Grab your supplies and create as you listen to Char and Claudette talk about everything that goes into a successful collaboration. Then follow the steps below if you’d like to take part in Get Messy’s Collaboration. 

Char + Claudette

Char is an artist, designer and maker whose work is abstract, intuitive and organic in style, with a no-rules approach. She loves using her creativity for personal expression and connection. Claudette is passionate about helping other women embrace those parts of themselves that they often feel shame around. She believes that those parts are where our magic lies. Using art, we can explore and cultivate these parts of ourselves and learn to love them deeply.

Prefer reading to watching or missed something? Click to open the video transcription

Claudette:
Hi, Get Messy.

Char:
Hi, Get Messy.

Claudette:
I’m Claudette Hasenjager.

Char:
And I’m Char DeRouin.

Claudette:
And this is the Season of Collaboration. We’re so glad that we are going to have an opportunity to share some of our tips and tricks with you guys over the next few weeks. So Char and I are collaboration buddies. We met a few months ago and the rest is history.

Char:
Yeah. It’s kind of a funny story. Well, actually, it’s a good story. And that is at the end of 2019 when Wanderlust had finished up the lineup of teachers for 2020, and I checked the list, I looked down the list and I saw Kaylee was there and other artists that I knew of and knew personally. It was very exciting, and one of the teachers was Claudette. And so as I got to know who these teachers were, I found out that Claudette had offered an online workshop and that was Creative Kindling, right? Rekindling.

Claudette:
Yep.

Char:
And so I signed up for it and it was self-paced workshop, and it was just wonderful. You made this little journal, you follow the prompts. For me, that was also the time that I started to actually work in journals, because I always made journals, but I never worked in journals. So this was a whole new experience for me and it was a lot of fun, and I thought, “This is good.” So we connected that way, got to talking, learned about each other. We had Wanderlust in common. From there, I thought of the idea of maybe collaborating. So, that’s what we did. I approached Claudette and she was very gracious and said, “Yeah, let’s do it.”

Claudette:
I’d never considered collaborating with anyone before Char approached me. I had watched a lot of people busy in a collaboration and it looked really exciting, but I was definitely not going to be the one to step out there and ask someone and have the potential of getting a, “No.” So it was so exciting when I got the message from Char to say, “Would you like to collaborate?” I pounced on that. I was like, “Yes! I’ve been waiting for this.” It was super exciting.

Char:
I’m glad you said, “Yes.” Oh gosh.

Claudette:
Okay. So then we, of course, had this brainwave. I’m going to make a journal and put in a few bits and pieces and do a few pages in the journal, send it off to Char. And she’s going to make a journal and work in it a little bit and send it over to me. Then we’re going to collaborate on finishing the journals and make videos of the process.

Char:
Right.

Claudette:
In theory, that sounded simple.

Char:
It did.

Claudette:
It sounded easy.

Char:
Yeah, right.

Claudette:
I mean, that’s going to work.

Char:
No-brainer, whatever. Little did we know that it would take, I want to say, was it three months?

Claudette:
I think it was closer to six. It felt like six. I don’t know. I’d given up on the journal arriving.

Char:
It was a long time, I think. Did mine get to you before yours got to me?

Claudette:
Yep.

Char:
I think that’s what happened.

Claudette:
Yes.

Char:
Because it was late in the year. I didn’t even look this up to find out, to actually see when we started talking. I want to say it was fall. I want to say that it was during the fall because I think the holidays had gone by and we had started in 2020.

Claudette:
Yes.

Char:
That was last year, this year, last year. But, yeah, we had no idea as far as how long it would take to reach one another. All right. And this is something when you’re buddying up with someone, is to be ready for anything because we had a start date and that was pretty firm and we were ready to go with it, but I was working shows back-to-back and subsequent shows and theater, and I just couldn’t. I had to drop those dates and Claudette was very understanding about it because what else could she do, start without me?

Char:
But, so she was very gracious about understanding my plight and the situation I was under. But that worked itself out, so we stuck with that. I mean, once we confirmed a new start date, we just went with it. I can’t think of any other glitches, but looking back, when we needed a break or we needed to shift a little bit, it was totally upon agreement that it’s not a problem and this is not do or die, just, you have be able to work with each other. There’s so many lessons to learn in collaborating, and I’m not talking about our techniques.

Claudette:
Yes.

Char:
It’s a connection.

