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Local female art collective encourages self care through creativity

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Founded in May, Take Care Collective is a group of local female artists who have embraced art as a way of taking care of themselves.

These women sell prints, collages, digital work, photos, dried flowers, jewelry, soap, candles and shadow boxes. They also offer taupes, stickers, magnets and are working on T-shirts.

“We’re all women, and we all graduated from UNT,” said Meredith Sanders, Denton resident and Take Care Collective founder. “We all work together to help take care of each other and ourselves by doing our art and being creative. We take care of each other by helping each other out with costs for the market, and we take care of our clients by giving them art.”

Sanders wanted to start the collective to use her pre-existing leadership skills to create a community of women that care for themselves, one another and art.

“I wanted to start this because I am a leader in general,” Sanders said. “Then, I thought I wanted to do the market, and I thought other people would too but I didn’t have the money to do it. I then thought, ‘Who would be willing to do this?’”

The women of Take Care Collective met each other through their shared interests and values in the community. Sanders coordinated the group of UNT graduates to collaborate and feed off of one another.

“I knew everyone through various things,” Sanders said. “I worked with a couple of people, someone is just a mutual friend and I met someone at UNT in our drawing class. She had a photography friend, so I invited her too. It was kind of like ‘Who does art, who’s in Denton and who’s up for this?’”

One of the key values of Take Care Collective is incorporating mental health and self care into their artwork. In addition to taking care of themselves, Sanders said, the artists also value taking care of the planet and the community.

“I am very into mental health in general,” Sanders said. “Any time I need to process something, I’m painting. We all buy our stuff from SCRAP [Denton], so we take care of ourselves and other people by helping with recycling. Mostly, art is a way of taking care of myself by just creating and having somewhere to get out my thoughts and process things and just be me.”

Take Care Collective has given the women involved an outlet to showcase their art.

“As artists, we all need a place to put ourselves out there,” Sanders said. That’s a big thing with artists — they just make and they don’t have anywhere to show it off or sell it or make money or anything. We’re all starving artists. I thought it would be a good way to help each other.”

Take Care Collective members have created a supportive environment of people who care for each other beyond artwork.

“When I’m upset, I text my collective and say things like, ‘Hey, I might be struggling on Saturday, but I’ll be there,’” Sanders said. “They all just send me waves of texts like, ‘I love you,’ ‘You’re great’ and ‘You’re going to do this.’ We all just inspire each other to keep each other going.”

Other members of the collective have also seen themselves grow as individuals since joining the group.

“Joining a collective has been really empowering,” said Katherine Curry, Denton resident and Take Care Collective outreach coordinator. “It has let me grow and do things that I wouldn’t have considered viable before. All of the women here are very supportive and really encourage trying any and all ideas, so where I’ve felt restricted before, I realize now that the only thing holding me back is me.”

Katherine Treff, a Denton resident and Take Care Collective’s booth manager, said the collective has helped her increase her confidence in her art.

“[Take Care Collective] has helped me overcome this perceived sense of unworthiness when it comes to the ideas in my head, or whatever the feeling is that makes you feel the need to stay quiet,” Treff said.

Members have the opportunity to collaborate in their art form and improve as artists.

“I think my favorite part has been learning from the other girls,” Curry said. “We’re a very interdisciplinary group, so there’s different ways of doing things, different workflows.”

As members of the collective, the women have gotten the chance to put their work out there for everyone to see.

“For years I have made collages, both analog and digital, but have been shy about this idea of ‘putting myself out there,’” Treff said. “While I always enjoyed the process of taking an abstract visualization in my head and making it into a coherent image, I didn’t see it as something that others may want to see on the walls of their homes.”

Sanders said she can see Take Care Collective growing quickly and will be taking the time after the Denton Community Market closes to work on company development.

“This off season, I plan to work on getting our website up and putting all of our art on our website,” Sanders said. “I’d like to work on adding new members, how we will add them and what that will look like. I’d like to work on projects within Denton, and I’d like to work on projects with the collective as a group, making a billboard or something together. [I’d like to start] teaching SCRAP workshops or getting together with Greater Denton Art Council. I really want to start getting our artists displayed in galleries … to get our names out there.”

Take Care Collective has given everyone involved an opportunity to grow together as artists and as people.

“I’m happy doing it — I’m happy with who I picked,” Sanders said. We work well together, and we have been pretty good about dividing up the work and conquering. It’s about who is most available right now, and who can do this right now.”

Featured Image: Shay Haas, Meredith Sanders, and Katherine Treff are three out of seven members from Take Care Collective, a Denton based all female art collective. Image by Bertha Smith

Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily

Source: North Texas Daily

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