Whether you’re a graphic designer, scrapbooker, artist, crafter or musician, I believe it is important to immerse yourself in your art to improve and grow within your medium. In my opinion, part of this essential immersion process is becoming a member of a creative community either of your making or by participation in an existing one.
I’ve always been a scrapbooker (well, since the age of 12) and I can definitely say that looking back, I was creating more often and learning more about my craft when I had surrounded myself with people who shared the same interests.
I haven’t been scrapbooking as much lately – with life, school and work taking up a lot of my time – so to celebrate my 25th birthday weekend, I decided to go by myself to the Scrapbooking and Cards Today‘s event, Crop ‘n Create in Cornwall, ON. I have to be honest, when I arrived, I thought I was in way over my head. These ladies had bags upon bags of scrapbooking and craft supplies, and all I had brought was a small suitcase with a small selection of my materials.
While I was freaking out silently at my not-nearly-filled 5 foot table, someone sat down and introduced herself as my tablemate. It wasn’t long before we were chatting like old friends, sharing our scrapbook pages and having the best time together. Once the rest of the ladies sat down, we all bonded quickly over our love of scrapbooking and the guest of honour that week, Becky Higgins, the creator of Project Life, a pocket-pages style of scrapbooking.
The whole weekend was such a special event that made me question why I hadn’t joined a creative community before. If I had, I am positive I would have filled tons of books by now! Spending an entire weekend with others who shared the same passion, learning from each other and meeting the people behind the products (yes, the celebrities of the industry), was something that inspired me like nothing from Pinterest ever could.
Here are the three things that I learned from the Crop ‘n Create weekend about the importance of belonging to a creative community:
1. Whether in person or online, sharing an emotional connection with others creates a much-needed sense of belonging.
It is such a cool thing to have a conference room full of women of all ages, walks of life and with completely different back stories, all coming together for their shared passion. As someone who doesn’t have any friends my age that scrapbook, it was such a cool experience meeting these women and bonding in a way that I hadn’t with others before.
2. Creative communities foster learning and development.
What better way to be inspired than by surrounding yourself with talented people. It’s an opportunity to learn new skills or techniques, try different tools that you might not have otherwise had the opportunity to try, and to be inspired by the art that others are creating. The Crop ‘n Create events are centred around education and offer a number of classes throughout the day, make-and-takes (smaller projects you can make quickly to learn new techniques) at night, and meet-and-greets with teachers. Learning is so important to growing your skills, and being able to do it in a controlled environment with teachers and other students present is so valuable.
3. A really important part of learning is having a great teacher.
For anyone who has taken a class for anything before, you will understand how important having a fabulous teacher is to the feel of the class and what you take away from it as a student. The cool thing about belonging to a creative community, which might be specific to the Crop ‘n Create events, is that they bring together students with industry experts so that you are literally learning from the best of the best. Although not everyone will appreciate how exhilarating it was for me to meet Becky Higgins and learn from her in a class, I can try my best to express how priceless this experience was for me and my creative journey.
Belonging to this creative community is something I will never take for granted. I am so grateful for Catherine and her team for putting these events on and pouring their hearts into making it a special experience for each and every one of their guests. I highly recommend that if you’re passionate about something, go seek a creative community to share your passion with others and learn something new.
Who knows, you might just meet the coolest friends and make your way onto a celebrity’s instagram feed!