Saturday, May 10, 2008

My creative space

What do you call your creative workspace? Do you call it your studio? Or project room? Or craft room? Or scrapbook/sewing/knitting/junk room? I started out calling mine my studio but it sounds pretentious which is part of the attraction, wanting to instill a sense of importance to my creative pursuits but when it's also the room I'm washing laundry in it seems rather assine to call it a studio. Studio conjures up visions of a light filled lofty room with lots of canvas and art supplies scattered about and that vision is about as far from my reality as you can get. I'm in a 8 foot by 12 foot room off the enclosed carport. I have a single ac/heat vent, salvaged cabinets, water heater, no window as it's covered by stamp hutches, sub flooring, and a decided lack of molding. Not exactly the artsy fartsy mental image you'd have when you hear it referred to as my studio.

Since it's inception, the room has undergone a major transformation. Originally it had nasty brown shag carpet with bleach stains by the washer, a 12 foot ceiling, walls and ceiling were in bead board, a water pipe coming out of the floor in front of the single window, the washer and dryer were on opposite sides of the room and there was a single section of white ventilated shelving for hanging our clothes.

A friend's kitchen renovation netted me some 20+ year old cabinets that had seen better days. We removed the old carpeting, replaced the rotting subfloor, lowered the ceiling and sheetrocked the entire room, built a platform for the washer and dryer so they could be side by side, replumbed, removed the old pipe, installed a ceiling fan/light fixture along with an electrical outlet, and installed cabinets along one wall to serve as my storage/work area and more cabinets over the washer and dryer for storage. I spent a year with naked drywall and no countertop for work space but I was thrilled at having my own little space to create in and spent lots of hours looking at scrapbook rooms on twopeas daydreaming of my own stylish decor I'd have some day.

I originally thought I'd want my room to have a prim theme and feel with antique white distressed cabinets and brick red and gold accents, calico fabrics and country crafts to decorate with. Last Mother's Day I asked for my room to be prepped so I could paint it. My husband sanded the sheetrock mud and my cabinets along with hanging my two stamp hutches I got from Hobby Lobby when they redid their rubberstamp aisle. I totally changed my mind about the white cabinets and painted them a lovely chocolate brown color. The walls were a caramel yellow. And he bought me a piece of salvaged counter top for $10. Finally I had a proper workspace. I sewed a red skirt for the waterheater and bought some decorative pieces on clearance at Hobby Lobby. My studio....!

Then I did something that even I couldn't have predicted... I quit scrapbooking. I lost my mojo for it. I quit working in my room, pretty much quit daydreaming about and turned my focus towards my sewing. My paper got dusty, my hutches collected a few webs, and my countertop was cluttered with all sorts of junk. Welcome to the laundry room!

This feeling of apathy has been with me since vacation last year. Within two months of having the major components of my room in place finally I quit scrapping except for making a few Christmas cards the creative side of the room pretty much has been unused.

I felt some guilt. I felt at a loss to explain my feelings. I just simply fell out of love with paper crafting. I think deep down I was disappointed in myself. I finally got a space of my own with cabinets, I had a huge stash of supplies to work with, a counter top, I spent effort painting the room and cabinets, a little money to decorate it, and this was the best I could come up with? Lots of visual clutter and no strong sense of decorating direction. I simply failed to create a space that beckoned to me and inspired me to create. It was ugly and blah and I was ashamed of my efforts.

Months passed. And suddenly I felt the stirrings of longing. I wanted my own space dang it! I had this room and it was sitting unloved and unused, my creative space and I failed in creating it. With a new creative vision for my room I spent National Scrapbooking Day last weekend redecorating my scrapbook room. I painted the walls "spring waterfall" a lovely shade of blue, I purchased hardware for my cabinets finally, blue ceramic knobs for the doors and silver cup drawer pulls, and I got a brown rug to cover the sub flooring until I can get vinyl floor covering. I kept my London clock and sign, added a spice rack I painted black, some flowering garland, bought a case of mason jars to display my ribbon and button collections. Basically I'm creating a space that calls me to create, a space I enjoy spending time in even if it's doing the laundry. I'm not finished with it. I'm still sewing some curtains to skirt my work table and hutches but I'm well on my way to having a lovely creative space. Maybe now I can call it my studio without inwardly cringing at my own pretentiousness... Actually I don't feel this need to project that sort of image anymore. My room can stand on it's own merits and doesn't need a fancy schmancy label to justify it's existence or to glorify it's real identity. It is what it is now, a space that reflects me and my tastes. And important thing I learned from another blogger on here, The Nester, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful... And it is beautiful now, unfinished but still very much loved and reflecting the joy I feel when I'm creating.

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