Someone commented on my recent post, “RUNNING WITH THE PACK”. She said she hadn’t found her “peeps” yet, which inspired this post today.

I love the word “peeps”. For me, they still conjure up visions of yellow marshmallow chicks at Easter time. I guess both “peeps” have things in common: Stickiness!

Here’s a good tip for finding your tribe. The next time you find yourself preparing a a major step forward, look to see who’s right there with you.

I give this advice every time I teach on workshop on professional development skills. I end every presentation with this suggestion….

“Look around you. You came today because you wanted to take the next step in your own growth as an artist.

You’re in a group that self-selected for the same thing! You’re all in the same tribe.

Did you feel a connection with someone today? Did you like what someone had to say? Exchange contact info, and get together. Maybe even form your own support group!”

In fact, whenever you take any big step in a new direction, take note of the company you’re in.

I took hospice training earlier this year. Some of you may remember the essay I wrote early on describing that incredible sensation of connection I felt with this group.

It was no coincidence–people taking that training have come to a certain point in their lives. We were ready to be a part of something different and new. We formed a nexus, and felt a sort of recognition in each other. We’d never met before, but we traveled this same road together in search of something powerful and compelling.

We were not strangers to each other. “I know you!” we each thought.

We had become members of a strange new tribe.

You, too, may find your tribe in this way. Or in other strange places. When you are open, truly open, to the work that is in your heart, you are also open to new opportunities. New adventures. New people.

Not all will stick. But some will.

Your tribe. Your peeps!

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

8 thoughts on “TRIBES #2: FINDING YOUR PEEPS”

  1. Luann; so true. I started a little artists group 2 years ago (about the same time I found your blog, thanks!) and we are still around. The common factor between us all was only me, most of us work in different mediums. I just invited women artists I liked, and we have all grown to be good friends, very supportive and solid. Does it take time and work? You bet! And the end result is far larger than the pieces. Thanks for the great post(s). I forward a great many of them to the whole group.


  2. Luann,
    I have never written before, although I’ve been reading online and in Crafts Report for a long time. This time I felt compelled to reply to the issue of finding your ‘peeps’.
    I am a lampworker and in the central part of the US, that means you’re one-in-a-million. I thought I had found my ‘peeps’ in a group pulled from several states, willing to drive to meet. We averaged 8-10 at a meeting and had wonderful workshops and comraderie.
    But, this kind of group, loose and unstructured, is just wide open to subversion by those to whom control is more important than free and informative exchange of thoughts, ideas and goals. Such is the case with this group.
    I no longer meet with them, as they were not willing to ‘rock the boat’ to make rules that would prevent this kind of behavior. In retrospect, I think I would have been better off to have not joined this group, as I now mourn the loss of a few good folks who would have eventually become good friends.
    For now, I choose to go my own way and find my own creative voice without the feedback from which most artists thrive. I have to say, I somewhat envy you your place in this circle of friends you’ve entered.


    1. Dear E.S., it DOES feel awful when we find “our tribe”, only to lose them again to the small-minded actions of others.

      You may have shared a medium, and a desire for friendship. But as you experienced, sometimes the group simply provides an opportunity for a handful to act out for their own needs at the expense of everyone else’s.

      Still, 8-10 people is a large group! May I suggest you reconnect with the people you truly enjoyed, with a proposal less formal? Perhaps use email, the phone, a group blog, etc. to stay in touch. Or simply agree to attend the same workshops or seminars and arrange to meet informally afterward.

      You don’t need to look for just glass people, either. Some of my “peeps” aren’t even visual artists. It’s more important to me that they have a certain outlook on life, and truly care about me and my agenda.

      Last, know that sometimes these groups form and serve a wonderful purpose, only to then fade away for the reasons you mentioned. People want different things from the group, egos can clash. That’s just the nature of groups.

      I used to be overwhelmed with sadness and frustration when this happened. Now I know that when one door closes, another door opens. I personally think it’s worse to stay with a group that eventually cramps my style, than to explore new friendships and new possibilities.

      Only you know what will work best for you. I wish you well in your search for new “peeps”. They’re out there somewhere! :^)


  3. I agree that is important to find your ‘peeps’. Especially as an artist or crafter, since friends and family may not truly understand your passion. Almost 2 years ago I started a polymer clay blog and although it took quite some time and effort, I finally feel like we have a strong community spirit there. It is a nice feeling to learn from and share your art with others that ‘get’ you. Makes the world a little smaller and a whole lot friendlier!


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