Friday, April 2, 2010

Big Creativity, Small Space

My wedding shoe, embellished!

My husband said the nicest thing to me the other day.

We . . . no let's be honest . . . I was talking about my studio and wondering why I found it so difficult to create in. It's small. It's small and cluttered and did I mention small? There is just one work table/desk and I have not disciplined myself to clean it off at the end of the day, so it is also always cluttered. I was worried it was me or artist's block or something.

What my husband essentially said was that my creative ideas are too big and expansive for the space I have carved out of the barn/antique shop. I thought that was an awfully sweet thing to say. And it was a new idea to me.

He then suggested I might consider using the whole 600 sq ft of my shop as a studio and even then it might not be enough space. I don't think I need 600 sq ft, and I really don't want to give up the shop, but he made me think about the space in new ways. It often happens when I bounce things off him, he provided a perspective that had not occurred to me.

Sometimes I don't think he pays any attention to what I am doing. This doesn't bother me at all. I was raised with the theory of "loving neglect," where my brother, sister and I were left alone to do our own thing, in a very loving way.

Still it was really nice to have him point out that I have big creative ideas. It made me feel good & gotten and it also made me stop wondering why the studio wasn't working.

I've been comparing myself to others -- if an amazing artist can house her studio in her dishwasher, why wasn't 90 sq ft large enough for me? And the answer is, everyone is different and comparisons only drive a person nuts.

The way the shop is situated, particularly entrances, front & back, windows, load-bearing posts, and the zigs & zags of an old structure, it's a challenge to carve out a single large space. But I was able to push the "walls" (bookcases) out 2 feet.

I added another bookcase around the work table to hold supplies.

I like having my supplies close and I like looking at inspirational things.

I cleared the table off just for this photo.
I also discovered that leaving a space between the table and the bookcases makes the table seem more workman like. Before I had a row of pens, buttons, pretty things at the edge of the table. Now they are on a bookshelf, so they don't take up any room I could use for making art.

New step -- a place to put stuff coming in or going out.


Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

When when when can I come shopping??? And I envy ANY crafting space... I have NONE! My supplies are scattered all over the house. Literally. The baby's changing table now has toys on the bottom two shelves and my craft supplies on the top shelf (on top of the terrycloth covered cushion)! I craft at the kitchen table after I've shoved all the fruit bowls, napkins, peppermills aside. My crafty bits are in boxes in the cellar... my current working stash is in little boxes on the steps... my brother-in-law said I need to be stifled to craft, otherwise if I have too much space I'll spend too much time crafting and not at hubby's shop! LOL

Elyse said...

hi marilee,

you know i always enjoy your writing and perspective so much.

it must be quite dreamy to have an expansive space dedicated to creating. i have to pull supplies out of nooks and crannies and then will usually work at the dining room table, girlie office floor, or both. i make such a mess and it has to be completely picked up each time.

but, still fun and still worth it.

happy holidays!


Julia Christie said...

Hello,first time visitor...I am inspired by your space. I'm still working on the kitchen table most of the time. :-) and mine looks much like your first pictures when I am in the middle of a creative spurt. Have fun with your 'new' space!


The Wrought Iron Gate said...

Hi Marilee!!!

I'm so happy you're back.

I've been on a mission to carve out a small workspace of my own, as well. My supplies are stored in every room. Time that should be devoted to creating is spent gathering. I like the way you've arranaged your work area. Using see-through storage for pretty materials inspires creativity. I hope my new space will work as well for me.

Best Wishes,

Vanessa said...

THis is a way for you to make a commitment to yourself, that you need space that you can work in and with. My honey has the same issue; her little carve out in the house just has not been enough, and what your husband said to you speaks to me, as how to support her better; she is such a big artist, she needs more space! I am getting more okay with art stuff, with her and our daughter, creating in various parts of the house. I am finding it rather delightful actually, like we live in a studio!!!!

Pearl Maple said...

Well done, your creative space is looking like a lovely nook. Good luck in making it just right for you.