Have you ever planned a big trip? I mean, A Really Big Trip? Let’s say, to Ghana or Nepal or Australia You spend months reading articles, asking friends what they know about traveling in the country you’re visiting, checking on weather conditions for the time you will be there, buying clothes, getting your passport updated, learning how to say please and thank you in a different language. Your energy and attention are focused on The Really Big Trip. But then, one day, you get on the airplane and after the passing of a relatively short period of time, you are there. Your attention shifts from getting there to being there.
The studio project has been like that but I had not gotten on the plane. There has been no division between getting there and being there. Once I realized that, I said, “Enough, already. Get on with it.” So now I am beginning to create new work patterns and to settle in. I hereby promise not to talk of The Studio, as if it were the only thing in my creative life. I’m moving on to other things. It’s time to use the beautiful space that has been created by Lynn Merrifield, the fantastic builder who made it happen. Seatback in the upright position, tray table up, ready for takeoff.
What’s new? New year. New blog format. New studio.
Taking them in order, let’s consider the new year. I must say that I am a sucker for it. Not the wild party, stay up until midnight, watch the ball drop kind. And I don’t make resolutions anymore because I am forced to look at my shortcomings and then to feel worse because I can’t stick to the resolutions to remedy them. But there is a time of reflection and anticipation in early January that is a good calibration point. Obviously we could decide to lose weight, put more money aside for retirement, join a drawing group, and all of the other things that we should do, at any time. There is nothing magical about January 1. But most days fly by without the time or inclination to assess and resolve. Gratitude seems to have been the consistent theme in the ruminations this year.
New blog format. As with most things internet related, I don’t really know quite what I’m doing with WordPress. It is a very powerful tool for creating attractive online content and I enjoy using it but I can only do a few things. Every once in a while I try something new and it either works or it doesn’t. In the spirit of the new year (see paragraph 1), I assessed my blog and thought it to be OK but resolved to try something different. After noodling around a bit among the many templates they provide, I clicked on one and managed to “publish” it without actually previewing it. It seems to be OK so we’ll stick with it for awhile.
And…drumroll, please…new studio. It is now functional. There is much to move back in, after having provided places for storage and access but what I need right now is here. From now on, no more complaints, announcements or updates about the studio. Now that’s a resolution that you can count on.
OK, physician life doesn’t always allow that, but the single iron is my default setting. A couple of months ago, I wrote about leaving my previous studio and beginning the building of a new space in our garage. My focus has been on that process and I have set aside other responsibilities, such as writing blog posts. You may (or may not) have noticed.
Ready for guests
This project has been much more time-consuming and complex than I had thought it would be. (Isn’t that always the way?) It has also been exhilarating, frustrating, immensely creative and budget-bending expensive. We’re nearing completion of the construction phase and are now deciding what goes where, planning to work over the winter before making final decisions for storage and built-ins. I am so ready to get back to work.
These images are of the upstairs part of the studio. The downstairs will have walls this week and should be ready for venting the kiln next week. I’ll be posting images of the downstairs space, the clay space, as it progresses. And with any luck, I’ll be changing irons in the fire, from construction to creation, sometime very soon.
I wonder how many endings we miss in our lives. I read an article years ago written by a man who, in his youth, thought it would be a great idea to use excavation equipment as furniture. He would have a large loft space and use the bucket of a front loader as a couch, the backhoe as a chair. I imagined that they would be upholstered and could be moved around at will. He obsessed about the idea and was committed to following through when he had the ability to do so. Years later, he remembered out of the blue that he had long ago decided to use excavation equipment as furniture but at that point considered it a silly idea. He didn’t remember ever making the decision not to do it. He didn’t remember when the commitment ended. A lot of things are like that.
Sometimes you can look back and recognize the moment when the ending happened. After the fourth season of Dancing With the Stars, it’s over. It doesn’t have the same excitement and after a couple of episodes of season five you decide not to watch anymore. End. You have always worn white shirts as your signature look and then one day, you pop on a blue sweater and you get complements all day. A couple of weeks later, the white shirts go to Goodwill. End. It takes a while to get there, but you can see where the end began.
And then sometimes the end walks up and smacks you in the face. You turn the corner to go to your favorite coffee place and it is closed…for good. End. Your best friend moves to Madagascar. End. Your studio building is sold. End. But wait. Maybe it’s not really an end. You can go to another coffee shop. You can stay in touch with your friend electronically and maybe even visit her. And you find another studio. In my case, you build another studio.
The garage at home is being transformed into a two story studio with the advantage of being a short walk from the back door in pajamas with a cup of coffee in hand. Sometimes the end is a beginning.