27 November 2006
Ghosts in the studio
Photo: Thanksgiving at Mom's - she's an accomplished quiltmaker and along with my sister the chef serves an amazing feast every year. Jeanne Adams photo.
Now that we have the studio set up, I can schedule art. I will announce grandly to myself, "After dinner I will be in the studio." This is the opposite of what has been happening the last 10 years, when all the art stuff was splattered around the kitchen.... . The amount of activity in my kitchen could be astounding. My teenage son and his friends, my 9 year old and her friends. Two cats and a dog. Everyone would end up doing what I was doing, or "helping" me. Painting, paper making, plaster casting, paper marbling, cast paper, paste paper, painting, sculpey clay, tie dying. We've learned how to do it all. There was always food and music and talking. At the end of the day I'd have a really big mess to clean up and feel sad because I didn't get anything "done". My friends were creating art, wonderful pieces. All I was accomplishing was adding to an amazing pile of "stuff that's going to be something someday."
The last couple of weeks having the studio has been amazing. I finally mastered a two needle sewing technique on a more complicated book structure than I've ever done before. I love it! I'm thrilled. My tools don't disappear! Funny things don't happen to my work if I leave it on the table!
But the studio is really quiet. Zoe occasionally does her homework in there with me, and Alex will sometimes teach a guitar lesson in the gallery, or come in and play me a tune, but it's not the same. Too scheduled, too organized. Too quiet. I can hear the ghosts of the kitchen past laughing. I see an 8 year old in the "zone" squirting dye onto a t-shirt and her pure joy and amazement as the final design is revealed. We had 5 people dyeing and made over 45 shirts that day. Plus pizza, two dogs, two cats, telephones ringing, print shop customers, friends in and out plus a trip to WalMart for more shirts.
It's not going to be that spontaneous anymore. The kids are growing up. It's okay that I didn't finish much "art". It's okay, because my kids became artists, and musicians and chefs in that kitchen! I think about my friends who have tried something new with me in that kitchen and gone on to accomplished works.
I'm enjoying the new studio immensely, but without my ghosts and joyful, noisy, messy memories and the "amazing pile of stuff" to keep me company it wouldn't be half so much fun. Now, where's that black and gray paste paper we made three years ago?