“Physically, the creature endowed with a sense of refuge, huddles up to itself, takes to cover, hides away, lies snug, concealed.  If we were to look among the wealth of our vocabulary for verbs that express the dynamics of retreat, we should find images based on animal movements of withdrawal, movements that are engraved in our muscles.”  

~Gaston Bachelard (from The Poetics of Space)

nest 1

This lovely little nook is officially my new work space.  I am enchanted with it.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you know that the studio space I’ve occupied for years now here at this house has had it’s share of issues for all of it’s privacy, gorgeous light and the connection to our green space.  I’ve sweated through it in summer, bundled up in the winter and made peace with the the spider’s midwifery nature of the place.  But last week, during a week of particularly torrential rain and humidity that left the covers of paperback books curling up in protest, the roof began to leak.  This was no ordinary leak.  This particular leak was just above my desk.  Drip. Drip. Drip. On. To. My. DESK!!!!!  I am extremely fortunate on the timing of this leak as I was home and just happened to be bopping around between home and studio getting a few things done when I noticed the wetness that given another hour or two would have ruined finished watercolor drawings and my book filled with collected information, forms and such I have ready for the Taos trip.  This close call was simply too close.  We’ve been slowly working to improve the room out there, taking down old ceiling tiles (which had begun falling down on their own), but now it’s time to truly get to work.  Living in an old house requires the patience of things never being quite finished.  One room is always being worked on so we have to move our lives and our stuff around accordingly.  Our house is a ‘split-level’ house and the lower level has been under construction for about the last 2 years.  We gutted the place down to the studs as they say and have rebuilt a lovely space for entertaining and gained some new storage space while we were at it.  (This storage space is currently where the chickens are living since they outgrew their mini-brooder set up in the powder room.)  So while we still have some work to do in this space, the basics are finished.  It is warmer with some new insulation.  It doesn’t smell any more as it used to after years of unchecked humidity.  It has a real floor and lights that turn on when we flip the switch.  And so, I have moved my drawing table into one end of this space, installed one of my book shelves with my best and favorite books.
nest 2

One of my recent paintings, Sea Change, sits by me for now as it awaits installation in a show at the Kennedy Heights Art Center later this month.


I have a place to play my music and bowls of magical things to inspire.  Though my drawing table is on a tilt, I have pinned source imagery for drawings along with some of my more favorite beautiful things onto it, also to inspire.  Above my desk is a work of art by Jessie Henson, (Untitled (After Drawing On Clouds, VI)) which I find to be the perfect thing to quietly look at between brush strokes.  nest4

The focus of my work lately has been illustration and this new set up makes sense.  As we head into the heat and humidity of an Ohio River Valley summer, I can stay cooler indoors and my watercolors can dry at a reasonable rate.  My son Jack, a graduating senior this year will more than likely be moving out into his own apartment in the fall and I may take over his old room as a studio.  But the stories can’t wait that long.  My friend Ginger Small is fairly bursting with adventures and I want to officially introduce you to her here.  With help from my techie/ tumblr-blogger extraordinaire daughter Maddie, Ginger will hopefully be rocking her own tumblr page in the days to come.  But for now, here’s a sneak peak at her life and her character….

….Once upon a time, there lived a little hamster whose name was Ginger Small.  Ginger, like many small creatures, was only given a short time to exist in our realm, and she was cared for greatly while she lived here.  When it was time for her to go, she declared that “Goodbyes are ever so tedious, don’t you think?” and she promised to send postcards back home of all her adventures out in the world.  And this she has been doing now for years, much to the delight of those she left behind.  Ginger’s is a special brand of magic.  She can do anything and be about anyone she fancies, so one never knows what she will be up to at any given time….

Ginger and Macy go for a boat ride

There are boat rides and bike rides with friends, Macy and Toby….

Ginger and Toby ride off into the sunset together

There are quiet nights at home, where special lanterns and cozy afghans keep the darkness and chill at bay.

Ginger paints in her sketchbook while curled up in her nest

Some adventures are wilder than others!!!!

Ginger skydives with Toad

And with all the rain we have here in Ohio, it’s never a bad idea to get with your friends and build and ark…

If it's going to rain, one must don one's best jacket and prepare to weather the storm

Squirrels are especially good navigators, did you know?

Tally ho!! Ginger's ark is ready for the rainy season

And that, my friends, is a peek at Ginger Small.  I look forward to developing her character more as time goes on.  If you want to follow Ginger’s adventures day to day, you can be her friend on Facebook, and when her tumblr page goes live, I’ll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, I am just weeks away from going back to Taos for the Illuminated Travel Journaling class.  I’m certain Ginger will come along, tucked snuggly into my pocket ready for adventure….

In which Ginger Small cavorts with the other-worldly

…or relaxation, such as the case may be.

a desert spa day for ginger

4 thoughts on “Nest”

  1. Hooray! “The Adventures of Ginger Small” (or whatever Ginger decides to call her memoir) is well on the way!

    I love your new work-space, Amy: it is very much the little corner for a creature endowed with a sense of refuge. May you continue to create more enchanting scenes as the summer swelters outside and the chickens outgrow their storage room.

    much love

  2. Amy,

    This is a beautiful post. I love the nest quote and sentiment. And the Ginger adventures are wonderful. The UFO one made me laugh and the bike-riding scene is crazy awesome! I see a Ginger book in your future. Hope you are having a great time in Taos…wish I was there (am going to Santa Fe in a few weeks so I am counting the days).

    1. Thank you SO much Vanessa! Yes, Ginger needs to spread her wings and fly. She is hilarious! Taos was amazing and I’ll get some blog posts up about it once the dust settles from the trip home. As you well know, it’s a haul out there, physically and spiritually! Enjoy Santa Fe!! (You are not far from Ojo Caliente…. you should totally treat yourself one day!)

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