Claudette:
I must say, I also found you don’t want to disappoint your collaboration partner. So you want to keep going. I mean, if you’ve decided you’re going to work on a project for eight weeks, you are going to try and do everything in your power to do it for the eight weeks. But every time there was a feeling of, “Can we please just take this week off because I have something to do?” or we both had felt that pressure and it was almost a relief to be able to say, “I just need a week off.”

Char:
Right.

Claudette:
Inevitably we both felt, “Yes, it’s a good time to just step back and just pick it up again in a week or two.” And so I also feel nothing is set in stone. You should just take it as it comes. And if you need to make a change or delay a project or whatever the case may be, feel free to approach your collaboration partner and say, “This is the situation and would you mind if we change the plan?”

Char:
I think because of the way we worked together, we had mapped out all of our weeks. So we knew ahead of time what was expected. The beauty of that is that if, for example, when I had a hard week, I had life going on and I knew I wasn’t going to make the deadline, there was nothing that prevented Claudette from moving on and just, she was maybe ahead of the game by another week, but who knew? Because, we would roll it out at the same time. Does that make sense?

Claudette:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Char:
So I might’ve been behind a week, but she was ready when I was ready to catch up. So unless we told you, which we just did, you wouldn’t have known, right? It all works out. Yes.

Claudette:
So this is our first collaboration, which was the journals that we worked in together, that we made for each other. We realized very quickly that we weren’t going to be able to do another collaboration like that unless we were willing to wait for months and months. And of course, in the interim, we’d started having lockdowns and border closures. So even if we had wanted to post each other journals, we wouldn’t have been able to get them across the borders.

Char:
It would have been a year.

Claudette:
Yes, and we didn’t want to wait that long. We wanted to have another collaboration, and we were looking for something to keep ourselves busy and inspired and motivated. And so we decided, “We’ve got to find a new way to collaborate that doesn’t revolve around having to rely on outside forces to get supplies backwards and forwards and whatever the case may be.” And so our color collaboration was born.

Char:
Right. And you simplify. You do what works, right? So this time around, we thought, “Let’s just make our own journals and then work in our own journals.” That is obviously one way to work with someone who is miles and miles away and you don’t have that luxury to mail things back and forth. Because back in the day, the first collaboration I did was in 2007 or ’08, but we were all local, so it was not a big deal. We could meet up, work in our journals, pass them around, do whatever. It was more convenient that way. But don’t let that stop you. Don’t let anything stop you. It doesn’t matter where you live nowadays, and you can just Zoom and get together. What we did for both our collaborations was to do little process videos, which was very helpful.

Claudette:
Yes.

Char:
So, yeah.

Claudette:
And it was fun. It was really, I felt like I got to know you better through watching your process unfold every week. And-

Char:
Oh, I didn’t know what I was doing half the time.

Claudette:
No, it felt like-

Char:
You’re the process queen.

Claudette:
It felt like I understood it more. I wanted to incorporate some of what you were thinking and doing each week, and knowing what you were doing helped me to feel more connected to the project, if that makes-

Char:
Got you.

Claudette:
… any sense.

Char:
Yes.

Claudette:
So I think had I just seen a photo of your end product, I wouldn’t have felt as connected to the collaboration as I did being able to see how your week unfolded. And I mean, we had weeks. We had weeks where-

Char:
We had weeks [crosstalk 00:11:11].

Claudette:
… I think I did the same page four times or something crazy like that. I eventually had to move out the journal because I’d run out of pages because of all the issues I’d had.

Char:
Well, I think-

Claudette:
I did the wrong color the one week.

Char:
Yes, yes, yes. That was okay. Actually, I thought that was endearing and just proof that it happened, it’s not a perfect thing and it shouldn’t be. It should be fun. I think in addition to learning about your partner, your collaboration partner, you learn about yourself.

Claudette:
True.

Char:
You gain so much insight into your own process and what works for you, what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re willing to try. Because I always find for myself, I’m all over the place. If you know me, you’ve heard me say that before, because I love different styles. I can be drawn to the most minimalistic thing, but yet throw all the colors on one page. I mean, that’s the gamut. But that’s what makes it fun and makes you, you. So, yeah, that was good. So for our color journal, it’s a big, hefty one. I made Claudette figure out the number of pages-

Claudette:
It’s fat.

Char:
… because I didn’t want to. And I didn’t fill all my pages. It’s just-

Claudette:
Yes. I was just going to say, I made it a fat one. I put in extra pages because I was worried that if I have to record a video and I really don’t like it, I need a backup page so that I can do it again. So I made sure that they were extras in there and poor Char was like, “I can’t fill this book.”

