I had a wonderful opportunity to invite many art-loving guests into my home over the course of two weekends this October. For the first time, I applied to be one of the artists featured as a part of Portland Open Studios, which is an annual self-guided tour to visit the studios of nearly 100 artists throughout the Portland metro area. I was so pleased to be accepted, and my experience definitely resonated with the mission statement of the event, which strives to “offer a unique and inspiring way of experiencing the creative process: interacting with local artists at work within the context of their studios.”
While I love having a wonderful home studio space to work in, working as an artist can be a solitary pursuit. My main purpose in participating in this event was to have an opportunity to meet and connect with other local people who are passionate about art and the creative process. Over the course of the two weekends, during which I opened my studio from 10-5 on Saturday and Sunday, nearly 200 individuals came into my studio and interacted with my work–I felt so honored and inspired! It felt deeply meaningful to be able to engage with others about the themes of my work: elevating the status of women, honoring and purposefully bringing together diverse needlework and design motifs of cultures around the world, and creating harmony and beauty out of bits and pieces.
Some of my most rewarding interactions were conversations that either inspired others to unleash their own creativity or to find a way to honor heirloom textiles they have in their homes. Several guests expressed interest in taking classes, so while I have only taught my techniques on a more informal basis up to this point, I am now considering offering some Saturday workshops to help others recycle some of their own family textiles. A great many visitors told me that they have pieces of vintage lace, doilies, or lovely embroidery languishing in drawers; I was honored when one couple asked if I would create a piece for them in honor of their 30th wedding anniversary, with the possible incorporation of some of their family textiles in it.
I am also excited at the prospect of creating ongoing relationships with other artists and creative souls whom I met during the tour. There are so many talented individuals living in this area, and I have already received lots of helpful and generous feedback from many of them. While I was somewhat worn out by the end of the second weekend, I am now recovered enough to be excited by all the followup there is to be done–meeting other artists in their studios, offering classes to interested friends, and creating artwork in response to requests. I will definitely try to recreate this worthwhile experience in the future, and I would encourage others to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to experience creativity that Portland Open Studios offers to our community every October!