Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Joy of Collaboration


In April 2009, Journeys was created. Destined to be the repository of a dozen artists interpretation of the theme, Journeys was my book for the Altered Book Collaboration 



I began with a spread in honour of my then recently departed sister in law, (you can read about the creation of the book here) and took a deep breath and sent the book  off  on it's very own journey. The collaborators are from Biloela, Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Melbourne, Brisbane, and one travelled the world while involved in this experience! I believe Journeys was worked on in Texas USA at one point! 

Journeys came back home to me in June...A priceless treasure, full of inspiration, dreams, fears, adventures and so much more. It fascinated me how so many of the contributions in some way echoed my original inspiration...the preciousness of family, the sorrow of loss, the confused sense of self that can be experienced at times of change...as well as the joy of finding a life partner and the thrill of discovering new places...I've lost track of the number of times I've picked it up and pored over it - every time I look, I discover some nuance or detail that is new to me.

So, it was with tremendous delight that I recently headed to Brisbane to meet up with my fellow collaborators! Until now, I had only met three of the other artists, and had grown to 'know' the others through their work as each month a new book would arrive to be added to and sent on. Meeting everyone (except Shelly, who was having Thanksgiving in Texas with her new fiance's family) was a wonderful, energising and inspiring experience. We all agreed that being involved in this collaboration had been such a great experience that we all wanted to 'do it again'. So, we headed to "Era" somewhere in South Brisbane...don't ask me where...I was a bit bushwhacked by then!...and proceeded to discuss our plan of attack...


Jen and Peta, with Kristen behind attempted to demonstrate how the next collaboration would move among us...



Nanette and Olley, with Helen in the background explored the nitty gritty...(incidentally, Helen was kind enough to give us a bed in Brisbane - what a treat it was to visit her home! And what a generous woman to open her home to a couple of birds she'd never met!)



Tamara and Kristen listen carefully to Peta (our intrepid co-ordinator). Jen listens carefully, while I'm engrossed in what's being said on the other side of the table.

Our next collaboration is as yet, unnamed, but will involve a twisted version of Chinese Whispers...lots of secret squirrel business, and I suspect plenty of attempts to throw one another off track! Each artist will choose a theme, create a page and send that to the next artist, without disclosing the theme...The next artist is to interpret what they think the theme is, create a page and send that on (minus the original, which will be sent back to the artist who created it)...and so on, we are intrigued to imagine how the last of a dozen works will relate to the first after being through twelve sets of hands and minds!

I headed to Brisbane full of anticipation (and a little bit of nervousness...) I came home feeling that I had met some new, wonderful friends. There were eleven of us, we spent most of the day together, in a seamless, effortless flow of conversation, ideas, and fabulous creative energy. In the course of the collaboration, there were times I was fearful I wasn't up to the task, yet the support and encouragement from this group of people I barely knew at the beginning moved me though, and I'm so grateful to each of them...

If you ever get the chance to be involved in a collaborative effort - I'd encourage you to grab it and go for it....you'll stretch, bend, discover you can do things you may not have believed you could, and I just bet you'll make some fantastic new friends in the process.



4 comments:

Hannah said...

Tracey--I enjoyed reading this post. I've been involved in an art therapy postcard exchange and the feeling of collaboration is new for me. The richness of your experience, and the pleasure that is evident in the pictures of your new friends convinces me that it is well worth the effort. Thanks!

Tracey said...

Yes, Hannah, it is totally worth the effort - and the occasional bout of anxiousness too! I must go and re read your blog about those postcards...I didn't relise that was an exchange - I had an idea it was more of an exhibition - off to have another look!

Peta said...

Tracey you have captured the 'collaborators gathering' wonderfully! Your gifts of writing and visual creating are both amazing, however your gift of friendship is the very best! I'm so glad that I've been able to enjoy getting to know you during our altered Book Collaboration and am looking forward to knowing more about you over the next few decades.....xxx Peta

Tracey said...

Peta - Likewise!! I really do feel as though I have found part of my 'tribe' among you all...bring on the next adventure!