Workshop Nights

On 24 May 2012 by Alisa Damaso

Melanie Crosgrove and Alisa Damaso at the journal-making workshop sponsored by Handmade at the TOMS pop-up store in Hollywood, CA. Spring 2011

“We come together to find mutual support, encouragement, and inspiration, to share the joys as well as the disappointments, the rejections as well as the triumphs.” – Peter Clothier on artists’ groups, Persist

Let’s face it: Creativity can’t be forced. I’ll admit — there are times when I sit in front of a blank page or a stark white canvas and I’m just not feeling it. But no goal is reachable without the proper amount of hard work, self-motivation and an awesome support system.

One of the ways I round up inspiration is getting around like-minded individuals.

My friends and I like to hold workshop nights in which we create an atmosphere of productivity by working on our own things in the same environment. The great thing about these get-togethers is the friendly pressure to be productive. Moreover, you’re able to get immediate critiques from your peers.

If you’re feeling uninspired, the vibe in the air alone can really motivate you. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a studio or office of your own. And if you actually do have a workshop or studio, even better.

You can use your dining area or coffee table to create mini workspaces. Invite friends over, have them bring their tools and tell each of them to set their own accessible goal for the night, and — boom — you’ve got a workshop.

I suggest providing some snacks and refreshments or tell your guests to bring their own vices.

My buddies and I have had some nights that run from evenings to the early hours of the morning, but that’s because we like to chat every now and then while we work — which is good for brainstorming and conceptualizing future projects. As we paint, sketch, glue, sew or write, we come up with ideas, give each other input or collaborate on other projects. Sometimes we have highly stylized films or art and nature documentaries playing in the background for inspiration. It’s a healthy environment of creative exchange and collective productivity.

Want to get out of your circle? Participate in a meetup near you or organize one of your own. You can also find local events and mix with your peers at independent workspaces, workshops, galleries, and museum functions.

Alisa Damaso

Alisa Damaso is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer based
in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys the magic of the outdoors,
watching campy horror movies, and singing songs about food getting
stuck in her teeth. Her hand is married to a pencil and she never leaves
the house without a sketchbook.

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