9th State Artisans grew out of an auspicious, albeit random, post-workshop grouping of its participants. Along with about 25 other artists and craftsmen, we attended a weekend-long Artist’s U workshop sponsored by the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. The workshop focused on sustainable practices for artists. At the end of the workshop the large group was divided into small working groups. Each small group was asked to meet once a month for five months to follow up on the workshop’s curriculum. For most groups, that was it, five meetings; done and dusted. But at the end of our group’s required meetings, we decided that we were not quite done with each other.
We enjoyed the camaraderie that we were developing. We offered each other creative challenges as well as a sense of accountability; things that can be hard to find as individuals maintaining solo studio practices. We helped each other explore creative territory beyond our usual comfort zones. Along the way we developed a sense of trust, respect, and appreciation for each other’s personal and professional insights and experiences, creative processes and studio practices.
9th State Artisans is a creative entity, and as such, is constantly, continually evolving. In the words of Andrew Simonet from Artists U, we are “building a balanced, sustainable artistic life”. Whether we are offering each other playful creative challenges, advice on exhibit applications, or mounting group exhibitions, our camaraderie as 9th State Artisans helps to balance and sustain our lives as artists.