The Get Messy Season of Collaboration was in January. But community continues to be a Big Deal to us Messy Artists.
If you’ve ever experienced a creative drought, you’ll know the impact that your creative family can have on helping you through it, giving tips on finding the other side, and making you feel less alone in your struggle.
If you’ve ever experienced a creative high, you’ll know how much higher it feels when you share your wins and celebrate your creative flow with others.
In this episode of the Get Messy podcast, I’m calling on the combined knowledge of a small group of Messians. Traci and Meghan, Jenna and Dawn, and Sarah and Melenia share what they learned and what they gained from their creative connection during Get Messy’s Season of Collaboration.
Podcast Show Notes
At the beginning of the year, we launched something inside of Get Messy called Artist Tinder. This name excited me more than it should have, and the idea was even better: a Messian (that’s what we call ourselves as members) would make a post in the forums sharing a bit about herself and what she was looking for in a partner. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a Tinder left and right swipe (maybe that’s fortunately), but any interested artists would message the poster directly.
Seeing Artist Tinder populate with creatives looking for art love made my Fairy Artmama heart boomboom.
One particular match gave all of us at Get Messy the warm fuzzies: Meghan and Traci.
Meghan + Traci
Meghan is retired and living a life close to nature in the Idaho mountains. Her hubby built her an art studio where she spends her days happily making art surrounded by tall trees and lots of birds. She joyfully connects her spirit with the earth when she creates beauty with her hands.
You can find her on IG as @happy.hands.create
Traci Taylor, @thisistruleetraci on IG, discovered Get Messy & Art Journaling just last year and is still in awe of this magical art medium and the wonderful community she finds herself a part of! She is a Wife, Mom, Grandma (A-lwaysKA “Annie”), and piano teacher, who is still learning to add “artist” to that list and believe it!
Traci’s Tinder post was looking for someone who would help hold her accountable to creating each week, someone to bounce ideas off of, an encourager and think-outside-the-box kind of person.
She shared that she was a Grammy who’d been renamed to Annie – a term of endearment from her grandbabies, and this is what endeared Meghan to her.
Meghan: I chose Traci. I was reading through all the Tinder things, and Tracy’s popped out at me because her grammy name is Annie, which it’s a name not a grammy name, and mine is Mimi. So I thought, okay, well there’s one connection. And then she was so upbeat. And so, she just wanted to have fun and play. And that’s exactly what I come to art for, is to have fun and play. I am not saying I don’t go deep. I do, but that’s not my main goal.
Meghan: And then we got together and we just, it was so serendipitous, everything.
Traci: We’re both grandmothers, which was our instant connection. Our collaborations should have been called the Season of Serendipity because from the very get go, our connections and similarities and things just have been really fun all along the way.
This connection was the spark. Now they had to come up with a framework to nurture that flame.
Traci: We decided to take the messy recipes class, which has 12 recipes, and then take colors from, instead of the color wheel, we did crayon box colors since we’re grandmas, of course.
We put those in a bowl. She had a bowl that had the messy recipe numbers, and I did a bowl that had the colors. And so, we would chat each week and draw colors and recipes and put them together. And it was so much fun to see how they came together with the recipes and the colors guiding us. And we can really see, she put our pages side by side and pictures, and you can see that we followed the same recipes, but went different based on her and based on me. So it was so much fun.
With the Messy Recipes + crayon colours, they had a base for their connection.
Meghan: Our styles are not radically different, but different enough that we inspire each other. She uses more florals and more pastels than I do. And I think I probably, she can talk about what I do, but we started texting immediately, and sending back and forth processed photos. We never did create together because I think creation times were just different, even though we’re in the same time zone. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. It will someday.
Traci: Yeah, so same experience for me. And I had just decided, because I was trying to prepare for the artist Tinder happening. And I was like, “Okay, how am I going to do this? How do I figure out who to connect with?” So I had just decided whoever reaches out to me first, that’s my person. Just let serendipity kind of happen. So as soon as Meghan responded to me and sent me a message, I said, “Okay, you’re my girl.” So we started instantly going back and forth with intros and just connecting on all those levels. And then, she had already kind of had the idea for messy recipes. I was already throwing out… I love to put random things together just out of chance, which is kind of a theme of this whole collaboration. But we just instantly connected on so many different levels.
