On creating community

I often get asked “who do you look up to most professionally?” My answer is rather long-winded because the list of people I admire is long and varied. I admire my childhood hero Mary Engelbreit for creating a nearly infinite whimsical world of adorable characters with kind and empowering messages. I admire Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. for creating a cohesive and impeccable brand. I admire Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge for raising the bar of online publishing. And many many more. As a craft and lifestyle blogger inevitably the topic turns to the one who paved the way for lifestyle publishers today: Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart has created a brand that says you can do it and provides the tools necessary to do it. “You, too,  can create a beautiful, organized home.” In order to do so they’ve hired some of the best talent as content creators. I, like many of you I imagine, grew up with the Martha brand as the standard of taste and the epitome of perfection. To me it wasn’t a matter if perfection was reached or not, it was and still is, a matter of creating something so beautiful that it causes you to step back and admire. And that is something I strive for on this smaller platform of mine.

Because publishing is now so accessible to everyone outside of NYC and other major publishing capitals around the world, the people I’ve grown to admire has expanded to bloggers and tastemakers like the few I mentioned above. It’s empowering to know that we are not restricted to geography to create and publish, which leads me to the quality I admire most about the Martha brand: community.

Building a community is one perk of blogging that I hadn’t anticipated, but the one I think I’m most grateful for. I suppose it might seem obvious to you as a reader that I would have foreseen an audience for this blog, but I hadn’t. When I started blogging I just wanted a place to gather things that I loved. I had no concept of what a blog could be and no intention of pushing the boundaries of content creation. I simply put up images of things that I liked, kind of like a Pinterest before Pinterest. Take a look at my archives and you’ll see what I mean. It’s embarrassing.

As I started to realize that I should probably start creating original projects for my blog, like-minded people, and I don’t mean that in a narrow-minded-let’s-all-think-the-same-thing way, started gathering to the blog. And then the more I created, the more people came. If you build it, they will come. Now that people actually read my blog more than my mom and husband (and even then it’s infrequent), they started to ask for workshops and here’s the crazy thing, people came to them! It blows my mind. I’m constantly amazed that people would take time out of their day to come craft with me.

So, what do I mean by community? 
To me, in this blogging context, a community is a group of people who come together who share similar tastes and goals.

What is the community here?
Here on The House that Lars Built, that goal is to create an artful life through beautifully designed DIY projects and inspiration to achieve it. But perhaps your blog community is people who come together to watch all of AFI’s top 100 movies or mommy bloggers in search of the best nap-time activities. It’s up to you!

Why is this idea of community important?
Without you, your input, your feedback, your energy, I probably wouldn’t have the desire to do what I do. I would probably be creating in some way, but putting all this information out there into the world takes up a lot of time and energy. If I didn’t think it would be valuable to someone out there I wouldn’t be doing it. But because you are there, you comment, you email, I can’t help but want to keep on creating.

Bottom line, I’m honored to be a community organizer (and next step: US President!) here on the blog. If this blog has helped you in any way then my job has been served. Thank you for reading and taking the time to do the projects or just look at them and pin them and imagine doing them. And thank you for commenting and for your emails.

The picture above is perk that has come from this type of community building. Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag has written a beautiful book, which is due out later this year, and I had the privilege of styling it with Meta Coleman of One More Mushroom with photography by Nicole Hill Gerulat. This was one of those experiences where working together with people of similar goals and tastes has made an impact on me as a creator. I can’t wait to show you more once it’s released!



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