Saturday, June 6, 2015

Preparing the Cottage Studio

We have had our hands full here in Deep River since my last post. It seems like life has been conspiring to keep me away from the studio!  I have been working in the yard, making perennial gardens and planting vegetables. Last week I repainted the garden bench and bird bath, pulled weeds, trimmed trees and shrubs, transplanted hostas, and put in brick edging on some of our gardens. It has been great to be outdoors working with the plants, but I am itching to be back in the studio soon!

We spent last weekend at our cottage in Quebec. I have started setting up the studio for our summer there, and can hardly wait to start making paper!  My husband has helped to create some more permanent working spaces for me in the studio. Last weekend he helped to create proper counter spaces with paper storage shelving made from old IKEA shelf sets our good friend Kathren Jackson gave to us. This weekend he hopes to duplicate the first shelf and help set up the light table we were gifted last year here in Deep River. One of his projects last year was to start creating a solar power system for the cottage. It worked really well to provide electricity to power my sewing machine for leather embroidery and hopefully this summer I will be able to use the light table too!

Some photos to show our progress!

We are able to return this Sunday through Tuesday noon, our weekend.  I am hoping to get the final studio furniture in place and install the new attic pull out stairs to the sleeping loft. Once this is done, I can build the railing for the loft and start to think about putting in a book shelf!  Our guests will be sleeping on a king sized bed in the studio-and I am sure to be taking a few naps there myself this year!

As I was working in the garden this week, I was struck by the subtle changes happening in the sky and the air as the weather changed. I love being outside and with my hands in the soil. My mother was an avid gardener and I learned so much from her.  As I was planting the new perennials that I hope will weather our Canadian winters to bring much joy to our home, I thought about the lasting growth that comes from making pieces of art for people to share inside their homes. Whether it is a piece of work that hangs on the wall, sits on a shelf, or is experienced held in the palm of your hand (like and artists' book), the experience of the work changes subtly when the light changes. Our perception of the colour, the texture, and how our human eyes see both is influenced by the illumination in which it is presented.

For me working in the garden and working in the studio are one in the same. In the garden I am working with living things that I hope will bring joy to those who see them. In the studio I am working with inanimate objets that I hope will come to life in the minds eye of the beholder to bring them joy. Both activities, for me, are a version of active living prayer that fills my heart with a passion for life and the sharing of spirit with all whom I encounter.

In each instance, with each breath I make, each handful of soil I take, each seed or plant I place, for me matches the energy I feel with each stroke I make, each book I create, in the studio. In my heart, I know that as the seasons turn, so do my creative urges. I know that all will be well, and all will be well, with the creative and wise energy of God our Mother and the Earth she provides, all will be well.