So then when, by the time we got to the point where we were making art, it was just so fun, the connection that had already been laid. So our similarities and our differences were just so inspiring. And Meghan too is just so positive. And having a cheerleader on the days when the pages are going awesome is fun. But having a cheerleader on the days where you… There were several days, I just texted her and said, “Oh my, this page is a hot mess. This color is challenging. I don’t even know what to do with it.” And so, she would look at what I was doing and pull out the good stuff and then say, “Okay, what can you do with that?” And then I would do the same because she had a few days and colors that were the same for her.
So just having somebody to go to on those days, both the up days, because there were some days it was like, “Oh my gosh, look what just happened on this page.” It was fun to have somebody to send that to. One of the things I think that set us up from the very beginning to be so connected so soon was Meghan, one of her first messages, or second or third, she said she expressed how excited she was to do it. But she also expressed some of her fears, some of the things that she was nervous about in the collaboration. So then I was able to express those as well and say, “I’m nervous about sending somebody my pages that I’m not certain of and some of those different things.” So immediately put both our guards down and we can be really honest with each other.
And then, one of the things that she did that changed working with the colors for me was she sent me some color meanings that she had looked up. So when I was working with pink, I would look at that that she had sent me. Okay, what does pink mean? What emotions is it going to emote for me? What’s it linked to? And I would just immerse myself in that before I started. And I would’ve never thought to do that. So that was one of the things that she really… I think of color differently now because I’m like, “Okay, this has a whole…” It’s not just a, “Oh, that’s a pretty color. That’s a bright, that’s a soft. It’s like, “Okay, this color will do something to my heart, to my soul, to the page, to the people that see it.” It added layers to it. So that was one thing that really, I will carry that from on out.
So just a lot of really fun connection, just fun and positive and bright. But then the meanings of the colors and the meaning of the relationship that we are developing and will keep developing, it’s really… I was telling her she’s been a blessing to my heArt and I spell it H-E and and then capital A-R-T because it’s my heart and my arts all together. So it’s been a great experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come.
Traci and Meghan’s collab grew them as artists and HUMANS. They chatted on Zoom once a week and were texting almost every day.
Needless to say, this collaboration is not yet over. They are both each others’ personal “cheerleader” and “perspective shifter”.
Meghan: Yeah, we even got our whole journals done. The whole thing is all done.
So there’s a part of each of us in each other’s journals. We had a wonderful time, and we’re just going to keep being buddies.
Jenna + Dawn
Jenna, who is @ginnistonik on IG, is creating art for the hell of it and trying to embrace the Messy Middle.
Dawn is a wife, professional, creative spirit, and momma to 2 young daughters and 2 furbabies. Her roots are in scrapbooking and she only recently started to venture into art journaling in the craziness of 2020 as a much needed self care outlet. She is a lover of learning and likes to ask questions and try new things in her art journaling. Her first love is line drawn botanicals but she is quickly branching out into other techniques and mediums on her journey to find her own unique style. You can find her at @shareyourjoy13.
What connected Jenna and Dawn was two things –
Jenna: When we had our little Tinder, I picked her, because she’s a mama of some young kids, we’re in the same time zone. And I liked what Dawn said, because she’s a beginner and having a lot of questions. And I was like, “Well, I love that.” So I reached out to her to connect, and we picked the Season of Music. We picked an old season to go through.
The collaboration built its foundations on the Season of Music. They Zoomed on a Friday during lunchtime and kept everything low pressure. They shared what they can as mamas of small children, and then chatted and created during their Zoom calls.
Jenna: And we’re going to keep going, because it’s Friday, you’re already done with the week. Maybe it’s not such a good thing, because then we’ll text each other afterwards, we’re like, “I don’t want to stop doing art and go back to work.”
Dawn: I’m relatively new to art journaling. I just started in the summer last year. So I was very excited when she reached out to me, because I felt like I could ask her a lot of silly questions, and she answered all of them. And it was just really fun to… I mean, we both love music, so that was a great jumping off point. And then just to discover how many types of music we had in common, and then also introduce each other to new music, I have new albums that my husband and I have enjoyed just because Jenna told us about them. We never would have found them otherwise, I think.
And then just watching how the songs and lyrics and things like that came to life in our journals was really cool. It’s just been really nice to connect with someone in a similar stage of life with job and kids and dogs and just managing life and the craziness right now. So it’s been just a wonderful experience, and I’m very excited to keep going.
