“Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.”Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I am writing to you, with thrilling delight, from my new studio. My new office. My new room of one’s own.
For the last 18 months I’ve been working out of a corner of our bedroom. Before that, I had an office room in the houses we lived in. Before that, I would work and create from any space I could: kitchen table, park bench, cafe couch, even up a tree.
Having been without it, it’s a joy to return home to. This, a space of one’s own.
It is a room just behind our garage, across the courtyard from our home. Previously, it had no windows, just a sagging couch and a bar. It was a man cave for the 92 year old bloke who used to live here.
We got builders in to knock holes in the wall and add two big windows to bring in light light light air air air. I painted over the mottled beige with turquoise and white, then added glitter paint over the top for even more thrills. There’s kind of a giddy-ish delight to making something so perfectly custom-fit to my soul.
My husband suggested we re-floor the studio after my reckless wall painting adventures created thrills and spills across the tiles. I declined. My last office had white wool carpet from the previous owners. I felt constrained and tidy. I didn’t want the same here. I like this just the way it is. Lived in, created upon, non-dainty. Ready to be painted upon. It’s a real life artist’s studio.
Make paint in me, it says. Let great dollops fall upon the floor. It only makes me more beautiful.
This week I was finally able to move in. Desk in first. I have a basic plain white one that my husband bought from Officeworks and I traded him for a few years later. I turned it into a large L-shaped desk by adding a long trestle table to the side. I’ve had the trestle table for probably 15 years now. I bought it when I used to sell art at markets. The top is old and grotty, so I got some mermaid contact from Bunnings and laid it over the top. It looks fucking bonza now, and I feel like a legit DIY legend.
Then art up on the walls.
My art, and art from some of my favourite artists (and friends):
- Tamara Adams
- Janet Lloyd
- Julie Turner
- Leah Piken Kolidas
- Tangerine Meg
- Seashell Photo Art
- Demelza Fox
- Lori Portka
- Kristie Porters
- Wild Mama Kin.
- the big cloud-like armchair we’ve had for 12 years that is by far my favourite reading and writing chair. It’s peeling now, and our dogs have scratched it to blazes. And yet I’ll keep holding on to it for as long as I can.
- a chipboard bookcase we bought 17 years ago and painted blue. It’s been moved all over the country and it’s still going strong! I just repainted one side because it was looking a bit grotty.
- a cupboard that was left in one of our old houses when we bought it (it used to be garage storage). I repainted it and collaged it with scrapbook paper and glitter Mod Podge. I can’t bear to part with it now.
- colourful woven rag rugs that I bought years ago for my kid’s rooms
- a gaudy rainbow chandelier I bought cheaply 7 years ago but couldn’t find the right place to hang until now.
Plus great piles of books, statues, crystals and other taff from a life well loved.
And then all the creative supplies: canvasses, textured watercolour paper, gouache and acrylic and watercolour paints. Collage supplies, wool and sewing supplies. A vintage typewriter. I want this to be a place for making.
I’ve also got creative archives going back to my high school years – art journals and writing books. I put them all out on the bookcase but there is so many of them, the sheer bulk felt overwhelming. I have such a rich history of creating, but I don’t want it to feel overbearing. I want this space to feel light and ripe for creating NEW things. So I organised them all into file boxes instead. They’ll be kept precious, ready for digging through when I need it.
But mostly I will just keep looking forward to what I want to make next.
A space of one’s own. My heart is overflowing.
My youngest had her first day at school this week.
She goes one day a week for the rest of the year, then starts Grade 1 fulltime next year at Ostara’s school. We’ve been so thrilled with how her school is going, and how much Ostara is thriving. All the time I spent wondering and worrying about finding the right educational choice… and here we are. We’ve found something wonderful, and I am so grateful.
It also means that for the first time in 10 years (!!!!) me and Chris will have regular time without kids. Apart from a few very part-time nannies we had for a couple of months at a time, we’ve been in the thick of parenting duties since Ostara was born. We amped it up even more with doing homeschooling for almost three years.
Homeschooling was an absolute blessing and miracle in lots of ways.
I learned so much, and the family time we got to have together was so precious. I’m so very glad we did it. AND at the same time, I’ve discovered that my mental health is a lot better with having school in the mix. As a sensitive introvert creative who is likely on the ASD spectrum, having quiet time is paramount to my brain functioning well. A space of one’s own in my mind. What’s more, my kid is blooming too, finding her own path and place in the world.
So our family is going through a transition after ten years of being in the depths of little-kid-raising. It feels like so much is opening up with that space. So much possibility of what is next.
I said to a friend:
“I’m not quite sure we’ll know what to do with ourselves!”
“Maybe time to get a new hobby”
“YES! OR! We could have time to spend on the hobbies we ALREADY HAVE!”
We’ve always been pretty good at keeping our creative hobbies of course… but it was by sheer willpower, cramming it in random sized holes of time. And now we will have broad swathes of time to do them? It feels positively LUXURIOUS!
Will I work more?
Likely no. I’ll keep to about ten hours a week I think. Why change a good thing? Life first, business later.
Next week is my birthday.
My love asks:
“What would you like for your birthday honey?”
After 18 years together we’re long past the point of needing surprises.
And I said to him the same thing I always say to him:
“I want a night away in a hotel room by myself to read and make art and order room service.”
I’m a real raver, guys.
So that’s what I’m doing this weekend.
And most of all, I’ve got ME.
My own best friend. My own delightful company. The healing presence I need.
And we have a room of our own.