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ARTELLAGRAM, November 25, 2006
November 25, 2006
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For the upcoming issue of Artella magazine, Body of Art: Passion and Projects of Universal Creation, we asked 12 artists to keep a creativity journal for 7-10 days to be shared with readers on a CD that will accompany the issue. It's been fascinating to see the results of these journals -- how they have differed in style, approach, thoughts, and ideas -- but what is even more intriguing are the colorful threads of similarity that run through them. These artists all make very different art, and walk different paths in life and art-making, yet the topics that come up in these journals -- these slices of 7 random days -- are startlingly similar. It's comforting to realize how close our creative hearts truly are.

As artists, writers, and creative folks in general, it's easy to feel alone and isolated. There are many experiences of isolation that are common. For example, you may work on your art professionally, so you work alone much of the time. Or you may work in a job not related to your creativity, so the people you work with don't relate to your true passions. You may be new to discovering your creativity, and feel lonely on waters of uncertainty, or you simply may have few people in your life that support your creative dreams or hobbies.

More and more, I am learning how much we long for community; how much it fuels us as we dance with the earth's tilt and embrace all that is possible in creativity and life. This, in fact, was the primary impetus behind creating Artella! Happily, the Internet provides a wonderful bridge for people of shared interests move to beyond feelings of isolation or loneliness.

Here are some tips on how to get the most from joining an online group, forum, or community:
  • Find a group that interests you. We have several community groups right here at Artella that are built on different different ideas, interests, and topics, and we would love to have you join us!
  • Introduce yourself. This is the most important thing, and ironically, the step that lots of people leave out! If you're looking to become more involved, step up and say hello, and share some things about your background and why you joined the group.
  • Don't worry about the ebbs and flows. Most groups go through fluctuations of being talkative, and then being quiet. Don't shy away from being the one to stir up conversation. What would YOU like to talk about? What subject would you most like to discuss? Bring it up! The other group members will be grateful!
  • You don't have to respond to every post. Respond to the ones that you're drawn to respond to. Reach out to new people. "Spread the love." But don't feel that being a group member means that you have respond to each and every thing that is posted.
  • If you are looking for support or answers to questions, ask. Nobody in the group can be a mind reader, especially on the Internet, when people don't have the benefit of reading body language. Take responsibility for asking for what you need from the group. That's how you can take care of yourself in any community, on- OR off-line.

One of the easiest ways to get involved involved in Artella's online community is to join in our annual Mystery Muse Gift Exchange! Four years ago, in 2002, we had our very first Mystery Muse Exchange, with about 40 fabulous participants. Now our bi-annual gift exchanges draw in an average of 400 participants! That's amazing! The Artella community truly is a generous circle that is far more than just a group of people who visit a Web site, but rather a tribe of like-minded spirits who delight in coming together to celebrate words and art.

Get all the details about the 5th Annual Mystery Muse Gift Exchange here, including a link to the "Mystery Musings" forum, where you can read the raves of last year's participants. Please note: the deadline for signing up is this Tuesday, November 28, so be sure to sign up soon if you'd like to participate this year.

Here's a fun thing to try! Give yourself a quirky little challenge to keep a creativity journal for 7 days, with the twist of using only NEW art and/or writing styles and techniques that you've never tried before, or those that you don't use often. This is a delicious risk that is well worth taking!

Some ideas:
  • If you've never kept a journal, keep a journal for 7 days. A "creativity journal" is a great topic -- just write about your creativity-related thoughts and ideas.
  • If you are generally a writer, try a visual journal where you add art to your journal.
  • If you mostly write with the computer, try writing longhand for 7 days.
  • If you most write with a pen, try writing with crayons for 7 days.
  • If your visual journals generally use collage, as mine do, try drawing only with markers for 7 days. I did it, and it was a great experiment. (See the above example, and click it to see it in full size.)
  • If your visual journals mostly contain drawings, try using collage or mixed media in a journal for 7 days.You get the idea!

    The very same day's events, and, in fact, the very same thoughts in your mind can be seen in a whole new light when you express them with oil pastels instead of a Bic pen!

