How to manage change – creatively

All things must change to something new to something strange

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Back in September we had a bit of a SEVEN makeover. First the lovely Nicola announced she could no longer balance work, life and SEVEN. Then we completely reimagined what we were doing. Big time.

Problem was, by January we were feeling a little lost…

Looking to our art past

For our first two years showing in the Leigh Art Trail we’d shown creative sketchbooks completed using a series of artistic prompts, while using similar materials. In 2017 the theme had been the sea, in 2018 it was ‘estuarine’.

The key had been to see how seven different artists interpreted the same prompts and utilised those similar materials in their work.

But for LAT 2019 we wanted to do something different…

Looking to Leigh Art Trail 2019

So we shook things up. Big time:

  • Goodbye trusty concertina sketchbook, hello handmade journal!
  • No more unifying theme – instead, each SEVEN member took an artist or art movement for inspiration
  • We each sourced our own materials
  • And, we threw out the individually-led workshops

Yep, we had pretty much changed everything.

SEVEN become five

Added to which, by Christmas, the accomplished Kerry Doyland was considering her future with the group – Kerry has her fingers in a lot of artistic pies, including a passion for figure painting and a part in Leigh-on-Sea’s Two Tree Gallery – so it was looking like SEVEN was about to be five.

(From left) Kim, Juliet, Helen, Amanda, Jo

A lesson learned

Change is part of life. And SEVEN collective is no different. But when it came to the self-imposed changes we’d made to the way we worked in our art journals we’d probably made a tad too many.

Without a clear creative compass – a set book, shared materials, or group workshops where we exchanged our favourite techniques – we’d become a bit lost.

Can we pull SEVEN back from the brink of blank sketchbook doom? Or even worse, for those of us who haven’t decided on what shape or size of sketchbook to make, will there simply be a void where a book should be (eeek!)? Let’s wait and see…

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