Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where Women Create (My 6 Month Journey to a New Space)

I've heard so many great things about the new magazine "Where Women Create" and met the gals who are responsible for putting it together when I was at CHA in California. Amazing, beautiful spaces...and it started me thinking about where I create. I started glancing back through my photos of the past year and realized I have been on a journey to "Where I Create". Thought it might be fun to share the trip...ALERT-this is NOT a "magazine perfect" trip- this is my real, messy, long trip -an Iowa woman- high on creativity, low on desire to put her funds into making a perfect studio happen (I'd rather buy paint and canvases!)

Last fall, I started to outgrow my space in my corner studio/converted guest room so...I headed for the garage-complete with "cleaned out flower bed weeds" in the wheelbarrow sharing my space.

I had some yucky stuff to get out onto paper and canvas so this was a perfect spot-until it got COLD.

Then, I was invited to move to a downtown location-a quiet, secluded basement spot.

Plenty of room to spread out and a ledge to prop up some canvases.

So, I had a place to paint, which was great because a MAJOR purge was going on in my little studio. At some point this past December I realized I had multiple identities still living in this space and finally was able to tackle the files, drawers, and closet full of accumulated "old me's". I had been longing to declutter my studio but it is so hard for my artist self to part with all of my carefully collected and treasured art supplies. I had no trouble getting rid of my old maternity clothes but art supplies and ideas...that is an entirely different story! Julie Morgenstern's "When Organizing Isn't Enough" helped me realize it was my thought process that was the problem. Six or seven black garbage bags later, along with a huge garage sale pile separated out in my basement, I was starting to make some headway. You know the saying "it has got to get worse before it can get better"...everything was out and a disaster.

Another place I got to create was at beautiful cottage- a weekend getaway with girlfriends allowed me to focused on creating scrapbook layouts of some of our best 2008 moments. It was such a peaceful place to create- windows overlooking a frozen pond, full moon with a fresh snowfall during the night.

The move to the garage and then the basement studio allowed me to keep painting larger and larger works. I wanted to be able to create these larger pieces in my home studio, but there simply wasn't room so I started strategizing all the ways I could find more space in my studio. I was cleaning out but I still needed more room. Maybe the computer and desk could move to the kitchen? Early one morning I grabbed one of the Homespacing kits from Canvas Corp. and started playing with it. I really wasn't so sure if this would be something I would ever use-I'm usually the sort of gal who doesn't take the time to plan out exactly where everything goes. I just start moving furniture around and "see how it fits", but with this big of a project I thought it couldn't hurt. And, somewhere in the middle of plotting out where everything could go in my current studio space a wild idea entered my head. What if converted this space into a bedroom for one of my boys and moved my studio into our current living room? I really didn't think my beloved hubby would go for the idea, but I used the Office/studio kit to plot it all out and then I showed him. He said it made great sense so the plan was in place.

I tried it out by re-arranging furniture and moving my studio table into the living room. Then, I talked him into letting me pull up the carpet so the boys so we moved everything back out of the room and we spent one morning of Spring Break removing the carpet.

We pulled hundreds of staples and then I simply painted the plywood floor boards and we moved everything back in. The only thing I purchased was a new roller to paint the floor. My mom came and helped me organize all the bookshelves and do a bit of decorating. We painted the old studio room this weekend so now the bedroom is just about ready as well.

My New Studio

My easel will go in the other corner of the room- so much more space and the best lighting in the house. It wasn't a fast process-the whole thing worked on in and out of my already busy work and family life. But, thanks to all my family who helped me create just the right space for this woman to create.