Thursday, May 3, 2012

Long way from the corner

Listen to post:
My garage studio
So, I went out to my garage studio to see what few things I could organize to take to my new studio. It was a pretty easy decision since my permanent space won't be ready for a few weeks. Just taking the basics.

I had a little picking up to do and then thought I'd sort through my pastels, box them up and pack them for the new digs. That's when it hit: the reality that I am leaving this very sacred and dear place. I got teary. My pastels have never been boxed up and taken anywhere except in small increments on vacations. Neither had I realized how much colorful dust has accumulated on my work table. I carefully folded up the paper I draw on top of that contained much of the dust and threw it away.

The room was looking emptier as I collected items to be moved into the center. I was overcome with gratitude for this 8-by-10 space that has served me so well for many years. It was been my private space to make art, meditate, do yoga, pray, dance, cry, laugh, scream, transform, grow, regress, soul search, write and just be myself. It is the ONE place I can completely relax. I owe nothing to anyone here and don't have to pretend anything. It was here I created my mad journal for railing, but also here that God has reached me. It is a place I have found myself. It has been worship and hell. The work I have done here hasn't always been pretty or pleasant.

It was my space and anyone else had to be invited in. It has served as the physical boundaries I have often lacked. I enter the purple door, close it and can become lost, answering to no one other than myself.

We all need a space like this. A room of one's own as Virginia Woolf described.

It'll still be here; I am not abandoning it completely, just making myself more public, but not entirely ... I will keep some boundaries and space for myself.

I think I'll want to take down the giant princess mask (a Target Halloween decoration many seasons ago) and bring her with me and probably some of my artwork, too. The walls are filled with paintings, frames, inspiring images, photographs, postcards and verses I wrote on myself. "Mom, you wrote on your walls," one of my daughters remarked years ago. "Yes, I did because they are mine."

I remember lovingly creating this space. First I had to clear out the detached garage, moving stored articles to another area and chalking out the space. Then I cleaned it, uncovering a beautiful old dry-goods counter (perfect height for making art) stashed in the back and topped with years of motor oil and original milk-green paint. I stripped the top, cleaned up the rest and added casters. It will never leave this room unless I build a larger door.

Before I had this studio built, I used a small hostess table from a restaurant tucked into a nook by a kitchen window. That was my studio when the girls were small. Before that, I had no place to do art until I attended a retreat in Barnesville, Ohio, at the Friends Center on spiritual formation and a redbird drew me into the woods. I sat down to draw and journal and decided then and there to send my prayer out into the universe for an art space. A very wise art coach said whatever our dream may be, we should share it and, then, it will happen.

Now I graduate to an 800-square-foot former art room in a neighborhood school. That's a long way from a desk in a corner.

• What room of my own have I had?
• What has it allowed me to do or be?
• In what physical places do I feel safest?
• How can I create such a space?
• How does this space feed my soul?

mothering and
not much more

sucked into
the needs of
beautiful young girls

not giving mine much thought

until, one day
a small redbird
called me into
his woods

called my imagination out
called my heart

to play
and I knew
I needed to play

I needed safety
to create and
my own self

I am grateful
to that little
feathered flash
of red

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