Tell me about your artist work space
The warm weather of May has lured me to my front porch once again. My forlorn summer writing desk sits in the corner waiting for the return of the laptop and the writer who sits in front of it daydreaming.
I cut a branch off my crabapple trees and place it in the antique blue bottle on the corner of the desk. A friend recently sent me a card with an old-fashioned typewriter on the front reminding me of my work and I strategically place it on the other corner. Add a coffee cup, a candle and my old red-fringe lamp and I am all set. There is still room for the old wicker furniture for guests who stop by to visit.
I was recently sent an article with photos of artist spaces. Some were so sparse that I knew I could not work there; others were piled high with papers and books. Maybe I am somewhere in between, and since my library is a bit piled high with uncompleted work, it is nice to move to the new space. Once I sent a letter to author Donald Hall asking him what his work space looked like. He wrote back immediately and said that since he lived in a large old farm house, he had a room for everything. He told me that when he woke in the morning he would decide whether the day would be for fiction, poetry, adult prose, or a new children’s book. He would then spend the day in that room. I have never seen photos, but my imagination shows me leather bound journals with pencils of all lengths and pens strewn about, along with books in each room. E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, wrote in a small shed down by the lake. My friend Liz Weir, from Ireland, looks out over the northern hills of the Antrim area. She takes care of her camping barn, entertains guests with her tales and when all is quiet, works on her stories.
My neighborhood is full of artists as well. My neighbor and friend, Lee, has a wonderful art studio across the street. I can often see Lee working on a project late at night. His drawing board is always full of caricatures to be finished or other imaginative work that pops up all over town in posters and billboards. He writes as well on rainy afternoons that call him to the pen and paper.
Dennis Petrie is down the street in a lovely old brick house with candles in the window. I don’t know his working space, but I can only imagine that it is piled high with notes and books. The other day Dennis gifted me with one of his many books, “Ultimately Fiction.” He autographed it as well.
Continuing in my neighborhood, Heidi Findley captures the essence of art with her marbling technique. I have not visited her studio but I have watched her work in libraries and at fairs. I received a package from her the other day with a sample of her work and a lovely note. My on-and-off again guitar teacher, Rhon VanErman, lives catty corner from me. His studio downtown is neat and tidy as is his house and yard.
There are so many other artists in northern Indiana building planes in garages, re-doing antique cars, tumbling rocks and making jewelry, scraping mud off boots to use for art projects, collecting old hats … vintage dresses. I was thinking … wouldn’t it be a great project to collect photos and stories of our northern Indiana artists? Maybe you could share by sending me photos of art spaces and short descriptions of artists you know or of yourself. Don’t be modest … life itself is an art form as well as gardening for fairies.
So, my new warm-weather writing space is small, secluded. It is surrounded with bushes growing close to the second story. I have been told that it isn’t good for the house and it isn’t very symmetrical, but I love these bushes and I have never been symmetrical. They are shade for hot summer days and give me the feeling of a forest at night when dusk arrives. Sitting and working outside on my porch, with shooting stars lighting up the night sky and planets hovering above me, gives me a great sense of beauty and solitude … and a reason to write.
So, again homework time … let’s think about our own place where imagination thrives and stories begin.
P.S.: The squirrels are gone.