Importance of Community

The first makers market I did thrust me into a community of makers and artists, and a world I always wanted to be a part of but didn't know if I belonged. Many of the makers I met have become close friends. We get together, chat about our personal lives, talk shop, and brainstorm ideas for the future. It's nice to have this circle of friends with shared creative pursuits who can relate to things I may be dealing with in my business. And when I feel disappointed with a particular sale, they understand it is not about the money, but the mental and physical stress that comes with putting yourself out there and not having it go the way you had planned.
I've done a number of markets over the years, and I look forward to meeting other artists. I always try to make it a point to talk to my neighboring makers and ask them about their market experience. Lately I've found a lot are just starting out. It may be their first year of selling in person, or even their first show. I remember what it was like when I first started setting up and putting my work and myself out there, so I offer words of encouragements and share my own experiences. It may be possible they too are feeling the way I did when first starting out and may need a little reassurance they are on the right path.
I wouldn't be where I am today with my ceramics if it were not for the people I now have around me both in person and online. I think back to when I first started getting serious about pursing my art as a career, and the encouragement I received from others with more experience. They let me into their world. While I'm still a newbie, I have also been at it for a while and I feel it's now my duty to do the same that was done for me.
Communities grow and evolve on both a grand and micro scales. When I think about how my creative community has changed over the years, it makes me appreciate what I've learned from and given to others. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You'll be amazed how it can change and shape your life (and theirs).
(Photo Credit: Trish Haelen. Shawn of The Farmhouse Project, Linda of Earth & Twine, Bryan of B. Cronk Ceramics)

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