This Monday I spent the evening participating in an event called SHARE, organized by Kathleen Lane. I was excited to be invited, meet some new people, and spend time making something that wouldn’t involve staring at a computer screen.
The format of the event involves bringing together a group of creatives, giving them a one-word prompt, and then seeing what they make over the course of 2 hours that is related to the word. At the end, each person shares what they have made in a small, intimate setting that reminded me a bit of opening presents on Christmas eve: you never know what you’re going to get next, but more importantly you’re just thankful that you’re in good company.
I arrived at 6:30 to meet some of the other participants and eat some snacks (ginger chews can be long lasting and invigorating). After a few minutes of mingling, we received our prompt word: CRASH.
Immediately I thought of a new song I had been listening to called The Balcony by The Rumour Said Fire. There is a section towards the end of the song with some cymbals and base drums crashing. CRASH, I thought. This song sounds like crashing, but with other words. With my new framework of how to approach the prompt, I started listening to the song on my iPhone to see what I would find. After a few listens I decided to focus on the lyrics that felt like “crash” to me. These are the four phrases that I picked.
0:34 – So your mouth tastes like sunshine
1:15 – And the sound of your heartache
2:43 – The sound of when your hair falls down on the pillow late at night
3:03 – This song sounds like crashing, but with other words
3:06 – So take my hands love, there’s a burst inside our minds
After choosing the four phrases, I wanted to make a visual representation of them to put in the picture frames I had brought with me. So I sketched shapes that could be easily converted into a pattern for cutting felt pieces and making abstract images. It might seem convoluted, but at the time it made perfect sense inside my head. Plus, there wasn’t really time to stop and analyze it, which is part of what makes events like these so much fun. I spend most of my waking hours questioning and analyzing, but there was no room for that tonight!
When it came my turn to share I played the song, and as each phrase came up in the song I revealed the felt art and held up a piece of paper with the lyrics written on it. The less talking that I had to do, the better! Even though I felt very awkward presenting, people seemed to enjoy it, and one woman said she became verklempt. And indeed, she did look quite verklempt. I, too, feel verklempt sometimes.
And that is how the human brain works. Mystery solved.
I did a little bit of preparation beforehand by gathering some materials to bring with me (2 hours isn’t much time to make something from scratch). My materials list included:
white paper*, black stiff paper, glue*, thin wooden rods, various scissors*, pens, brushes & acrylics, pipe cleaners, thread and needles, tape, 187 (+/-) googley eyes, 4 IKEA picture frames*, and a box full of felt*. I also had a few ideas of what I might make – a mobile, some flags, or something in a picture frame. I ended up using the items marked with a *, but my idea of making a mobile or flags flew out the window within 30 seconds of receiving the prompt.
Here are the 2 process pictures I managed to take. Otherwise I was furiously cutting felt while tapping my foot to that very catchy song.
Timing wise I spent about 25 minutes figuring out what lyrics to focus on, 25 minutes to sketch the designs I would use as patterns to cut the felt with, and 65 mintues cutting and assembling the felt pieces. Oh, and of course 5 minutes at the end to clean up my mess!
SHARE #14 participants included:
Kate Berube, illustrator/author
Meg Drinkwater, designer/maker
Erin Gardner, designer/maker
Joan Hiller, painter
Mette Hornung Rankin, designer
Liz Scott, writer
Cara Ungar-Gutierrez, out loud thinker
Jim Brunberg, musician
Tim Combs, artist
Trey Corkern, photographer
Kathleen Holt, writer
Giuseppe Lipari, painter/sculptor
Lorna Nakelle, painter
Leann O’Rourke, photographer
Liz Prato, writer
Nora Robertson, writer/poet
Laurence Sarrazin, designer
Mark Saltveit, comedian/palindromist
Seeing what everybody else created was fascinating; a diptych illustration of two crashes a person had been through, jewelry molds that had been mashed together, a man donning a cymbal outfit and playing a song, short stories about love & loss & finding, and man recording all sorts of sounds that he made a song out of, and last but not least a palindromist who created the singular version of the word oops – all within two hours. If you let yourself be free, interesting things will happen.
SHARE is organized by Margaret Malone and Kathleen Lane. Recaps of each SHARE event can be found on their blog.