...or tries to...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The desk where I live...


The studio is a kind of chicken and egg thing-it's sometimes hard to figure out how much of the development of your work is decided by the space you make it in. I've only had small spaces to work in so far, and I have always stayed relatively small. But I've been watching ants and turning over rocks and collecting dead bees for as long as I remember. I have no idea what I would do in a giant loft with floor to ceiling windows and splattered concrete floors. Would I hunker in a corner, lurk along the walls? Would I get all expansive, consider space larger than my desk top? I can't tell you how many times I've been told to work larger. I know they're probably right, but my concession to the artistic temperament thing has always been covert - I nod politely, concede that they may be right, like a good girl, and then go back home and do what I want.

This small space, this desktop, with its avalanching yarn balls and pliers clattering to the floor and  boxes of beads upended by my errant elbows, is the center of my universe. It's tight, it's the pinpoint axis on which I try to balance what I know. The raw material comes from outside its orbit, but, once inside the circle of the light cast by my broken lamp, experiences try to sort themselves out. It's where I mull and stew and obsess over things, where I mix radio stories together with conversations I've had, diagnoses and arguments and pleasures and long passed memories. It's the same for anyone who sits at a desk, making something, artist or not, that solo space picked out of a larger one, the same way little kids stake out a small section of a huge room or a wide field of grass.

4 comments:

rosanna said...

Your desk is remarkably similar to mine although I have of 1/1000 of your talent. But the space is the same.
Thank you for your comment on my last post: you got straight to the point. It is not the place who makes the memories but the people who dwelled there and, if they aren't any more, the contrast between what it is changed and what remains unmoved is even more striking.
My parents sold the house with all its furniture and accessories, the new owners left EVERYTHING untouched, they even left the curtains. I could breath my Mum, see her, touch where she left her fingerprints and yet she is nowhere for me to find.
It's been an emotional tsumani as a friend called it..
Never again I'll go there but I'll cherish my memories by myself.
Thank you again, Rosanna

Daydreamer said...

Amy, you've made a beautiful collage of your workspace.... almost egg-like even in it's shape! I like to see your workspace!
Like you, I used to be told to work bigger... all my painting was in 2X3 inches or thereabouts. Then one year I bought an unfinished kitchen cabinet and needed to paint it... It was LARGE and I started painting flowers and vines.... it took me months to complete and started me on the furniture painting track. And then one day I realized I didn't need to stop at the edges of the furniture! So I branched out onto the walls and ceilings of my house! The only problem was that I wanted to make every square inch as detailed as the tiny paintings.... but I could never devote enough time to get anywhere near the vision in my mind! That still is a problem.... but I am still painting on my walls because I just love to decorate my environment. I don't try to sell any of it. I will have to do a post on my painted furniture some day.... It took forever to complete each piece..... rarely with the level of "close-up" that I wished I had the time for.....
So you are probably doing exactly what you SHOULD be doing which is following your inclinations! Bigger is NOT always better! I think intricate and exquisitely tiny is often better!

Sans! said...

At least all of you have a fixed place. Not me. I work on almost every table in the house but am unable to leave anything behind because these tables are for everything else except my work. Maybe I am incapable of establishing a permanent relationship with one table. I am commitment phobic?! O dear, I am not monotable. :).

Amy said...

Rosanna, your post moved me so much. It must have been very odd to see that the new owners kept everything the same-it almost seems like the past is still there, leaving you out. When I have gone back to see the house I grew up in it's different enough that I know it doesn't belong to me anymore, all the flowers, colors and trees are different, even the driveway has changed. But I can walk through every room in my mind, remember the light and shadows, the sounds, the life it was filled with.

Betsy, that's what's so wonderful about your home-that you filled the walls and furniture with your art, like my favorite houses-Carl Larsson's, and Charleston House especially. I tried a little in my old condo, with a Solomon and a bird in a tree mural in my guest bathroom, another tree in the hallway. But I always stopped short. I wonder if the new owner left the Solomon mural-or painted over it? If she kept it, how long will it stay there? How many new owners would keep it? I'll probably never know. Your house is a work of passion and artistry and love, the best thing a home could be.

Sans-even when I have a studio I tend to move around, not so much while I'm staying in my Mom's house, but when I live alone. It's so easy to do-you follow your whims, the light, comfort, right? Lots of my stuff was sewn on the coffee table-it turned out to be the most comfortable place anyway!

I'm on work deadline today but I can hardly wait to read your new posts-