Today I write to you from a new location! Sort of. We’ve been doing some shifting around in our house, and I’ve got a new studio space! Sort of. It’s…well, it’s in progress.
There seems to be a lot of mystique surrounding the spaces in which artists create. Creative spaces are almost a sacred thing. They are places where each artist feels truly at ease, relaxed enough to let the creative energies flow and to make something amazing. People make pilgrimages to J.R.R. Tolkien’s house, fans tour movie sets, and sometimes art students get to visit a professor’s personal studio. Maybe we’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes magic that makes the artist who they are. Maybe we’re hoping some of that magic will rub off on us. Either way, the space that an artist works in appears to be very important to the process of creating art.
When I sit down to write or draw or paint, I have a set of things that need to be in place before I can get to work. I need to have ample light, comfortable and ergonomic seating, very little noise, maybe some orchestra music, as music with words distracts me too much, and a hot cup of tea. These are the basics of what helps me focus. This should be all I need, and most days it is. But there are some days when I’m working on an extensive project and working with two computers, a tablet, and a sketchbook or two, and my needs now include more space than my little computer desk can provide. Thankfully, with a little scootching around (and a new coat of paint soon!) I will have all the space I need!
As I prepare this studio, it makes me think of a trap I used to put myself in. I would limit myself to projects I could work on with the space I had or with the materials that were easiest to access. If I needed more space, I would put it off and dream of a studio. If I needed supplies that were in storage, I would put it off and think on how wonderful it would be to have them at the ready in a studio. My problem wasn’t that I had to work with my limitations – it was that I wasn’t working at all. I had ample opportunity to explore those ideas in my sketchbook and plan out how I could work on it once I had space or supplies, but I didn’t do that. I put off so many different, exciting projects because of this trap and it makes me sad to think of what I could have accomplished had I not been so lazy.
My hope is that I won’t find a new trap to put myself into when the studio is finished, but unfortunately I know myself well enough to know that I fall into unproductive traps very easily. To combat this, I’m going to ask some close friends to nag me when I have something I want to get done. I’ll have them text me or call me and check in on my progress. It seems a bit extreme, but it’s important to me that I respect the work that I’ve put into my own sacred space.
Maybe the magic doesn’t lie in the space itself, but in the effort and dedication the artist puts into their work while in the space. I don’t know.
I guess I’ll find out.