others' experience, to feel supported and also part of a community. To connect as a mother, an artist, an indie business owner and freelancer and as a person living far from home. There is a lot more to it than this and it's something I hope I can add to with your feedback and input.
Blogging (of course!)
If you have been around here for any length of time, you know that I love writing here and what it brings, the support and encouragement and just an area to reflect on life.
While I am drawing or painting or packing I love listening to podcasts. I think it's the inner multi tasker in me! Plus they are inspiring and full of great information.
Craft Sanity Podcasts: Jennifer Ackermann-Haywood has a great and long running series of interviews with both established and up and coming creators - people that are willing to share their experiences of how it all came about, how they started doing what they love and to talk about the great things and the challenges they faced. Jennifer asks the questions that we would all like to know ...like how did it all start for you...and just how did you get that book deal? Click here to check out the podcasts.
Creative Thursday Podcasts: Marisa Haedike talks about her experiences in making a living as an artist and a creator. In particular I found her take on the relationship of money, value and art very interesting. Her voice is a shining light to people beginning to do what they love. She is encouraging and lets you believe that you can really do it! Click here for the archives of Marisa's podcasts.
Markets and Bazaars
I have taken part in only one Bazaar (the Christmas Bazaar that I posted about here) since starting the Light Garden -although I'm a veteran of many stalls at locals markets with my little sister when we were younger - lol! We were quite the little entrepreneurs! And I would say that although sales on the day were fine, it was the connections that I made that day that were fantastic. It was because of that bazaar that I ended up doing the work that ended up being in InStyle Home.
Teams and Groups
There are a great number of groups, forums and collective activities that are perfect for forming connections.
European Street Team: I am a member of the European Street Team - a group of people with shops on Etsy that live in Europe. Their forum is great for getting the word out about what you are doing and to see what other talented people are up to. And the people are just so helpful and encouraging! I have put messages up needing a quick French translation and have got answers straight away! You can find information about the various Etsy teams here.
Illustration Friday: This is something I have been wanting to get involved in but haven't had the time...yet. Each Friday a new topic put up and then everyone has a week to put up their interpretation on it. Apparently their forums are great for asking questions about techniques. You can find out more about it here.
Your local community
With the growth of the internet it can be easy not to see what is right in front of you! One of the best and most rewarding things I have done is to get out every day with Yashar, and take the time to walk down the street, stop to talk to neighbours and make a stop in at our local cafe. More on this and the great things that have also come for me professionally, just from hanging out at our local cafe, soon.
More than ever now, I am open to having a chat with a stranger (even though it's in Turkish!) Of course I am careful, but now - instead of rushing around, head facing forward, not looking other people in the eye - I take time to enjoy a conversation, to be open to meeting people and to be interested in who they are and what they are doing. I think this is a combination of the influence of Turkish culture and being a mother (where I am forced -in a good way- to take things slower).
I hope you are able to do this in your own lives too! And I would love to hear about how you connect and become part of a community too.
ps Eek! I don't usually post photos of myself but yep, that's me!...and I think you all know Yashar by now!