Ceramics artist Kristin Busch laughs while chatting with visitors at her booth Sept. 5, 2021 at the Fourth Street Festival of Arts & Crafts in Bloomington. Staff photo by Janice Rickert
Ceramics artist Kristin Busch laughs while chatting with visitors at her booth Sept. 5, 2021 at the Fourth Street Festival of Arts & Crafts in Bloomington. Staff photo by Janice Rickert
Sidney Bolam equates her life as an artist to "the ugly duckling story." Growing up, she was an outsider, never fitting in with any club or clique. In a crowd, she was deeply anxious. In a small group, she could never think of the right words to say.

"All my life, I've been around people where I'll say something and then everyone looks at me like I'm nuts," Bolam told The Herald-Times.

Art was an escape for her, but it was solitary and, at times, lonesome. She was in her late 20s, a new mother juggling sippy cups and diapers, when she first began reaching out to her local community of artists. To her surprise, it provided a new, belated sense of belonging.

"I always felt like a total weirdo. You know what I mean? I've been an artist all my life — that's the only thing I'm good at — and it was a real awakening to find a community of people that are like me," Bolam said.

Most artists are cut from the same cloth, Bolam said. They shoulder similar problems and come up with similar solutions. They find beauty in the same things. They operate on a nearly identical brain wavelength, she said.

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