Open Studio

Two words kept resonating during our Bracelets For Buildings conference call yesterday, talking about our upcoming humanitarian work in rural Cambodia:  Collaboration and Community.  I went out to the studio after we wrapped things up and started into my next projects.  On my mind was what to do with Birdsong Studio workshops in the coming year.  In the process of drawing, painting and building boxes I started to form a new idea. 

First of all, it's important to note that I have never considered Birdsong to be MY studio.  I've always considered it to be OUR studio.  Over the years, various people have popped in and out of the space creating alongside each other:  Taylor, Jarod, Jay, Melba, Keri-Anne, Olivia, and of course, Heather.  There have also been hundreds who have participated in workshops within the small confines of the convenient creative space in our backyard.  I have always had the sense of COMMUNITY when it comes to Birdsong Studio.  I have also enjoyed the power of COLLABORATION as artists create together and draw from each other's strengths and passions.

I have loved being a fly on the wall (or at the easel) listening to what happens when a group of friends, family and even strangers spends three hours painting together.  After the initial tension of getting started and putting the first strokes of colour on the canvas, a calm descends and an equal mix of serene silence and authentic conversations happen. 

Along the way, I've also observed that some people just long for some creative time away from their family, personal time to recharge and reflect.  I get to come out to this amazing space every day.  Most people don't have that option, or that dedicated spot in their lives to shut out the rest of the world and just play with paint and take time for themselves. 

All of this has taken me to the idea of offering an OPEN STUDIO.  The idea is simple.  On specific days I will let everyone know via my Russell Thomas Art Facebook Page that we are opening the doors and inviting anyone to join us.  If you have your own project and supplies, you would bring them along.  If you don't have anything, but still wanted to hang out and paint, we would supply everything you need for $20 + gst.  Simple as that.  I even have loads of painting ideas to help get you started.  If you were stuck and didn't know where to start, our Birdsong Studio community of artists would step up to assist and encourage.

Rather than charging people to participate in OPEN STUDIO, instead we would simply ask you to make a cash donation (of any amount) to Bracelets For Buildings, a charity that builds safe and sustainable homes for the poorest of the poor in rural Cambodia.  While we are poised and ready to build 15 homes in the next two months, we are already starting our fundraising efforts for the 2020 building season.

So that's the idea.  What do you think?  Would you enjoy coming to Birdsong for OPEN STUDIO? 


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