The space where I dream, think, relax and get messy
To kick things off, I’m sharing my creative space. I don’t consider myself an artist, just someone who has always had the urge to constantly create… something. For years, crochet was my medium. I even crocheted my wedding dress in 2010 (it took an entire year). Then I was interested in quilting, collaging and painting with gel pens. (Read my post about “pieces” for more information on my tendency to bring bits together).
In the spring of 2016, I began exploring the world of miniatures and using multiple skills to build and decorate miniature houses (see pics below). I’ll share more about building miniatures in another post. Now, back to my creative space.
When we built our house in New River, Arizona, in 2014, we revised the plans, turning two spare bedrooms into one large room with lots of big windows into my studio. New River is about 20 north of Phoenix where mountain views are plentiful, and it’s really quiet because we live on a dirt road in a semi-rural area.
My studio doubles as my home office, where I work from home at a stand-up desk. I found a $2,000 dining table from Crate and Barrel with twisted aluminum legs designed by an Italian guy and bought it on sale for $395, and then added four aluminum chairs (on sale at Restoration Hardware for $80 each). The table sits in the center of the room and is a sewing/work station for whatever the latest project might be.
Because the studio ate up our spare bedrooms, a daybed with trundle can sleep two guests. Both mattresses have memory foam toppers so they’re mighty comfy. It’s my spot to take a break and nap or read with the kitty cat snuggled in. Mostly, my creative space contains items of beauty that inspire me, including art, photographs, books, pottery and fabrics.
In 1984, I painted a floral still life with a teal background, when I was pregnant with James, my second child. Jaime, my daughter, was born in January 1983 when I was 19 years old. James came along in November 1984, but not before I took an oil painting class and produced this “masterpiece” (it’s hanging on the wall to the right in the photo above). It’s really awful, the flowers fade into the background paint, but I keep it around to remind me that I must try many different things, even if it turns out I’m no good at it! And when I went into Newnan hospital in Newnan, Georgia, to give birth to James, lo’ and behold, my art teacher, Mariah, was the anesthesiologist! Boy, did that help me relax.
My beautiful grandson, Dylan, is on the pillow. My sister Jan cross-stitched the “It’s all about the journey” bicycle piece. And the wire bicycle sitting on the clock was made by an artisan in Kenya, where I lived in 2005 working as marketing advisor to the Great Lakes University of Kisumu.
Through the window, you can see the base of Apache Peak. Our neighborhood and the peak are home to deer, rabbits, quail, dove, irascible cactus Wren, chipmunks, squirrels, coyote and snakes. The open desert and mountain views surrounding our home also inspire me.
Beads, wires and jewelry foundings to make miniature working chandeliers
I’m teaching myself to make chandeliers that really light up, so watch for future posts with examples. In the background, you can see a Cathedral quilt I hand-sewed. The cigar boxes are favorite containers for holding just about anything!
My standing desk is command center for publishing Cre8-Space, writing for my personal pleasure and, when working from home, writing for my job as a marketing and communications specialist for an insurance company.
The photo above shows a few essential supplies: craft, design and fashion books; practical pottery for holding things; washi tape for everything; look-pretties, like the Wedgewood lady my mother brought back from England in the 80s and the little proud hippo I brought from Kenya; pens, markers and scissors of all shape; the round box at the top that I collaged with photos of rugs cut from design magazines.
I made the above rug from a remnant of heavily embroidered fabric and course linen. After sewing on the braided leather as an accent, I painted two thin coats of Fiber-Lok non-skid rug backing to the back and sprayed the front with two thin layers of Scotchgard. I have a lot of luxurious fabrics bought for practically nothing at yard sales that will make great rugs. Stay tuned.
Barack Obama may leave the White House but he’ll never leave my studio; his message of hope and humanity is more essential than ever.
I’m an unabashed fan of Hillary Clinton and am extremely interested to see how artists’ work might be influenced by what happens in Washington, D.C., over the next four years.
Nurturing my studio plants nurtures my creativity. The little porcelain lamp is from the 50s and belonged to my mother-in-law. She was killed by a drunk driver in 1969 and the little lamp sat at the back of a bathroom closet until we discovered it this summer after my father-in-law’s death. The lamp doesn’t have a chip on it, but even if it did, it would still feel perfect to me.
Here’s the living room of the dollhouse I’m building for Ella, my 16-month-old granddaughter. I wired the house for electricity and made the curtains/valances and the chairs with ottomans. The dining table/chairs came from a kit I assembled and stained. The family portrait is my daughter, Jaime, her husband, Sven, and their children, Dylan and Ella. The light fixtures and table lamp are porcelain and made by Reutter Porzellan in Germany.
It’s quite satisfying to complete every step of building the dollhouse from a kit: installing the electric system with wiretape (and watching the lights work!!); painting every wall, door and trim piece; cutting wood trim (hooray for learning how to cut inside crown molding corners!); laying the wood floor; pasting in the wallpaper; staining and cutting each shingle for beveled edges and placing them (one-by-one) on the roof.
As a Georgia native living in Arizona for 10 years, I often miss the South and my family. It’s helps to have reminders around, like the sign asking,”how’s your Mama ‘n ‘dem?” that’s painted on a shutter plank pulled from a house in New Orlean’s ninth ward after Hurricane Katrina. The stained glass window came from a house on San Francisco bay, and I found the little porcelain puppies, chained together, at an antique fair.
I hope this little tour of my personal Cre8-Space inspires you to make a place of your own where you can nurture and express yourself.