You may have noticed that there was no Croshare Catch-up for June – that’s because it was a busy month that saw us conclude the practical part of our project for Portsmouth Festivities 2017, Trawl. During this time, the boundaries between ‘art’ being ‘something that we do’ and ‘artist’ being ‘who we are’ became blurred on occasion, something we’d intended to discuss last month in the run-up to the Trawl event. In a way, the ‘break’ between catch-up posts has allowed us to gain more experience on which to base a little discussion, as well as the opportunity to reflect on what we would have posted. So, on to a question we jotted down a few weeks ago.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – FRIDAY 26 MAY 2017
CROSHARE TO PRESENT TRAWL, A PARTICIPATORY INSTALLATION CELEBRATING PORTSMOUTH’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SEA, AS PART OF PORTSMOUTH FESTIVITIES 2017
Part crochet workshop, part participatory art project, part good old-fashioned get together, Croshare heads to Aspex, a contemporary gallery in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, on Sunday 18 June as part of the programme of events for the 18th annual Portsmouth Festivities.
What if no one likes it?
What if no one comes to see it?
What if I don’t manage to finish it?
What if I can’t realise my idea?
What if it just doesn’t go to plan?
Practically every artist asks themselves a question along those lines about practically every piece of work. It’s natural. It’s not only part of the creative process, but it’s human. And behind each of these questions is another – almost the same one, every time: What if I fail? Well… What if you do?
Croshare is proud to announce its participation in Portsmouth Festivities 2017. This Sunday 18 June at Aspex in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Croshare will welcome members of the public to Trawl: a fun, large and bright crochet installation celebrating Portsmouth’s long and proud relationship with the sea, as well as a reminder of our responsibility in caring for it. And, what’s more, from now until Portsmouth Festivities starts, you have the opportunity to make or give us something that will become part of this installation.
Croshare’s projects see us approaching individuals for their assistance in making these happen; we recognise that we need to be collaborative, adding others’ experience, expertise and resources to our own in order to achieve the results we want. Often, when we approach these people, we do so thinking of them in the terms of the one thing for which we need them, or the one thing we need them to do – and it can often come as a surprise that they are, do or have far more than this ‘one thing’.
As an artist, you might feel pressured to be working constantly, to be productive constantly or to be ‘involved’ constantly. We’re told that those who enjoy the most success are the ones who are ‘out there and doing it’ every day of the year; it’s a simplistic and reductive view of art practice that often denies the value of an artist’s experiences outside the production and promotion of their work as contributors to the success of these, and can make those of us who aren’t full-time artists feel as though we’re ‘not proper artists’ or that we’re failing, or falling behind, in comparison with our peers.
As we begin working on this year’s Croshare projects, we experience of one of the things that pops up again and again: the generosity of people we’ve never before met. Over the last year, we’ve received gifts of advice, contacts, connections, networking, promotion, goods and services from a significant number of people, all given with one aim: helping us advance our artistic and artisanal practices to achieve our goals.
The period just before and just after new year is a wonderful time to both look back on the accomplishments of the previous year, and to think about what may await you over the coming months. It’s a good way to make use of the peculiar ‘limbo’ between Christmas and the new year, during which time appears to stand still – but, that might just be a symptom of eating one too many mince pies. Who knows?
As we hold more Croshare sessions, I realise that the project is so much more than merely teaching and learning crochet skills. For the relatively brief duration of each session, we end up creating a small community of people. Often these people have never met before and their prior knowledge of crochet varies. Yet after a just a short time together, we find that we are sharing more than skills. Participants also share stories and life experiences. These are as varied as the crochet skills that they bring to the session. Holding the hook and yarn, participants relax and start to bond with each other.
Having trained to teach English as a second language, I am familiar with structured learning, and the typical relationships between a teacher and their students. I am familiar with the hierarchies present in most learning environments, and appropriate balances of formality and informality. These help, for the most part, create an appropriate environment in which learning and teaching, and all associated processes, take place. It’s interesting to have noted that all of this practically goes out the window when it comes to Croshare.