This past Saturday, I was invited to participate in the 1 year anniversary celebration of SHARE, "an event series that brings small groups of artists (writers, painters, actors, musicians, dancers, culinary artists) together to create from the same one-word prompt."
The event showcased some of the work from the last year of SHARE events. The organizers also invited thirty or so artists to create live at the event itself. I was one of those artists.
At 2 p.m. I was at SCRAP prowling for supplies, checking my iPhone for the prompt. By 2:03 I was getting impatient and sent an email to Margaret Malone asking for the prompt. My email had just crossed the one she sent to all the artists.
Cue Banjo music while I run around the store again looking for inspiration. Between...
Yes! I find a kit for making a wooden flower press that has 5 pieces of 6"x 6" plywood for pressing the flowers between. Get it? "Between"?
I stopped by Columbia Art and Drafting and picked up a basic set of word carving tools. I had a vague feeling that I wanted to carve words into the squares? Questions maybe?
Since we would have a live audience, I wanted to get them involved somehow. I liked the idea of something emerging from my choice of materials, a random prompt, and a conversation between me and another specific and random person at the event.
6 p.m. and the audience starts arriving. I put up a sign inviting people to sit down on a couch with me and have a conversation. I handed each person a card with a question.
Now I had to make something in response to each conversation, and I had two hours to complete all four.
I dove into the first one, working intuitively, combining every image that came to my mind as I listened to the first person telling me what stood between her and wanted she wanted most.
I had painted the wood black so that the cuts revealed the wood underneath. The materials were unfamilar and not particularly suited to each other. In short, I didn't know what I was doing, but I pressed ahead.
But this morning, thinking back on it, it was another great creative experience - working without a net, dealing with fears and expectations and serendipity and failures. It was great.
Congrats to Kathleen and Margaret and Chris Haberman for an outstanding event, and to Margaret and Kathleen for a cool idea. Big and risky and experimental and fun. I get the same vibe from SHARE as I did from RIPE in the early days. Something self-defining, born out of passion, nourishing the community, inventing itself and evolving as it grows.