How You Can Be Involved

Last week on my blog over at Notes from the Voodoo Cafe I talked about getting involved and making a difference. Over the years, I’ve gotten lots of feedback about the mixed media art world. Much of it is enthusiastic and excited, but some of it is complaints about people see online and in publications. They say it all looks the same, the same artists are featured over and over, the same images get used ad nauseum (wings, birds, nests, pointy hats–you know). OK. I understand that complaint. But! Here’s what’s cool about that:  with the launch of, those people and other people and YOU, too, have a fabulous chance to make a difference.

How? Because those of us involved with this new online community are interested in eager happy to thrilled beyond belief to find out about new. New artists. New techniques. New workshops. New ideas and images and places and people and just, really, anything new. New Stuff.  Sure, we all have well-known artists we absolutely adore. And we have favorite techniques and materials and supplies we really like. But we also love finding out about things we didn’t even know existed.

And here I’ll quit speaking for anyone else and talk just about myself: I know there’s a world of cool stuff out there, people trying new things and teaching innovative workshops and making cool art that I’ve never seen, and I want to know about it. Sure, I can find out about some of it if I hunt around online, reading blogs and following links and tracking down people mentioned by someone else. And I do as much of that as I can. But like everyone else, I don’t have enough time to find all those links. And I don’t get to travel across the country taking classes and going to workshops (I got to do a little of that last year, but it’s not a regular thing), and I don’t get to go to all the gallery openings and demos and exhibitions at local arts and crafts fairs.

That’s why I want your input. I want you to tell me about stuff. If you find something cool online, send me a link. If you go to a local workshop that just blows you away, tell me about it. When you’re out and about at fairs and galleries, collect business cards so you’ve got contact info for people doing cool stuff you’d like to share. The coolest thing about this is that it benefits everyone: I don’t want to take someone’s brand-new technique and teach it or claim it as my own. No way. I want to talk to the person who’s doing it and find out what they’re doing and where they want to go with it. Maybe they want to do a tutorial or an interview or a podcast. Good for them, and good for me. And good for everyone here who gets to find out about someone new who may be teaching in their area or at a retreat or, really, who knows? Who knows what ripples will spread out?

You can send notes to me at

Here’s what else you can do.

~~Post comments. Respond to what you read on our blogs, and talk to us via the columns. Suggest topics, respond to opinions, argue your point. Talk to us!

~~Sign up for the newsletter–add yourself to the database so the people who keep track of these things know how many people are interested and visiting. Plus it will keep you up-to-date on what we’re planning.

~~Join us on Flickr. So far, we’ve launched The Everyday Studio, where you are invited to upload photos of real, everyday, not-fixed-up studios. In just ten days, it’s gotten over 50 members and 250 photos of people’s studios. We’re planning more groups, so you’ll have more ways to share where you work and what you do. Getting involved this way allows you to see what others are doing and lets them see what you’re doing. It’s the easiest and quickest way to see new stuff. And the more interest we see out there, the more we’ll brainstorm to bring you more.

~~Follow the links and spread the comment love. We’ll share blogs and websites we find, and going there and leaving a comment is a great way to connect with people you might never have stumbled across on your own.

Got other ideas? We’d love to hear. Post a comment down there and talk to us!

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8 Responses to How You Can Be Involved

  1. Seth says:

    Some great ideas and thoughts here Rice. There is so much out there that it can be overwhelming. What I like about the concept behind CMM is that with one link I can find a lot of what I am interested in one place. And so far, with the daily updates, I have really liked the feel of this site.

  2. Rice Freeman-Zachery says:

    Thanks, Seth! Glad you’re finding inspiration here~~and thanks for taking time to comment. I love comments.

  3. Katie Holmes says:

    This is my new FAVORITE website. I am loving your blog and all of the helpful tips. I’m pretty new at this mixed-media thing, so this website makes my heart happy. 🙂 Thank you!!

  4. jdaviesreazor says:

    Thank you for acknowledging the plethora of birds, nests, hats, crowns, and large eyed faces. While they are all well and good – I am all for “do what you love” I am thrilled to have a site that pledges to search out variety! Thanks for starting this dialogue, Rice!

  5. Rice Freeman-Zachery says:

    Thanks for joining in! There’s so much out there that we never get to see, and I can’t wait to find out more about it~~

  6. I hate to admit it, but after about 6 or seven years, I didn’t renew my subscription to the most popular magazine featuring mixed media, because I got bored. It was the “same ol’, same ol’ ” over and over again. Yes, there are a few of the artists featured repeatedly that I like, and still do, but not enough to pay the high subscription fee.

    So, if you and the rest of us can spread the word, and find new artists, then I’m all for it! You made a great start with “Everyday Studio.” ;=}

  7. pattyskypants says:

    How come you are so “right-on” all the time?? Bhu sez “U were born with speshul powers.” The ripples usually don’t spread out far enough for me and sometimes I think you really have to go out and look for them. But your suggestions are great and the energy here is FANTASTIC and inspires me to MOVE and DO and it is good. Thanks, Rice! xxoo Patty

  8. Johoanna says:

    Okay, I’m late responding to this one, but I’d thought I’d throw in my 2 cents worth anyway.

    As an Aussie, I find it incredibly frustrating that Australia has no high quality magazines, so I buy mine from America. It works out expensive, but I love visiting blogs of different artist from around the world. I love seeing what other people are doing, what tools they use all the time, what works for them, how they do stuff, and yes, I also love to see how others have set up their studio spaces. Right now I don’t have a studio space.

    Australia doesn’t seem to have the same “family” of mixed media artists that America does. There isn’t the craft shows here that there are in the US. I even buy most of my supplies through the internet because of the expense of buying locally….if they actually have what I want.

    I want to know where all the good blogs are. I want to see what other people are doing.

    Suggestion: Maybe a page where people can submit their own blog to be added to a “Blog Roll”. There could be space for a description of what sort of art/craft is done and what else they talk about on their blog.

    Thanks for starting this conversation.