Finding Your Creative Tribe and no...this is not Lord of the Flies.

Long-time fans of Lock & Key might be familiar with the selfie series I launched in the spring of 2016. Since each piece of Lock & Key jewelry is inspired by a story, I thought it'd only be fair to let wearers of each piece of work share their story, too. Given a piece of jewelry and a camera, I've asked a handful of local Nashville artists to capture their story and share with the world. And I'm happy to announce that the tales from our two new fall/winter selfie series participants are pretty darn awesome. Check them out if you haven't already.


Although I'm proud of the selfie series, what I'm really here to preach about today is the importance of a creative tribe. In my line of work, it can be far too easy to work in a silo — creating art independent of the people and world around you. Although this creative approach can be highly efficient, I've found that it's also incredibly unfulfilling. Because what's the point of creating something for the world to see if you don't take the time to see the world itself?


In the past, I've been blessed to have had creative circles ready and waiting for me as I took on new roles. When I worked at Disney, for example, it was almost impossible to stroll down the office hallway without stumbling into a brainstorm or sketching session. At BCBGMAXAZRIA, the walls were filled with inspiring prints and patterns — and my coworkers were basically walking works of art themselves.


Flash forward a few years and I found myself alone at home with my loom, craving the creative interactions that I once took for granted. Since I've ventured out on my own as a jewelry maker, I've learned that my creative process is driven by inspiration from others; and as a result, I've found it essential to develop a creative tribe.


My tribe is composed of local artists, designers, "makers," and other creative spirits who are more than just friends — they're basically business partners. We rely on each other for inspiration, hold each other accountable, and — perhaps most importantly — provide the much-needed support artists need when they feel alone in their creative space. Although I enjoy the manual process of creating every piece of Lock & Key jewelry, I find even more satisfaction in sharing the process with others (which is one reason I started this blog, in fact!). It's the story behind each piece of jewelry that makes it truly beautiful. And having a group of people to tell that story to is essential to my success as an artist.


Do you have a "tribe" yourself? A group of people that you can share your grandest (even if far-fetched) dreams with, expose your weaknesses to, and rely on when things get tough? If not, I'd highly encourage you to go find a tribe or create one of your own. They'll help you make sure you're sharing your passion with the world, instead of burying yourself too deep in your passion.

Above are some of the amazing creatives that have been featured in past Selfie Series.