    1. Sign up to be a Mystery Muse! There's still time to sign up to be part of Artella's 5thAnnual Mystery Muse Gift Exchange! This year, the project involves sending one anonymous gift that you create yourself to your Muse-ee, delivered on or around the Winter Solstice, December 21. The deadline for signing up is this Tuesday, November 28, so if you're planning to be a Muse, please visit the sign-up page immediately. You will receive your Muse-ee assignment on or before December 1.

    2. Are you getting your daily dose of inspiration? Just in case you haven't yet heard about The Artella Daily Muse, it's our new daily creativity newspaper! We've been hearing things like:

      "I am addicted to the Daily Muse. Thank you so much for a great and healthy alternative to the morning news! You all rock - I've been inspired and informed." -- Vickie Trancho

      "The Artella Daily Muse presents unique and quirky content within a beautiful, evocative design that is easy to navigate and easy to enjoy. What a perfect alternative to the 'other' daily news. I love it!" Dan Gremminger

      "I just had to write and tell you how impressed I am with the Daily Muse. When I first got the notice, I thought I misread -- no WAY could you do one EVERY day. But you have, and they are wonderful!" -- Pamela McCarville

      "I've never seen anything like this. This is a service for creative humanity." - Denise Mihalik

      Sign up for a Free Two-Day Subscription here and you can enjoy the Daily Muse for two full days and see the kinds of fun news, trends, how-to's, activities, and free resources that we're bringing every single day.

    3. New FUN for Studio Members! If you have an Artella Studio Membership, make sure you look in your mailbox for your monthly collage kit, because we sent it out this morning! And we've given this month's downloadable Studio Art kit a fun new makeover -- this kit is delivered in a fun, interactive, musical interface that guides you through everything in the kit: 5 coordinating background papers, 3 exclusive graphic art papers, 10 photos and postcards, a NEW booklet of project ideas (this month's booklet shows how to use the kit for your winter holiday projects), and a booklet of samples actually made from last month's Studio Art kit.

      This kit -- the "Vintage Feminine Folly Kit" -- was delivered to our Studio Members this morning. If you're not yet an Artella Studio Member, you can get more info about Studio Membership here. Note: if you already have an account because you are a regular Artella Member, Daily Muse subscriber, or you have enjoyed one of the two-day subscriptions, you can simply login to your account and upgrade to Studio Membership to get this month's downloadable Collage Art kit.

    4. Do you like to play with ATCs? Sign up for our ATC Swaps! Even if you are new to ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) you are invited to sign up for our two December ATC Swaps "Tiny Traditions", and the newest colors swap: "Wintry Blue, White, and Silver". Get all the details (and see some beautiful samples from recent Artella swaps) at the Artella ATC Swap Land blog, and if you have any questions, contact Deb!

    5. Have you visited the Poetry Gardens of Fame recently? There are several new sets of winning poems that have been posted in the Gardens of Fame from our two ongoing poetry contests: the Monthly PassionPoetry contest, and the Quarterly Poetic Idol Competition. The Poetic Idol Competition is our popular contest that awards great prizes, including monetary awards up to $150, plus other Artella gift packages. The deadline for our next Poetic Idol Competition is December 31, 2006, and we'd love to see your poems! Get all the details in Artella's Poetry Portal, and stay up-to-date when you sign up for our informative, inspiring PassionPoetry newsletter.

    6. Have you checked the Artella News Blog recently? There's a Thanksgiving Weekend Special that's there right now, just for the Blog readers. And the Artella News Blog is the best way to keep informed on all the latest Artella news, in between Artellagrams. And we always include a secret "BlogJog" special in each and every post.

    This Quotz Crystal™ is a high-resolution JPEG, suitable for printing. Print it out to remind you to take a risk this week! (And remember, trying new things with your journal is a great way to do that!)

    If the image doesn't show up below, go to to see it.

    Embracingly yours,

    Artella Founder & Publisher

    Artella PO Box 78 Johnson NY 10933

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