This is the weekend to come to terms with my new status of single mom with only child away at college.
I intend to do some baking, continue reorganizing the house, garden, clean the pellet stove, get some exercise and pull at least one print. This week I have been fairly busy with my friends who have been making sure that I’m not wandering incoherently around in an empty house or sobbing myself to sleep. I have had lovely invitations to dinner and taken advantage of every one. There comes a time when I have to see what it feels like to be alone for an extended period without the anticipation of my son coming home. After all, the next time he will be home is Christmas.
In truth, I am looking forward to the alone time. Last night I set up the radio so that there is more sound in the house than just me talking to myself or the cats (I’ve always talked out loud to whoever is or isn’t around so please don’t count this as “crazy cat lady” behavior – for me, its normal). I intend to bake some bread for myself for the coming week to prove that I really do like to bake bread; it’s not just an activity that I do to nurture others. And then there is the studio. It is waiting for me like a living thing. I hear it whisper to me as I glance its way. I notice that the drafting table is cleaned off and waiting for a new plate. The inks are patient for now but need stirring and want to sing their sticky songs as the brayer rolls over them.
I am excited about this. I am looking forward to this private time. I am happily anticipating a weekend of my own. I’ll let you know how it goes…..
Last night I went to bed reading Studios Magazine that a friend had lent to me. I woke up this morning with the gigantic revelation that – wait for this – you will be amazed – I will be the only person living in my house starting in September and my whole house can be my studio if I want it to be! OK – so I’m a little slow sometimes but this is huge!
It means that the closet in the studio that currently holds interesting clothing items like kimonos and vintage dresses that have absolutely nothing to do with printmaking, can be moved to – oh my gosh – the closet in the hall! And then…. And then…. The studio closet could be retrofitted for – imagine this – paper!!!!!!
Out goes whatever has been stored in the lower cabinets all these years (honestly – when was the last time I actually opened them?) and in goes the ink and the brayers.
I started this process a few months ago by moving the sewing stuff into the bedroom and the knitting stuff into the upstairs office – but it was minor compared to what I’m imagining now. Why couldn’t the living room be used as a workshop area if I decide to hold a class?!! Why is this such a revelation?!
I know that I’m using way too many exclamation points here but I can’t help it – my whole house can be the studio!!!!!!!!!!!!
What I saw as I was looking at all of these beautiful studios in the magazine was personal space that had been created for the artist / by the artist. Couches and reading areas, wet areas, dry areas, tables to work on, messy areas that don’t have to be cleaned between projects and clean areas for showing off work. I have all of that. It’s not in one room but who says it has to be? I have all of those things in my lovely house. Oh my gosh – this is totally amazing. I can do anything I want!
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.