Introducing… Arts Muster Jervis Bay!

New location, new season, for 2023.

Can art and creativity contribute to our wellbeing? I think so.

After a small start-up event in 2019 in the Blue Mountains, Arts Muster has endured through fires, floods and the whole pandemic situation to re-emerge with a strong commitment to organising an exciting program of arts and crafts workshops.

There were so many times in the past three years I nearly gave up – but I knew in my heart that events like Arts Muster fulfil a desire in us all to explore creative expressions, to be part of a creative community and experience the joys of making.

This is why…

I was a “serial student” at arts and crafts workshops for a decade.

It was the perfect foil for my high-pressure corporate job – to spend a weekend making things with other people who were looking for the same sense of satisfaction and joy from seeing a new object emerge in your hands.
Over many years, I have tried silk painting, solar plate etching, lino cut printing, shibori dying, collagraphs, upcycled fashion, slow stitch, doll making, plaster casting, cyanotype, collage, paper making, book binding, and of course, felting.
From these experiences, I have a wonderful network of likeminded people who I love to see, once or twice a year, and catch up on our shared creative passions.

I have participated in so many different workshops with extraordinary people.

So when the opportunity arose for me to create a new event company in this vein, I jumped at it. Arts Muster was born in 2019 with its very first ‘trial size’ event that October in the Blue Mountains.
We ‘took over’ the location and timing of a previous event, which had been shut down despite being hugely popular and successful – it was time for them to move on, after many years of hard work. Those previous organisers threw their support behind Arts Muster, which was incredibly generous – and which they continue to do so to this day.

Between October 2019 and today, you know the story – fires, floods and pandemic lockdowns. We have all shared the trauma.

What was meant to be our first big event, in April 2020, was cancelled. We refunded all the tickets and took the financial hit on the bank fees, marketing and advertising costs, and of course our time and emotional investment. I was devastated – the timing to start a new events company couldn’t have been worse!

The following year, with hope in my heart, I decided to organise a small event for April 2021. We promoted only a handful of workshops. It was an intimate event, despite the constant sanitising and cleaning protocols that were mandated at the time.
I was also recovering from a surgical procedure on my wrist, while tutoring a natural dyeing class and ‘running’ the event – my great sense of timing at work again! That weekend would not have been possible without my amazing support crew – you know who you are!
It was so much work and so much effort, even though it was incredibly satisfying to defy the odds and pull it together. After paying the tutors, venue, insurance, marketing, website hosting, travel, etc, the event broke even. I paid myself a tutor’s fee, but as the organiser, I did that for the love.

Not surprisingly my heart and my enthusiasm were dampened, when it came time to plan an event for 2022… I decided to take a break and reassess the viability of the whole thing.
So many arts, cultural and foodie events were in the same boat. Facing the decision to go on or shut down. And let’s face it, I could tutor a single workshop and get paid the same. No need to put myself through the wringer to organise a big event for no return.

I spoke to my closest advisors, poured my heart out – Arts Muster had a solid foundation that I had built myself from the ground up. Was it worth trying again? Or giving up?

My decision to keep going.
I strongly believe that events such as Arts Muster can and do make a huge contribution to our wellbeing. I know this from personal experience.

For me, the opportunity to get together with people and have a shared experience – especially one where we are making things together, learning new skills from a talented artist or craftsperson, and learning from and supporting each other – is invaluable.

These events create a sense of community; the chance to make new friends and try new things; a showcase for artists and craftspeople to connect with new audiences, who can grow a new appreciation of their imagination and skill; a celebration of creativity. These are the things I loved about attending arts and crafts workshops for so many years.
Sure, the pandemic did give rise to an amazing array of online classes – which is a whole other topic for another blog post – but a zoom screen cannot replace the sense of community that develops in real life.
As I talked about this with my mentors, they encouraged me to hold on to that sense of purpose. As we emerge from the past few years of incredible hardships, I believe these opportunities to come together are more important than ever.
So Arts Muster lives on, in a new location, and a new season.

Introducing… Arts Muster Jervis Bay!
For a weekend towards the end of winter, 19-20 August 2023, we will gather in beautiful locations in Vincentia and Huskisson, to make things together.

For the past month, I have been securing venues for workshops and community gatherings – such as art markets, mini-workshops and creative demonstrations.

Right now, I am asking anyone interested in becoming a tutor at Arts Muster to get in touch – I am looking for talented artists and craftspeople across any and all disciplines (but not painting, as I believe there are enough painting classes already available).

I am hopeful again, and enthusiastic, and passionate about Arts Muster. I am encouraged by the conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks with the local venues, businesses, artists, and friends, who all believe this is an exciting new event for Jervis Bay.

I am grateful for the support that is already flowing for Arts Muster 2023.
A new program of workshops will be available very soon.

In the meantime, please subscribe to our newsletter (via our website), follow our socials, and feel free to get in touch directly with any questions, comments or feedback.