Once upon a time there was an artist. A frustrated artist. An artist who was so very talented and had so many ideas and inspiration. An artist who looked at the other artists out there and time and time again thought, "damn I wish I thought of that!" That artist was the Jealous Curator.
One day she wrote this post about creative blocks and lots of people responded. More than she ever expected. Everyone was commiserating about their own challenges. They got it. They understood.
Then she wrote this one and joked about getting together. But the commenters didn't get the joke - they asked when she was going to begin hosting these events. Where do they sign up? They were ready. That's when she decided that she MUST start Girl Crush. In her words,
To walk away from our computers, and actually meet in person for a glorious, creative, pastry-filled day. To figure out a way to break through artist blocks. To get inspired, and recharged. To celebrate being women artists… and obviously, to have a reason to eat lots of pretty little cakes & tarts in the middle of the day!
Once upon a time I was reading the Jealous Curator and saw that there was going to be a Girl Crush in Portland, San Francisco, New York, Minnieapolis, Los Angeles, Austin and Philadelphia. And Seattle. Seattle? That's only two hours south by car. I can do that. And I did. This past weekend I went to Girl Crush Seattle. And it was great.
I drove down to Seattle Friday afternoon, braved the hour long border line-up, made a pit stop at both Trader Joe's (yoghurt covered star cookies) and Crate & Barrel (outdoor pillows), and met Melanie from Inward Facing Girl at Serious Pie for drinks and pizza. Two sets of Dave Peck's jazz trio at Tula's with an old friend, a good night's sleep and I was ready for Saturday morning.
Saturday morning I arrived at Assemble Gallery & Studio who generously hosted Girl Crush. There were ten of us plus Danielle (the Jealous Curator herself) and artist (she calls herself a crafter) Tif Fussell (aka Dottie Angel).
After looking at all the fab items that Assemble Gallery carries we sat around a beautifully styled table. Introduced ourselves. Talked about what we do. We listened to Danielle talk about what inspired her to start Girl Crush, what moved her to start the Jealous Curator. And heard Tif speak of her creative journey.
Danielle had some exercises for us to do. I won't give them away but suffice it to say that although they appeared straightforward, they brought up all sorts of surprises in each of us. Then we went around the table again and shared some more. Shared what was on our minds and in our hearts. Asked for input and help and support and wisdom.
Tif was wonderful and insightful and thoughtful. As was Danielle and my fellow "girl crushers". I felt heard. And respected.
It was a joy to be in that small group for a day. To be face to face. To speak to people in person. To speak with creative women in real time. To hear their voices, see their expressions. To listen and to be heard. I knew it would be good but it was even better than I expected.
What makes it great? The mix of people for one thing. I knew one person, knew of two others but the rest were strangers. Not all were bloggers but all were makers, all were creative people who not only wanted to make but needed to make. We had that desire in common.
And with that mix of people came an equal number of distinctly different paths and journeys in their careers and creative lives. I'd say a commonality was that each of us was at a bit of a crossroads and looking to make a change.
The brainstorming that occurred after each person spoke was insightful and wise and respectful and energetic and thoughtful. Each spoke from their own experience. I scribbled down all sorts of ideas that I know I will be going back to and thinking through further.
Along with the good conversation came good food. We arrived to yummy treats and had a catered lunch. And lemonade with stylish paper straws of course. It's always better with a good straw.
What would a day of talking about creating and art making be without cupcakes? Not just any cupcakes but custom cupcakes based on Tif Fussell's designs? That's the kind of detail that Danielle brings to Girl Crush.
We ended the day collaging together with all sorts of materials. I had to zoom off to make it home but I could have stayed and glued and snipped and painted and embroidered for hours longer.
So what did I learn? What did I take away? To define success on my own terms. To be comfortable in that liminal space of not knowing where things are going, where I will end up next. To be patient with not having all the answers right.now. To trust that the answers will come, that this time in the world of in-betweens does end at some point. And if something truly excites and energizes me, to do that thing as well as I can do it.
I met some amazing creative women this weekend - wonderful artists and writers and crafters. And I am so happy that Danielle, the Jealous Curator, took the plunge and started Girl Crush. It'll take some more time for me to digest what I heard and experienced and learned.
So if you are near a Girl Crush, go. Just go. Don't think about it. Don't second guess. Go. And tell us all about it after.