Char:
Well, I had intentions, but it didn’t. But here’s another thing, you can always go back. There are no rules. I mean, if you don’t do every little thing or if the plans change midstream, it’s no big deal. It’s, “I can go back to this and fill it up.”

Claudette:
So what I really thought was exciting about our color concepts collaboration was that we had a theme, and the theme was the color that we were going to be working on that week. But we had the freedom to be ourselves, which I really appreciated because it wasn’t like I felt pressure to fit into a certain style or have to try and change how I work to fit into the collaboration. But we had found a way to have a collaboration that worked with our styles and allowed us to have the freedom to still be individual even though we’re working on the same project. And so for me, it just made the whole collaboration so much more exciting because you never knew what the other one was going to come up with for that week. So it was really fun to wait for that video and see what happened.

Char:
Yeah. It was total surprise, and that anticipation built while we were working in our respective books. So we would post everything on a Wednesday, so that was a given. Oh, by the way, there were a couple of Wednesdays when I couldn’t meet it and I told Claudette, “Go ahead and publish yours.” She’s so sweet because she’s, “No, no, I’m going to wait till you’re ready. Take your time.” And that worked for us. It might not be that way for your partner. Again, no rules.

Char:
So because of the time difference, and she’s an early bird and I am a night owl, I mean, we can talk in real time if it’s something like midnight, my time, it’s early morning, her time. That works too. That was great. So I would stay awake late. And so then I could watch her video before I went to bed. That was always exciting. And it’s like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t think about that,” or, “Oh, that’s what I want to try next time.” Or maybe it’s, don’t feel that you have to do the same thing. I feel like I’m repeating myself now. But again, I think one of the most beautiful things that comes out of a collaboration is learning about yourself and your style. So I go back to that.

Claudette:
I agree. Of course, we came to the end of that collaboration and it was sad. Every time it ends, it’s like, “Oh, my heart.” Then we took a break for a few weeks and it was like, “Okay, we need-“

Char:
Now.

Claudette:
… “to have another collaboration now.” And so-

Char:
Well, actually, we were relieved because we both wanted to ask the other, “Am I crazy? Can we continue this?” And so I forget who did what, but when it finally came out that we wanted to do this, it was like, “Yeah.”

Claudette:
Yeah.

Char:
“Yeah, let’s do this.”

Claudette:
I don’t think we’ll ever end. We have found a way to keep a project going for a really long time.

Char:
Our families know it. They expect it now. It’s going to happen. We have our weekly talks. I mean, it’s all good. So you’ll [crosstalk 00:16:52] bargaining.

Claudette:
I have to say as well, I mean, with Zoom, it’s so nice because we literally just say, “Have you got a time over the weekend that we can meet up and just hop on to Zoom? And we can have a chat and catch up and make plans.”

Char:
Yeah. But you know what? What’s interesting, it was this year or 2020 when Zoom got big, right? And if you were working from home, you had to Zoom with… We didn’t Zoom for the first one.

Claudette:
No, no.

Char:
We didn’t. Life took off and we were just doing our thing.

Claudette:
I must say, I didn’t feel as connected in the first one as I did in the second. So even though we had been doing the process videos and working in a journal that the other one had sent, it had a totally different feel.

Char:
Yeah. If you get a chance to, it’s not a shameless plug or anything, but if you get a chance to watch the YouTube, I’ll never forget, Claudette, this was brilliant because you were working in the journal that I had sent you. Claudette is better about talking through her process. Me, I’ll put music on and have you just watch and that. So again, different styles, but she realized, and jump in here if I’m not getting this right, but she realized working in the journal that I sent her, she felt the connection. She could feel me in that journal, but she had to make it her own.

Claudette:
I remember, yes.

Char:
And so she went page by page and made it her own by adding her own things, a tip in, a tag, a whatever. And I thought, “Oh my gosh. Boy, somebody’s going to gain something great from that. I just know it.” And so if you get a chance to see that video, please do watch it. I mean, I have referred to it because-

Claudette:
I’d actually forgotten about that, but I remember, you’re quite right, I was struggling so much. I had this fear that, “I’m going to destroy this amazing journal,” that Char had sent me. And so every week I had this trepidation of working in it and, “Am I going to do it justice?”

Char:
No, I was so happy.

Claudette:
And so it was only until I had done that, that it was like, “Okay, now I’ve got the freedom to just go ahead.”