We made our own journals. And we made them small, because we didn’t want to overwhelm ourselves. And we had homework we gave each other each week. But also at the same time, we’re both moms of young kids, so if we didn’t get it done, it was like, whatever. Oftentimes, we ended up working on it during our hangouts.
And for me, one of the things that I got out of it that was really great to do was I experiment with all kinds of art journaling styles, and I hadn’t done a lot of mixed media in a while, and this book is just filled with all kinds of layers in mixed media and things like that. So that was really a great return for me. I mean, I’ve been loving the art, but I think more, as everybody said, the connection’s been more important than anything. My husband now knows Dawn’s name, because I was like, “Yeah, Dawn and I were talking about that.” Or I’ll say something like that.
Yeah. I mean, we text all week long. Sometimes it’s about the art and sometimes it’s not. I mean, she lives in Texas, and I live in Chicago, and I’m eternally jealous of her weather. And she’s thinking, “God, she’s not in the Sub-Zero temperature with inches and inches of snow and ice dams on her roof.”
She had to explain to me what an ice dam is.
I did. She was like, “What is that? What does that even mean?” But for me, like I said earlier, I’m new, and I was super drawn into the season of bloom, but then I never really wandered away from botanicals very much. And so I really wanted to do something different, and Jenna is the one that came up with picking an old season. And the tutorials in the season were very different than the bloom tutorials, so it was a lot of challenges for me, to pick different mediums and different techniques. I burned my journal, and it was really scary, I’m not going to lie.
I burnt my finger doing it. But the effects really cool.
It did. So we’ve learned and stitched. So I burned this vellum piece, and then there’s a stitching on the side with some. It’s for the song “Turn The Page.” And it literally is turning the page. It’s a Metallica song that was a Bob Dylan song, is that right, Jenna?
Oh, Bob Seger. Actually, Jenna picked the song, because there’s a page in the sidekick that has literally the words “turn the page” with a typewriter. She just finished hers, I think. They’re so different. But it’s the same song, and it’s just really interesting to see what we each got from each prompt.
Honestly, I feel like I’ve grown a lot as an artist during this season, and I feel way more comfortable calling myself an artist now because of it. Just working with Jenna and showing her things and getting her opinion has been just a blessing, basically.
And then also just connecting with someone and just learning more about each other and our path and struggles. This season with small children is very challenging. And then we decided to get a puppy in the middle of it, and that was probably not so [inaudible 00:05:57].
And she’s also an animal lover, and we just connected in so many different ways I didn’t expect. And it’s just been a wonderful experience, and I’m very grateful for it. And I’m excited to carry forward with working with Jenna and just a friendship that I wasn’t expecting to get this year. It’s just been amazing. I really appreciate it.
And then there is Sarah and Melenia
Sarah Gardner is a hilarious lawyer, a wife, and a mom of two with an amazing humour. She lives with her family in Southern California, in a small surf community called Cardiff by the Sea. You can find her online at @juicy.s.art.
Melenia, an artist from a Greek island, creates art to keep her sane and can be found at. She is on IG as @agap_melenia. posted on Artist Tinder looking for someone friendly, willing to communicate, share ideas and tips, and talk about themselves.
She found it.
Melenia: I’m Melenia and I’m Sarah’s partner. For me this collaboration was the first one, and the word that describes it is a blessing. Because not only as artists, we managed to connect as persons and women. So for me, it was a blessing and it still is because apart from having a great partner in art, I earned a great friend. I’m very happy because with Sarah, we may have different styles in creation, but we share the same passion for art and we keep teaching each other things, which is something valuable for me.
And apart from that, as persons, we have connected in a more personal way, and we have shared things about our countries, international politics, and other stuff. So, yeah, I’m very blessed and I’m very happy that I get to meet you, all of you ladies now. Thank you for having me and for everything.
Sarah: Well, I thought the whole artist Tinder thing was a little awkward. And I probably had the most faux pas in terms of Tindering. Thank goodness I don’t really have to do that in real life. But yeah, so I’m just really so glad that Melenia agreed to collaborate with me. I kind of … I picked her right away before I even posted my profile answers, and I had seen her artwork on Instagram, and I just really loved her style. It was very inspirational for me.
