Are we artists?

Adj and I have done a lot of thinking lately about what it means to be artists, and why it's so hard to call ourselves by that title. We started out with our crafternoons about a year ago, messing around with hardly-used sewing machines and getting to know each other as friends. As the year has gone on, our work has evolved from those relaxed afternoons at the table in my kitchen to art-making permeating other and unexpected areas of our lives, and holding crafternoons that we designate as "business meetings".

For Adj, this evolution took form in part by applying to be an Artist in Residence at Firehouse 13. She now lives with four other artists of different mediums in the second floor of the firehouse - she has a bedroom, a large, communal kitchen/living space, and a studio for her work. The walls of her studio are lined with hanging neckties and silverware earrings; there is an entire table covered in sets of silverware that she purchased at various yard sales and good will stores; and intense stuff like clamps, files, and a blow torch. In order to apply to be an Artist in Residence, she put together an art portfolio and had to articulate what motivates and characterizes her work. She's also been a part of a couple of different recent gallery shows at AS220 and Waste Not Want Not and has a show coming up at Firehouse 13 this January.

For me, I've begun to take connect the dots more seriously. We had a booth at the Providence Art Festival this summer - it felt so good to be a part of the local art community and be noticed for our unique recycled and "clever" work. I had the logo and business cards made. Adj showcased our stuff at two more community events this summer. Outside of connect the dots, I became the coordinator of The Hive Archive's Hive O'Clock Happy Hour Art Workshops, lining up artists and venues for this monthly gathering of interesting and creative people. I applied and was accepted to be an Artist Mentor at New Urban Arts, an after school open art studio for high school students. I spend at least 5 hours/week there now, creating with students and
thinking about my own growth as an artist. My craft supplies have grown to occupy not only the living room but also most of my kitchen, and are more often than not spread out all over the place. I've begun to think about creating and sewing on the weekends as not just a pleasant thing that I want to spend my time doing, but something that I "need" to do, something that is demanding more time from me (in both a good and a bad way).

It's become undeniable - with all of the time that each of us is devoting to art, we are no longer just messing around. Art has become a huge and welcome part of each of our lives. Connect the dots is a way for us to support each other as we grow as artists. We had our first business meeting two weeks ago, and drew up a manifesto of sorts.

connect the dots aims to:
  • stay true to the crafternoon philosophy (learning and creating as a part of a community)
  • contribute to the artist community of creativity
  • learn about art/specific skills
  • earn a little money to sustain our studio/supply costs
  • excite and energize others with our work
  • network with other artists in Providence
  • become comfortable in our skills are artists
We've been thinking about the blog, and how it weaves into these goals - helping us to contribute to the community of creativity and hopefully excite and energize others. We have high hopes of posting more frequently, including tutorials, and reflecting about our journey to figure out how to call ourselves artists and how our awareness of environmental and social justice weaves into our work. We want this blog to not just be documentation about what we've made, but a means through which we can move closer to the goals we articulated in our manifesto. (and how that manifesto evolves over time.)

So, we're calling ourselves artists now. It's silly how it took official titles like "Artist in Residence" and "Artist Mentor" to allow us to start feeling comfortable with the word, but I guess that's how it is. And even still it feels a little funny.

Stay tuned for more thoughts as we let this wonderful and overwhelming amount of creativity take over large parts of our lives.

Carole Ann


  1. I love it! The manifesto is a great idea; it's encouraging me to create my own too :) You're both inspiring as people AND artists! Keep up the good work!


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with the world - as someone who is just getting back into the world of art-making, it is so inspiring to read this. You are true inspirations and your passion for creating and your work ethic is contagious! The sky is the limit my friends :)


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