I'm spoiled rotten. I am surrounded by an awesome studio filled with everything imaginable for creating art of all types, from quilts to canvases to fine papers. My studio has been described by family and friends as "the local craft store" and I cannot deny the truth in that- I love paints, dyes, gadgets, paper, fabric and all the million other little bits and pieces that go into hand-crafting beautiful objects.
But I want more, always more. More bookcases. Better storage. Less clutter. More indirect sunlight. Better overhead lighting. Less visual noise. More counter space. Better access to a sink. Less stuff sitting around waiting to be worked on.
Ah ha, I know!! The answer must be to get a larger studio. Of course! I could spend several thousand dollars and finally remodel my garage so I can move into there- THAT has plenty of space! But it doesn't have enough of other the things I need (after all, that's why I moved my studio out of there more than a year ago and appropriated an entire spare bedroom to serve as my new studio), so of course I have to address that... no sink, not enough lighting, incorrect storage- all fixable if I throw more money at it, right?
Oh and naturally, if I'm going to the trouble of remodeling, I can't then just share the space with my husband anymore, I'll need all of it to give me the room I so crave today- so he'll have to go. Where? I dunno, maybe I'll get him a shed. Yeah, he'll like that, a nice manly shed at the far end of the yard (out of sight, naturally- they're so ugly) to store his tools and mulch and whatever else he likes.
A contractor could handle a job like this, right? Pour a little concrete slab, build a shed on it... while he's at it, he could knock a hole or ten in the garage walls so I can have windows. And then maybe install a window A/C unit for the worst of the summer months, ... O O O and maybe built-in cabinetry would be nice... Yes! Because I need MORE. Bet I could accomplish it for the bargain basement price of 10,000$ or so...
Even in this economy, I kid you not- this insanely appealing idea has now been circling around in my brain for 4 months .
And then about three days ago, as I was standing in the middle of my tiny studio floor looking around and grumbling about how unsatisfied I was with the space, a quiet, kindly voice spoke up from somewhere inside my head.
"Get rid of it," the voice told me. But I was distracted, stubbornly cataloging everything wrong with the room that I would surely fix the next time around. I ignored the advice.
"Get rid of ALL of it," this time the voice was louder and more emphatic. It might have even sounded like my mother. And it was impossible to ignore a second time.
"ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?" I actually asked the question out loud.
"This is My Art (reverent emphasis, please)," I insisted. "I can't just get rid of it! Look, there are my stacks of hand-dyed fabrics. I LOVE those! And over here is all the paper I've painted for the last 8 years, I need every scrap of it in case I suddenly want to do something in, I dunno, yellow! AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE WITHOUT MY CLOSET FULL OF FIBERS??"
The voice was silent, patient, knowing... and I was indignant. Absolutely scandalized. At the annoying art nazi voice in my head. The one that sounded (quietly and kindly) like Mom.
"You don't have to throw it out," the voice finally reasoned, "You could just put it away somewhere."
I wanted to stomp my foot and I almost did.
But then it suddenly struck me that the voice was right- I could put some of it away. Ok, so the voice demanded that I put it all away, but that's just crazytalk; I still need to work! But I could remove the visual noise, the physical clutter and the stacks of unfinished projects. I could increase my space without spending a dime- I just had to be willing to let go of some of the "preciousness" I was beginning to attribute to nearly every item in my cramped and cluttered studio.
I've made excellent strides in that direction in the last few days. I think I can bring my studio back around to a space I love and am inspired by, rather than the one I close the door on and shrink away from because the clutter has captured and silenced my muse.
The garage studio idea is still a good one. But if it's that good today, it will be that good two years from now, or three... when the economy stabilizes and things aren't so scary out there anymore.
So this is me... greedy artist, craving explosions of color and hours that vanish into textured, layered, glorious art. I quilt, I paint, I carve, I photograph and I see art everywhere I look. Welcome to my blog!
- Judi Hurwitt