The Story of the Atelier
We used the term 'Atelier' the first time in 1996. Jean-Claude initiated what he called the 'Atelier'. For two weeks artists were invited to work intensely on their own creative work.
We were in a giant room. We spread out and began working on our projects from morning till night. Some were devising theatre, some painted, some worked on sculpture, some wrote, others composed music together. Everyone had a specific project they were committed to. The intensity and focus of the studio atmosphere along with opportunities to work consistently with creative edges and blocks was fantastic. Sometimes we would get on each other's nerves. Sometimes we would strike up unexpected collaborations.
We gathered each day for two hours. During the two hours, we sometimes focused on one of us individually - we each got a chance to share what we were doing, and to work at the very edges of our creative process, with the support of the group and Jean-Claude's and Arlene's facilitation. Sometimes we focused on the group dynamic among us, the studio atmosphere, and the difficulties as well as creative processes cooking up among all of us. It was an amazing learning experience for all and not always easy.
Several of us commented on how we learned that we could not speed up the creative process. Yet, people spoke about a profound sense of contact with their creativity, and the sense of not being alone or isolated in painful moods and blocks. The creative process with all its pain and joy began to feel a part of life, something that could be sustained, that we could support in others and in ourselves, yet as mysterious as ever.
People kept talking about the Atelier for years.
The concept of the Atelier is to create an environment, an atmosphere, or a kind of culture and space for artists to work among each other, focusing on their creative work, their art, and on the inner work and relationship aspects of the creative process. Theatre, music, dance and visual arts are full of too many stories of pain and humiliation. The Atelier concept is to make more facile the playful and difficult work of reaching to the essence of one's creative project. This is a process that is deeply private and personal but also communal. It can include moments of inspiration and ecstasy as well as hard work. It also means finding the awareness to surf in the territory that usually freezes artists around critics and frozen states, making all this more humane, creative and often fun.
Jean-Claude and Arlene Audergon have given many public and private workshops on the Creative Process in the UK and Europe.