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Friday, January 20, 2017

Unstaged

It's been a long journey to get to this point, but I am excited to say that this year I am focusing more of my time and energy on growing my creative work. I feel completely over my head most days as I figure out how to run a small business alongside dreaming, crafting, taking and editing photos, and updating the shop on Etsy (If you'd like to follow along with my most recent work, I've posted links in the right menu bar.), but when I look at how far I've come already, I feel only elated and hopeful.

This month I've felt like progress is moving at a snail's pace, in part because I'm trying to balance showcasing my best work with the pressure to have everything I publish meet a certain aesthetic ideal. But I'm also moving slowly in part because my very highest priority is to work in a way that remains true to who I am and who I want to be. So in the spirit of this, I want to let go of perfection and introduce you to my creative space, unstaged and unpolished, as I found it this morning when the lighting just happened to be pleasant. 

Here it is. A room of my own. Welcome.



I spent a lot of time moving into this space and rearranged it at least ten times before it finally felt like home. It had been a mash-up of all of the furniture that didn't work or fit in any other room of the house, so for the first year we lived here, I felt completely uninspired in this space. I knew I wanted to keep things pretty neutral, but it always ended up feeling boring until I landed on the idea for this book wall. I was afraid using a book of literature or poetry might be distracting because I'd want to read it all the time, so when I found a reference book of trees and shrubs at Goodwill, I figured it was perfect. Plus it feels true to things I love. Uncertain whether I would like the finished look, I temporarily hung the pages with a little roll of scotch tape on the back of each, and I've been too lazy to change it out. It's actually held up quite nicely, minus the one page up top that's falling.
After I had the wall set, I decided I was finished with the misfit furniture, so I rearranged a lot of furniture in other rooms and took out everything that felt off to me in here. I brought back in only the things that I loved and that I wanted in here, and I think this made a huge difference. The first piece to stay was this beautiful gift from a dear friend, and it hangs here as a reminder to me that I have people cheering me on.
This wall is special to me because it reminds me of the creative women in my life, both older and younger - the cattail painting was done by my mom; a framed handkerchief from Rick's Gram E hangs in the middle; the serenity prayer reminds me of one that used to hang in my Grandma Pittam's house; the dinosaur drawing was done by a kindergarten student in one of my first classes as an art teacher; the blanket on the bench belonged to Rick's Grandma Beers; and the daisy pillowcase belonged to my Grandma Carol.
This vignette I included in part because it is utterly unstyled. I bought the ridiculous cat book after it made me laugh so hard I was crying in the aisle of Goodwill; the books are texts for courses I have taught/am teaching; the wooden figure used to be on my desk at my former office; and the curvy branch I picked up on a walk last year and haven't found a place for.
Next to my desk I have a rack of necklaces that are either inspiration or are in line to be deconstructed. Hanging with them are some rings and wool roving for mobiles as well as my apron from when I taught after school art classes.
 
My desk space has been a struggle. In my mind I long to be a minimalist, but when I try to work in a space like that, I'm finding I get distracted by thinking about how I want to fill it. So I'm aiming for more clean and cozy than minimal. 
 
The ledge above my desk unintentionally became home to my growing bird collection. My mom calls me chickadee, and the quail are a reminder of home, crafted by Southern California artist Howard Pierce, a new favorite of mine. On a side note, some of my favorite birds, bushtits (I know), travel back and forth in the trees outside this window during the day, and few things make me as happy as spying on them. 
And last but not least, the craft closet. Mostly everything in here is second-hand with the exception of the wool roving.
So there it is, the room I lovingly call "The Studio." Next I'll introduce you to my dreams for 2017. 

-shelley

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