March 23, 2010

Invent Your World

I am feeling so very grateful.  I will soon turn 41 and on this particular birthday I am aware more than ever of the abundance in my life.  With God's gentle prodding and closed doors that became open windows, a few years ago I decided to invent my world, change my day, and add to my life things that nourish me.  Of course I had to fit all those things inside the confines of my roles as wife and mother, but they fit well, and even my roles grew more rewarding, more beautiful, as a result.  I took on a new art form -- calligraphy.  I found a group of artists and a mentor who make me laugh and make it feel safe to share my work.  (The piece pictured above was created especially for them.)  I converted my dining room into a studio, because it places me a window away from my garden while I'm doing what I love.   Alone but unafraid, I took my first ever 3 day sabbatical and allowed music, meditation, and creative work to fill my every moment.  And I've fallen in love with my husband all over again because I had to go inward in order to find my true artistic expression and he was secure enough to wait for me on the other side.

I know some of you are feeling the same staleness I felt two years ago, which is why I'm putting my story on paper, in front of you.  I have to ask.  How would you invent your world, change your day, add things to your life that nourish you?  What tiny changes would make you come alive and be a more true expression of yourself in and amongst your family and friends -- and in front of God?  Time -- it's going so fast.  Invent your world.

March 2, 2010

Studio Shots

(more photos below)

I absolutely LOVE seeing how other people have created their artistic space -- it almost feels like reading a private journal entry of someone who shares my dreams.  I wanted to return the favor and open my studio to you. But before I say a single solitary thing about my favorite place in the house, I have to thank my beloved who has stayed openminded about how I have chosen to use our home.  He has looked away from the ink on the carpet, merely raised an eyebrow at my explanation of an experimental gestural drawing on the window pane, and has never asked me for the whereabouts of our dining table.  He has watched me practice a single letter for hours and, to date, has never said "there is a PC font for that one, honey."  I love that man.

Calligraphy is a beautiful, meditative art that requires hour after hour of disciplined practice.  Sometimes slow, sometimes free, sometimes deliberate, sometimes rhythmic... it involves exemplars and experimentation, a study of the masters and a study of the self.  It requires intense concentration and a free and forgiving spirit.  You are humbled every time you look at another's work, and are proud when you see how your work today compares with yesterday's.  It is frustrating, and gratifying, and worthy of your greatest effort.  It doesn't take a lot of space, but the space you make for it should make you feel like lettering.  Welcome to the South Wing!

The room you are looking at is my living room/dining room (a long rectangular space with large windows on both ends).  My office space (desk, computer, files, mailing supplies),  piano and recording equipment, and jewelry display are on one end.  The other end holds my drafting table, my calligraphy supplies, and a work table with paper storage underneath (there's the dining room table, honey). The drafting table is arranged so that I can look at my gardens (another hobby) when I'm really frustrated with a difficult hand, like Roman capitals, for example.

By the way, I got that drafting table from a roadside barn sale for $11 (thanks to my dear friend Wanda who discovered it!). It took about 3 weeks to get rid of the smell, and I had to remove varmint hair from the hollow posts before I could even paint it, but oh, it's a beauty.  When I called my husband to tell him I was so excited I managed to carry the darn thing inside and set it up myself, he asked, "how in the world did you get it down the basement stairs?"  That was the moment he learned he'd lost the South Wing.  Did I tell you I love that man?

For those of you who are needing flat paper storage and can't imagine springing for those crazy expensive metal cabinets, I added shelf brackets to the legs of my dining room table and cut 3 pieces of plywood to fit.  I lined the plywood with vinyl (from a fabric store for about $10) so no oils from the wood would leak onto the paper.  I figure if I ever find time for entertaining again, I can store the dessert down there to limit my trips to the kitchen.