July 2017
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TBC 2014: workshop 4 "birds of a feather: artists and crafters" and opening ritual

I went to a gathering called "birds of a feather: artists and crafters" which was really great because it made me feel validated in my art/craftwork somehow, I think because people had such varied things that they referred to as their art or craft and I realized that oh yeah, I actually spend a lot of time and energy on art. I'm not sure if I've explained it before, but I host crafty parties at my house at least once a month, where I invite lots of people to come and use my materials (or bring their own if they prefer) and create. I come up with a theme to help get people's creative thoughts flowing, and sometimes lead "how tos" for projects I want to do if others want to do them too. This is a really important part of my life, because I feel very deeply that everyone is creative: some people just haven't found their medium yet. And if you aren't sure if you're going to make something you like, it can feel like a waste to buy materials for it: this way people get to try things out that they might otherwise not do. I started doing this because I find it much easier to motivate to do art with other people being creative around me, I find it easier to use materials if I know they are shared (if they're just mine I get fretful about 'wasting' them), and I wanted to encourage people to create. I continue doing it for all those reasons, but it has become vital to me because it has changed the way I look at life. I used to see a problem and think "oh it would be nice if there was an item to fix that" and now I create something instead. I used to look at an art project and think "oh that's cool" and now I actually try doing it myself. Crafty parties have given me the skill of changing my world. Before crafty parties I had painted a little bit, drawn a little bit, sculpted a little bit. Now I've made cupholders for my car, a plant stand, a mixed media art piece, a lamp (which is not finished yet but will be awesome), wall scrolls, suncatchers, art tins, tiny sculptures, a jacket for my coffeecup (which needs a redesign), tie-dyed clothes and a hat, paintings that I actually REALLY like, a wax drip painting, large wearable wings, woodburning, and I've started on a room divider made out of cd cases (that got stalled because I need a better glue) -- there's probably other stuff I'm forgetting, too. And others have made so many interesting things! So the "artists and crafters" talk made me realize how important that is to me and how positively it has changed my life.

Next was the opening ritual which I really liked. The person leading had us gather in a circle and hold hands (if we wanted: the relevant bit was the circle) and then say things that we had overcome in order to be there. It was pretty powerful and after thinking about it I said "fear that the magic would be gone" and the person next to me squeezed my hand, others murmured in agreement, and I felt understanding reach out to me. Then we were told to break up into small groups and tell people what we hope to get out of the conference, which made me realize I had no idea. The conference snuck up on me this year, and I didn't mentally prepare. I felt a bit adrift, but also completely open to whatever.

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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.