permission to be rad

On Saturday, I attended Girl Crush San Francisco, a project dreamed up by Danielle of The Jealous Curator and hosted by the talented artist/illustrator/collector Lisa Congdon in her studio space.

I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I signed up for this, and it’s a little hard to describe what actually happened, but it was a day of loving-it.  There was something magical in the art, or the baked goods, or the people themselves, that I inhaled in happy gulps.

There were 12 ladies, of varying pursuits and backgrounds, but all of equal neato, plus Danielle and Lisa, and the very helpful Taylor.  There was copious coffee and scones.  And there were stories.

Lisa told us her tale of professional artist-ness… how she had other sorts of un-artsy jobs and how all the lines and dots of her universe came together, without ever having gone to art school, and formed a career that she palpably loves.  Lisa’s grin when she talks about her job is the facial equivalent of a joyful “Whoop!”  Totally infections and inspiring.

And Danielle told us about her passion for curating art and how her blog came to be.  She told us about her insecurities about her own art.  Faced with the prospect of beginning a new painting, she was afraid to mar the perfect, blank canvases she had piled up.  And then how she got herself some nice sketchbooks to use instead.  But how even their nice-ness was daunting and kept her from going.  And then how she bought an old 50¢ cookbook, painted over its pages and was free to start working.
She sweetly wanted to share this freedom to fantastically mess-up and gave everyone their own cookbooks to take home.

Faced with other people’s amazing accomplishments, I’m so often inclined towards “Oh, I could never.”  But this was a dreamy, beautiful snow globe filled with “Oh yes, you fucking could.”

We all told a bit of our own stories and shared small secrets of jealousy and hang-up.  There were whiffs of self-help wafting through at times, but in a gentle way that kept my cynicism from baring any fangs.  In fact, somehow in the spirit of the thing, I got a little bit weepy just thinking about the things I would write down to myself in defiance of my inner critic (a homework assignment for later.)  *You are a special little snowflake, Margaret Edith!*

There was a lunch of wonderful nibbles and salads and sandwiches, all full of vegetables and chick peas and quinoa.  Perfect nourishing fodder for a time of being kind and open and ready for greatness.

There was a tour of some local art galleries, where I imagined being a person who could gracefully spend a thousand dollars on a wonderful piece of art.

There was tea in a collection of fancy, floral tea cups.  There were some gifts of art from Lisa, who seems to never stop giving away something… her space, her book, her enthusiasm for what’s possible.

I am holding on to the message:  Just Try.  And Be Patient.

So I’m still figuring out what exactly it is I’m trying to do.  But I will try anyway.

If you want a prod to go try something yourself, go to Girl Crush.  They’ll be in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Minneapolis, Austin and Philadelphia.  If you have geography in your favor (although there was a lady at ours from West Virginia!) I would insist that you go.

Or just tell me about what it is you’re afraid to try and I’ll be prod-ful.  I shouldn’t be the only one to benefit from this wave of of good.


Lisa in her studio



Filed under Up to Stuff

4 responses to “permission to be rad

  1. you are amazing. thank you for this!
    i’m so happy i know you now! : )

  2. sigh. sounds wonderful. I’m glad I had a creative Monday (and sort of Sunday, if you count chopping up and sewing a t-shirt), so that there would be a dent in my jealousy of all the creative atmosphere of which you got to partake! Not that my cutting and pasting paper could compare to hanging out with Lisa Congdon, but at least I created something recently 🙂

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