We all know studio time is precious, as is studio space. Last week I managed to hoover up most of the spiders that had taken up residence in here, along with the carcass-laden webs and buggy exoskeletal remains just under them. The annual end-of-summer reclamation of my creative space. It feels pretty good. For a couple of months, the weather will be somewhat mild (once this heat breaks) and I will be able to spend quality time making some art in this light-filled, quiet place I have now dubbed Spiderville Studio. There is much work in process, which for now, shall remain in the shadows where it belongs….
This “3-season room”, as it has been called by the real-estate folks, is one of the most pleasant places in our home. Sometimes we eat meals in here. This is where the sewing supplies are, and so the mending and clothing alterations happen here. Homework has been known to go smoothly in here as well. In so many ways, this room is a Family Room. But what happens when I need to claim if for a few hours for my creative work?
A week or so ago, my poor hub, who also works at home, wandered into the studio as I was painting. I was so annoyed I could have bitten his head off and I may have even snapped “I’m on a CALL!” (which is what he says when he’s working and needs us to be a little quieter.) In his defense, the door was open. This room is a magnet for anyone who wants some good vibes. Especially on a pretty day. I may have been painting, but it may have looked like I was just hanging out. He may have just needed to get out of the office. So we discussed how I could best communicate to my family that I’m at work for the time being, and unless it’s an emergency, I should be left alone. I could make a sign to hang on the glass doors, but someone would invariably be on the other side of the glass trying to catch my eye for a quick question or some such. Then Tony told me about a navy term, Dog-Zebra, which is when a ship or submarine closes up to everything and becomes self contained for a while. The blinds are drawn, no messages in or out. I like this idea. So I went to the fabric store and got some zebra-ish fabric and crafted up some quick curtains to hang above the doors to the studio. When the curtains are there, the studio is in Dog Zebra mode and I am not to be disturbed for awhile. It’s a sign to everyone, including me, that work is being done in here. Visually, it’s nice to have the space blocked off.
There are always tweaks to my working process after the summer’s travels. Our annual trip back to Maine is like a reset button and I am able to come home and look freshly at what’s working and what’s not. So along with the new work space plan, I’ve also made some changes to work time. I’m working longer days at the shop for a couple of days each week which allows me longer studio days later in the week. Ideally, these will be pretty much the same days each week so that everyone knows what to expect, but I shall remain flexible. Time will tell if these tactics will enable me to get more Real Work done. Less running around means more studio time. At least on paper.
I’d love to hear how other folks structure time and space for creative work. Do stay in touch!!