Char:
It’s not precious. I mean, if you feel that you want to tear the page, tear the page, it’s your journal. I mean, that’s if you have the opportunity to make a journal for your partner. For me, I loved that whole idea because it wasn’t mine anymore. I think it was your journal. I might’ve made it. Another aha moment is that on Instagram just last week, I had talked about how I collect these journals. People make journals and I am able to get them, or they’re gifted to me, or I purchase them. Yet when I get them, I’m not ready to work in them. A lot of you were very gracious to say, “You’ll know when the time is right.” And that’s so true. I think that was just a subconscious thing for me. But it wasn’t the preciousness. I mean, there is a connection and I’m going a roundabout way to say that in a collaboration you should feel free, if you do swap, to do what feels right.

Claudette:
I agree, yes.

Char:
And that’s a gift. That’s a gift.

Claudette:
So here’s what you can expect in the coming weeks for the Season of Collaboration. We’re going to be opening up our Artist Tinder. You’re going to be able to put your name up or post an advertisement of yourself on that platform. Then you’re going to be able to find yourself a collaboration buddy that way. Alternatively, if you’ve got someone in mind that you’ve always wanted to collaborate with, and you’ve always sort of had the fear of the, “No,” like I had, now is the perfect opportunity to send them a message and say, “Hey, have you heard about the Season of Collaboration? Would you like to give it a bash?” So those are going to be your two options. You can either reach out and find someone privately or post your advertisement on the artist Tinder and then try and find someone that way.

Claudette:
Then we are going to jump right in and get started. So on the 11th of January, we’ve given you a week, that first week from the 11th to the 17th, to finalize your collaboration idea with your partner. So you’re going to then be looking at things like what journal you’re going to be using, what theme you’re going to be working around. We’ve given you a few ideas. Char and I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with some ideas that you could maybe consider when looking for a theme for your collaboration. Then we’ve got three weeks. So from the 18th of January to the 7th of February is going to be your three weeks of working in your journal. And of course in that time, you can decide how many pages you would like to fill in your journal. So you’ve got three weeks to get to the end of the journal and how you decide to do that is entirely up to you.

Claudette:
So, as we’ve said, you could have Zoom meetings, you could work over Zoom in your journals together, or you could do process videos, or you could just work alone at home and send each other photos of the completed journal. We’ve really left it very open-ended so that you can make this collaboration all your own. So we’re going to have two Zoom calls during the Season of Collaboration. The first one is going to be on Saturday the 9th of January. We are then just going to be able to answer any questions that you may have and just have a chat and get everybody ready to jump in to the season.

Claudette:
Then we’re going to have a closing Zoom call on the 6th of February, and we’re going to ask you to share your experiences and share some of your journals with us and ideas and revelations that you’ve had over the last three weeks. Then it’s also going to give you an opportunity to finish up any pages that still need to be done. And that’s that for the season. At the end of it, you will have completed a journal working with someone that you may not have thought of at the beginning of it.

Char:
I think the whole thing, by asking you to come up with a theme, your prompts, whatever that is, it gives you permission, if you will, and ownership, and to make it an experience that only you two could do. So everything will be outlined in more detail in the sidekick, which is great. I think, Claudette, you covered it all. It’s really exciting. It’s going to be fun. We will also be available online in the forums. Don’t hesitate. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. So we’ll try to help. We will help. We will help.

 

Timeline

As a reminder, here are the important dates for the season. You can find these all in our Calendar.

  • Monday 4 Jan: Season officially kicks off, Artist Tinder begins, and it’s partner finding time
  • Saturday 9 Jan: live Zoom workshop with Char + Claudette – RSVP here
  • Sunday 10 Jan: last day for pairing (with help from your Cupids)
  • 11 – 17 January: Collaboration kick off with your partner
  • 18 – 24 January: Week 1
  • 25 – 31 January: Week 2
  • 1 – 7 February: Week 3
  • Saturday 6 February: live Zoom workshop with Char + Claudette – RSVP here
  • 8 – 12 February: finalising of this round of collaboration

Be part of a collaboration

Are you ready? Nervous, but excited? It’s time to find your partner for the month. Follow the action steps below. Create something with another artist. Have fun. Create artistic friendships. Put yourself out there. Get messy. 

Action Steps to Collaborate

N

Sign up for Artist Tinder

Head on over to the Artist Tinder thread in the forums and put yourself out there. 

N

Find your collaborator

Now look for a potential partner and send them a message. If you receive a message, reply back (duh).

N

The Stop. Collaborate. And Listen part…

Dig into the collaboration! Follow the suggested timeline, join in on the hangouts, and make some beautiful art with your partner.