I’ve been trying desperately to change the name of my workspace for a good 10 years. That’s a long time to be desperate but for some reason the names of rooms become ingrained in my head and changing them takes an act of – well – desperation.
The kitchen is easy, it’s always the kitchen – food is prepared and eaten there. There’s no confusion. The guest room has been lots of things since I’ve lived in the house and is now in a state of flux once more – I’m trying to decide between guest room (it has a futon so can hold guests), computer room (obvious), or office. I’m planning to put all of my yarn and knitting supplies up there so it could even be the wool room or the knitting room. I use all of those names interchangeably at the moment so whenever I refer to the room, everyone in earshot is confused about where I mean.
When I moved into the house, the studio was the sewing room. It held my fabric, my machine, and all of my various sewing accessories. It was my room, a room where I could retreat to gather my thoughts and make stuff. I have a history of sewing rooms. I had one in the previous house and my mother always had a sewing room. The words “sewing room” flow naturally off of my tongue and hold an emotional value for me. In this particular room, in this house, I made clothing for myself and my family, I made gifts for the people I love. I wrote poetry, I talked on the phone, I listened to the radio and sang. I was myself.
Eventually, the sewing stuff took up more space in the closets and less on the counters. Ink and plexiglass replaced scissors and needles. It was time to make a change. I needed to recognize and validate the artist in me.
I started trying to call my room “the studio” instead of the sewing room. Sometimes I remembered and sometimes it was still “the sewing room”. Sometimes it was just “my room”. I wasn’t sewing much anymore and so I moved the fabric out of the room. I moved my sewing books and patterns out and replaced them with my printmaking books. I remembered to say “studio” more often and my family seemed to know which room I was talking about.
This week, I am hoping to get a desk from a friend. It will replace a bureau that used to be in the studio. The desk is sturdy and low and can be used for pressing, something the bureau could never do. My space is transforming once again to the changes in my life.
I’m lucky. As an adult I’ve always had a room of my own. I have kept a place where I can be myself and where the only expectations are those that I impose on myself. Whether it is an office, a sewing room, or a studio; whether the furniture gets moved around or the name changes; it’s a place where I am the queen.