Similar aesthetic, but very different technique and different approach to it. So I thought we could, as we were collaborating, help each other kind of get outside of our comfort zones a little, maybe learn something new. And I wanted to know how she did what she did, and I think she was interested in my process as well. But we discovered shortly after we exchanged a few emails that we have a lot in common besides our love of doing art, and we use art in similar ways.
We’re both attorneys, so we kind of have the right brain perfectionist syndrome going on, and our little brain … Sorry, left brain syndrome of perfectionism and analytical thinking. And I know art for me is a way to expand myself into the other side of my brain, and have fun, play, and just do a process of discovery and exploration. So I think she’s kind of the same way in that regard.
And we’ve just really become close. It’s kind of surprising and it’s exciting. I feel supported in my art endeavor, but I also feel like I have a wonderful new friend. Melenia is very … Just she’s real and genuine. And the Get Messy community, you’re all kind of like that. So it’s not that surprising that she would be that way too. But in Southern California, it’s not that easy to find friends that are like that. So I’m really appreciative of this chance to connect with someone, especially someone from a completely different culture. So I’ve been learning a bit about Greece, Greek politics, and it’s giving me a new perspective that I really appreciate as well.
And so I think one of the things that we did, we decided we would make a little junk journal. And I have an actual … I have a YouTube channel where I have … My first video that I ever posted was how I made a junk journal. So she was able to watch the video and make her junk journal, and that was pretty cool. And then we made our junk journals with each other in mind because we’d exchanged email interview questions. So she gave me all of these questions that I answered, and then she answered them. So I got to know a little more about her, kind of what her colors are, and themes, and things like that. And so when we were building the journals, we had each other in mind in terms of colors, and themes, and things like that. So that was fun to do.
And then we created a list of prompts, basically a little prompt cards on a sheet of 8×11 paper. And then I cut them apart into these little prompt cards and we picked four that we worked on during the course of the season. And then we sent each other’s journals to each other. And when we get the journals from the other side world, we’re going to do more prompts that we’ve picked from our cards, and then we’ll exchange them again.
So we’ve also exchanged some ephemeris as well. And I wanted to thank Get Messy because this is an unexpected and wonderful surprise to have a new creative friend, and I feel like we’re going to continue doing art together for a long time to come. We do a Zoom meeting once a week, and it’s worked out great. And I wanted to share just a little quote from a book.
I don’t know if you guys have heard of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, but the podcasters, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, recently came out with a book that’s based on their podcast called Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close and I wanted to share one of their themes, or theories, which is shine theory. And I have a quote from the book that I thought was really … It just resonated with me, with this collaboration, because of how much the friendship is a part of it now.
So this is a quote from their book. They call it an operating principle of their friendship, and they say, “We came to define shine theory as an investment in the long term, helping a friend be their best and relying on their help in return. It is a conscious decision to bring our full selves to our friendships and not to let insecurity or envy ravaged them. It’s a practice cultivating a spirit of genuine happiness and excitement when our friends are doing well, and being there for them when they aren’t. Shine theory starts with refusing to give in to comparison and competition, and trying instead to forge a bond and a connection, replacing the impulse of competition with one of collaboration.” So their mantra is, “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” And that’s what I feel like, this collaboration is also friendship, and friendship is a collaboration.
Do you have anything to add, Melenia?
Melenia: Yeah, that I’m going to cry now. Yeah, I’m going to cry. Because especially during this hard season of lockdowns, and I think all of you can relate with me that this period, this crisis have been very tough for all of us around world. And the thing that was most affected was personal relationships, because we lost contact, physical contact … And my English doesn’t help me, but you get what I want to say.
So this collaboration and the fact that it very quickly turned out to be a friendship, really kept me going at the point in my life where I was really frustrated and tired. I had shared in the Tinder forum that my mother is going through some tough issues with her health, and things are very rough here. And getting to know Sarah, and how lovely she is, how supportive, how inspiring, and what a generous person she is, helped me keep going in this situation that I’m in.
So apart from the art benefits, and the exchange, and creations, it was more substantial. It was having one nice person in your life now that you need it, so thanks. And thanks to Get Messy who organized the girls, Sharon, Claudette, I think you are responsible for this nice thing, but I think all of the ladies here agree with me that it is awesome and so precious for all of us who took part in it, isn’t it? I guess you all agree with me. So, yeah. Thank you.