Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A little about Challenge projects for groups

It has become something of a little tradition in my guild (SCHG) to issue a "challenge" project each spring, due in the fall. We don't meet in July or August, so it becomes a project to work on over the summer. Our guild allows lots of leeway: any fiber technique is encouraged, though we are a weaving guild so we hope to always have woven works.

These challenge projects have taken various forms: Sometimes particpants are given certain supplies they must use in creating a piece. Sometimes there are design constraints in color, line, materials, motif or theme. Sometimes we are directed to find inspiration from the work of artists in other media. In our group, participation is entirely voluntary, but my experience is that no matter what my current technical level or latest focus, I always learn something, and it is so fun to see how differently other people approach solving the same puzzle.

Sometimes setting contraints for oneself helps to focus creativity, especially when in a creative doldrums. Just having some of a project's parameters delimited, thereby eliminating a lot of choices that one could have made, helps focus in on a few points of attention. If the "rules" are tricky or somehow contradictory when juxtaposed, this can help stimulate the thinking and problem solving processes.  The addition of a deadline also helps to just get going!

So if you are in a weaving guild, spinning or knitting group or other creative-type club, then you might consider organizing one of these projects. Be sure to write out the "rules" explicitly yet simply, and repeat them a couple times in your newsletter or other communication. I've described some of our past challenges and my solutions to them in other posts.

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