I wrote this piece for the Convocation of Communities in 2001. I was living at Wolf Creek Sanctuary at the time, but had just flown off to NYC to help people after 9/11. I’ll write a new version to include lessons learned in the last 8 years, but it’s amazing to me how much of it still resonates.
A Vision for the Faerie Arts Collective: September 13, 2001
Let me start by clarifying this piece of writing. It is a vision for a community as it has come to me. Over the last few years living at the Wolf Creek Sanctuary, I’ve come to learn that my vision is only a fragment of a much larger, more beautiful vision waiting to be uncovered when we start working together. I use the term craftwork throughout this writing rather than artwork because I feel that it is more inclusive.
This vision began to come forward for me in 1997 when I began to explore craftwork as a spiritual path. (Of course, I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at the time.) The following year, a few faeries started talking about creating a collective to help faeries create and sell their work together. It was a loose idea, but one that seemed to have a lot of potential. I’ve been talking with others and working with this vision for the last few years to define a set of goals that we have in common, and refine it all to the point where I can perhaps explain it.
- Pursue craftwork as a manifestation of the divine act of creation. Create a space where faeries can come feel welcome, and explore the ability to create their own magic in their own lives through the magical metaphor of creating craftwork. Bring the magic of our spirit to the world at large through the energy and beauty of our work.
- Create a network of faerie crafters. This network would help faeries to connect with others to learn skills, collaborate, etc. It would also help faeries find others who could create custom craftwork for them.
- Create a cottage structure to help faeries to sell their own work from wherever they happen to be. The most difficult part of being a crafter is when the time comes that you want to make it fulltime. Traditionally, crafters need to create a name for themselves and spend the majority of their time selling their work. This method locks people into a “body of work” and does not allow them to change very easily. Faeries and their desires are often more fluid than this allows. A collective should help them sell their work, while allowing them to remain as flexible as they can.
- Allows faeries of various disciplines to work together toward common goals. Examples of this were seen in the “Arts and Crafts” movements which saw gorgeous harmonies between architecture, textiles, and many other decorative arts. We can blend techniques from various disciplines in the same way that we now blend our extremely varied spiritual belief systems.
- Help faeries transition into a life of craftwork. This might mean assistance in buying equipment, an organization under which they can apply for grants, etc. If a faerie wants to be empowered to take on crafting as a fulltime existence, the collective should be there to help.
What would it look like?
Please keep in mind that this is my personal version of how it might come to be. Of course, it will be much bigger and better when others get involved and round it out.
I am envisioning a place, a sanctuary in the truest sense, where faerie men and women live and work together, pursuing a common goal. This place can house guests who have come to share in the vision. These guests can come to visit for a weekend, a few weeks, months, or join the community to pursue their own aspect of the collective vision. While they are there, they are working with members of the community to create craftwork and bring our brand of magic out into the world through stores and galleries. Everyone involved has access to a full range of tools and supplies from many different artistic disciplines, and people who can help them learn to use these tools.
These people publish a zine that features artists from the farflung and local faerie communities. The zine also contains a directory of faeries who are involved in the collective, and is available at the locations that show or sell our work. It helps faeries find each other, and helps “customers” to find us.
The group hosts gatherings and workshops to help other faeries to learn some new skills, have a great time, and raise some money.
How could we do this?
We all know that crafters are notoriously unwealthy, so how can any of this come to be? Here are some of my ideas on one way that, with a lot of hard work, it could happen.
There are a few distinct stages of development that I can see as possibilities for getting us to a place like I’ve described above.
- We start talking to each other. We collect our craftwork together and find “marketing” faeries to help us get it seen and sold. Some of the money goes to the crafters, and some goes to the collective. We use some of this money, and some from outside fundraising, to create the faerie craft zine and directory. This is the time when we start keeping close track of our money because it pays to have clean and efficient bookkeeping procedures early on. We also start defining the policies and procedures that will help us function as an organization.
- We continues to bring in the work of new faeries until we have a sufficient number of people involved to really start marketing our work as a collective. The collective then becomes known for whatever it is that we do. As we grow, news will spread within the faerie communities and other faeries will want to join. When we have a steady flow of energy and cash, we can continue to increase our visibility and goals. Perhaps this is the point when we apply for nonprofit status and thereby get the ability to apply for grants – artist and educational.
- We start to “clump”. Faeries who live near each other start to combine their resources of tools and spaces in order to work together creating work with the collective. We get to test out some of the processes that we’ll need later on to deal with commonly held equipment and supplies, etc. Perhas we start our own gallery and store somewhere, increasing the revenue coming into our organization. By now, we have met many of the goals set out earlier.
- We find land somewhere and create the sanctuary. This gives us a place where we can collaborate freely between faeries of extremely diverse talents and media because all of the tools and supplies are together in one large set of studios shared by one group of people.
This sounds great! What can I do?
- Sign up. I’m saving money to print the first FaerieCraft zine. Make a donation to the collective if you can.
- Take my contact information. Write an article that you think would interest other faerie crafters and send it to me for the zine.
- Start thinking and meditating for yourself on what you want out of the world of craftwork, and be ready to start working with others to express your vision and refine it with us.
Where are you? Why aren’t you here?
That’s a very good question. I feel very strongly called to NYC to help with the work that needs to be done there. I’ve tried to set up the spaces so that the exhibits can flow smoothly, but it’s going to be up to the artists to make the spaces into what they want them to be.