Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Living In Your Studio vs. Working From Home ~ Finding The Holy Fires Within You...

(An expanded, much updated version of an earlier entry...)

"In reality the main purpose of life is to raise everything that is profane to the level of the holy... When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you."

~ Martin Buber ~

The corner in which I spend most of my time is like getting into
the cockpit of an airplane to get to my computer with work all
around me. I have always worked this way. I think it
makes me feel secure, and it sure is handy!

When I was a young mother in a family of five, I was lucky to have a space I shared in a room with my husband that was part my office and part his music room, where his grand piano and all of his other musical equipment resided. Eventually as we moved hither and yon I got my own office space and I couldn't have been happier, a little room of my own. And finally, I was middle aged, my children grown and off into their own lives, and divorced, and I looked around at my little cottage and said, "Holy Moses, this is all mine!" And that began the transition from working at home to living in my studio. My work, my books, all of the various elements of my fiber work spread out all over the place, and, with the exception of my tiny galley sized kitchen, downstairs bath the size of a postage stamp, and bedroom and bath upstairs (...and my rolltop desk and two spinning wheels found a home in my bedroom!) every other area of Dragonfly Cottage became Dragonfly Cottage Design Studio and my personal space, meaning what was left over after what the 5 parrots and 4 dogs took up, is my living space. It is the size of a light bulb comparatively speaking, but I'm not complaining. I quite like it this way!

The cubby holes and bins full of fiber with a few of my
spindles and whatnots that are less that 2 feet to my left...

And on the table to my left are spindles full of yarn just spun...

Most of my large collection of hand-spindles are in old tin coffeepots and teapots and flower vases and the like in my hallway, that connect the front door to the main (and only) real room downstairs. The wall on the other side (The spindle cabinet is very narrow!) is hung with skeins of yarn and some art. Below you see the whole length of the hall down to the front door, and the little doorway into the kitchen.

And of course you need some guidance from time to time, and it's nice to have help...

Of course when I asked about helping, Moe was at least polite
and didn't say anything, but Sampson gave me the raspberries...
Good help is so hard to find these days...

Down from my cockpit area there is the mid-section which houses Anastasia, my vintage dressform in front of vintage bookshelves and makeshift cabinets, topped with African violets in old teapots and kettles, not to mention the tropical hibiscus that would have died in this cold weather but is blooming in December in this cozy little cottage. I furnished my items from junk stores, flea markets, consignment shops, things given to me from friends, and even amazing dumpster diving finds. In the end, I love this place so very dearly because it reflects so truly who I really am.

Just down from Anastasia are Henry and Solomon, my African Grey Parrot, and Blue Crown Conure, whose cages face out to the back patio and the 4 French doors...

When it comes to it, Henry is really the Alpha Male in the house,
calls all the dogs by names, taunts them, blows them kisses, and
generally spends a good bit of the day on my shoulder when he's
not playing on top of his cage or with Solomon...

And behind Henry and Sol's cages are my garden and
cook books (I do both food and garden writing, as well
as cooking and gardening.), more plants, hanging vines,
looms, artwork, and one of my favorite vintage mirrors.
There are looms all over the walls here, and what with
all the plants and birds it starts to look like an Amazon
Jungle in here, if you don't count the pugs everywhere.
Last time I checked there were few pugs in the jungle!

The other three parrots and more plants on the end of the room that
opens out onto the patio. See, I told you, fiber, books, animals, plants ~
not one inch of spare space.

There is simply no room for a Christmas tree in here, which is why I'm making a Christmas wreath for inside and I will have a real Christmas tree with outdoor lights filled with treats for the wild birds on the patio so I can enjoy the lights and they can enjoy their festive tree. The tree will be planted in a big barrel and while it won't root, it will be kept watered and alive in the cold air for some time. I once had a tree live inside until February and then a couple of months longer planted on the patio -- it even started growing baby pine cones -- and when it finally died come late spring I filled the pot with morning glory seeds and all autumn long it was a morning glory tree just about until it was time to get a new tree! The Christmas tree that lasted a year! I like the idea of sharing my tree with the wildlings, and soon will be melting suet to dip a lot of pinecones in that I've collected outside on my nature walks, and roll them and them cover them with birdseed and let them dry. These among other natural treats will be the tree's ornaments.

