I continue to go on Artist Dates with myself, and continue to be fascinated by not only how much I enjoy them, but the connections I’m able to make.
For those of you that don’t know, an Artist Date is a date with yourself. Yes, just you. Yes, alone. If this scares the crap out of you, then you really should try it. (Eleanor Roosevelt said do one thing every day that scares you. That’s a tall order. Once a week though? Totally doable and a good place to start.) Where do you go? Someplace you haven’t before. Do something you haven’t done. Something you would like to do or something you said you’d never do. The point is to do it and see what comes.
The nice thing is the dates don’t have to cost money. A visit to a cute town you’ve always wanted to mosey around. A gallery opening – especially if you’ve never been to one. A walk.
A couple months ago I chose as my Artist Date to check out the local knitting group at my library. Grandma taught me to crochet when I was very little. (I’d say around 8, but everything I learned “when I was little” I seem to think happened at 8, so I could be off there.) I go through phases with it. I made a series of blankets when a bunch of girlfriends got married. I made the most adorable sweater for my niece, then an equally adorable sundress. I’ll have to figure out how to post pictures to show you. Anyway, I hadn’t made anything in a while. Which is probably because I used to crochet anytime I was sitting in front of the TV, and I don’t have a TV anymore. (By choice – but that’s another story.)
I knew there was a Saturday knitting group at the library not because I saw it advertised somewhere but because I had been in there on Saturdays to drop off books and saw them. They were doing what usually happens when you get a group of women together – laughing. And making pretty stuff, besides. So one Saturday, I set off on my walk to the library – not with books to return but with a crochet project in hand.
Oh what fun I had! The leader of the group knows everyone in town, but in a good way (not a busybody way). She happily introduced me to everyone as they came in -turns out showing up on time for this group is not required so I was one of the first ones there. The good news is that nothing is required in this group. You show up or you don’t. You make something or you don’t. Doesn’t matter. They love having you there and if you disappear for a while they’ll welcome you back with open arms. This was good because I didn’t want to “commit” to the group. But guess what? I go nearly every Saturday now. I look forward to it. It’s one of those things in my schedule that I won’t plan something over.
So one Artist Date and here are the perks:
1 – I met a fabulous new friend. She’s just five years older than me but has six children, all of whom she homeschools. And she’s got chickens. And this week they’re getting goats. And she knows how to can tomatoes and said I could help. Woohoo! Since our first meeting, her science-minded eldest came to my Anatomy Lab one day with me and loved it. And she and I went to a flea market with another one of her children one Saturday after the group. Oh how wonderful to have friends who are all so different!
2 – I’m being creative again. I made a fabulous baby blanket with scraps from a community yarn box they have at the library. One of our group members takes baby items to a local non-profit at which she volunteers. So I took a picture of my blanket and then sent it off into the world. I then made an adorable beanie for my niece. My next project is from a pattern I found in a crochet magazine that was also in the community yarn box.
3 – I feel like I’m part of my community. When they found out my love of organizing, the director asked if I’d give a talk on the topic. Or a series of them. I did my first one on Saturday on paring down your stock of books – and then bringing the extras to the library for their book sale in two weeks. Ten people showed up! And they loved me!
If every artist date turned into this much, my life might get a little overwhelming. Thankfully, there are some where I go and never open my mouth. I still have a blast.
Try it sometime. And let me know how it goes. Oh – and if you think you’re too “busy” for it, turn off the TV or the internet for a couple hours. And just like that: you have time:)