I was reminded recently of the importance of creative community. I had the opportunity to visit Lisa Schonberg’s studio at Zygote press, a printmaking collaborative and cornerstone of the region. Not only does Lisa make gorgeous prints, she is amazingly prolific. As she showed me her work, she spoke of the power of community that Zygote provides her.
I am acutely aware of the power of creative community – when I moved to the country, it’s what I left behind. I love my new life, our farm, my studio, and most of all my amazing husband. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the twinge of creative longing I feel every now and again.
I’ve been working to build a new community here, but it takes time. Everything is done piece by piece, colleague by acquaintance by friend.
Last weekend that community expanded by one, a new creative face, creative force, a kind soul and a quiet force of nature. It’s one of those relationships that doesn’t have a title – farmhand is too pedestrian; friend misses the vision at her core. She’s here to learn and teach, to trade work for skills and a safe place to stay. Mostly, she’s just plain wonderful. But she stopped me in my tracks with this phrase:
You make my dreams seem not so… crazy.
Crazy?? Hardly. She dreams of things I’m doing. We’re doing. Things I’ve quickly grown to take for granted. Nothing crazy about it.
But when it’s not your normal, it can feel out of reach. When a dream is still in the dream-like state, it’s fuzzy and vague and elusive.
Which leads me to this…
Whatever you do, there’s someone out there quietly watching you do it.
Someone who dreams of being where you are, doing whatever it is you’re doing. Someone who envies your vision, your style, your grace, your skills, your productivity. Maybe it’s your artwork, maybe it’s the chickens in your backyard.
You normalize their dreams. Make them seem not so… crazy. That’s powerful stuff.
And with great power comes great responsibility. Don’t treat it lightly. Don’t take it for granted. Sure, make it look easy. But then, make it look possible.
So much creative work is stored in stern buildings with marble walls, in books with edge gilding, even in Instagram accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. Nothing wrong with any of that, but it can make it all seem so unattainable.
They say it takes a village. I think it only takes one.