Today I cut a long length of wisteria vine that badly needing pruning, and wound it around and bound it and it is hanging above me here at my computer from my ceiling fan. I will cut fresh pine greens outside to fill the wreath, have little ornaments, handmade and tiny colorful balls, and when the greens die I will save the wisteria wreath base and bring it out each Christmas. I love the idea of that. I hope to get a bunch of tiny twinkly lights wound round it before I stick the greens in, and I hope to hang it over my little kitchen windows that face the street. Here it is drying and hardening off above me now...

I bop my head on it every time I stand up, but it's light and
I love the fresh aroma of the wisteria vine just cut. There's
a lot of nature indoors, as well as out, here...

Babs gives a disapproving look at the hanging
and kind of gives it a "Bah, Humbug!" but I know
she'll get into the Christmas spirit when she see's
it all decorated and hung with doggie treats (instead
of candy canes) that the boys and girls will get on
Christmas morning...

Coco's main job is to look cute, lay on my feet and keep them
warm both under my little computer desk here as well as under
the covers at night. I used to wear socks to bed at night. Now I
wear a pug...

Finally, there is the upstairs fiber room which until recently you couldn't even walk into which all began a couple of Christmases back when in early December I fell down the stairs, broke both feet, was in 2 casts for 6 months, and couldn't make it up the stairs for 8 months. Everyone who came to help me - And God Bless Them! -- kind of tossed everything in there that they didn't know what to do with and finally you couldn't even walk into the room. My dear friend Jeff brought his helper Vanessa last week and finally got in there and got it organized for me and I shall be forever grateful. Now I can get to the fiber, yarn, loom, and work table. And, uhm, to say I've got a little fiber and yarn might be the understatement of the century. Here then is the final workspace, which leaves very little house left over! The pictures will go around the room...

Just as you walk into the room, on the right there are cabinets
that I organized some time back before "The Fall," filling the
drawers with small bags full of dyed wool, as well as dyed
Cotswold curls, Mohair curls, and other spinning and
weaving supplies (See below...).

Rounding the corner to the long wall these bins are floor to ceiling,
wall to wall, and 2 rows out, filled with fiber waiting to be cleaned,
cleaned fiber waiting to be dyed, dyed fiber waiting to be spun, and
all kinds of yarns...

On the opposite wall is my big Harrisville tapestry loom which I
warped and barely started weaving just a day or two before I broke
my feet. Coco looks dubiously at the whole operation, but I'm
anxious to get back to it...

So this is the whole of my little dwelling, far more studio than home, and yet home all the same, and I really love it here. It's very cozy and homey and doggy and bird-y and creativity brews in every direction imaginable with growing things all around and just outside the patio doors where we also seem to feed all the birds on this side of town with seven bird feeders, things keep pretty lively.

Tonight I will finish spinning the third spindle of yarn for the outer edge of Cecelia, and tomorrow will begin to crochet the turquoise edging and start on the face. Babs doesn't approve and thinks I should be in bed or something but I assure her that spinning and fiber work are very peaceful work to me, and very healing, and if she'll let me kiss her nose I'll give her a treat. She smiles a puggy grin then, and off we go...



Knitted Gems said...

Your studio is amazing. I am overwhelmed by the amount of yarn and the rainbow of colors it comes in. It would be very hard to Not be inspired by your collection.

Maitri Libellule said...

Thank you so much. At 53, it has taken me many years to collect all the equipment, fibers, odds and ends, and it all means the world to me. And the parrots and puglings and Big Moe, my big black dog, help quite a lot! I really appreciate your kind note and your taking the time to comment. It means more than you know.



tangled stitch said...

I love your colorful room and am envious about all the organization. I looked at your pink walls and smiled as my combination studio/guest room is pink and white and has barbie border(from the previous little girl that lived there). When it is in use as a guest room I will take a picture and share it. At the moment a picture of my studio would probably leave you feeling a little queasier!

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Your colorful, picturesque cottage enchants me and your way of life inspires me. :D

Five sleeping pets surround me this morn - four cats and one huge dog. And I'm tucked away in a snowscape back in the woods, working on becoming book pubbed.

Sigh of contentment.

Hugs, JJ

MrBrownThumb said...

Oh man you have a lot of fibers. I love the dogs in the sidebar they look like great pets.

Writing Nag said...

thanks for sharing your studio! I love how warm and cozy it looks and your staff is beautiful.Have a Happy Christmas.

Lisa said...

I love it! Every bit of it! When can I move in?

Karen said...

Oh wow! Your place looks amazing. I would love it!

Bronwyn, said...

I love the colour of your wall, and how wonderful to have a talking bird!

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