My studio holds a quiet promise that it’s a safe place to experiment, explore, and discover. And I take full advantage of that promise.
“You’re going to hate it.” Those were the words my husband, Jeff, said to me about the mystery room located off the kitchen of our potential new house in Rochester, Minnesota. The housing market and our schedules were such that we would have to make an offer on this house based solely on internet photos, but one room wasn’t shown in the listing. We could only see a sliver of it through a glass door. Our realtor sent Jeff photos and he forwarded them along to me. We could now see it was an unfinished sunporch clad in dark cedar paneling, topped off with a sagging, dusty ceiling fan.
Jeff was wrong. My heart leapt when I envisioned every surface painted in a shade of white to reflect the light from the south-facing windows. I thought, “It’s a perfect studio!” He wasn’t convinced, but he’s learned to trust my eye when it comes to things that other people overlook.
“The goal is to continue to change, and never change the same way twice.”
— Taylor Swift
After running through a gauntlet of miracles, we ended up moving into that house, and one of the first things I did post-closing was purchase primer and paint to transform the studio into my new workspace. Since it was a porch, we also had it insulated and climate-controlled, so I would be able to use it year-round. (I really appreciated that when it was -30° last winter!)
The studio is a sanctuary and, even though it’s not large or grand, it’s been everything I’ve needed it to be. It shifts from acting as a backdrop for videos and photos to an art and design studio to a place to record podcasts. It’s accommodating as I follow my curiosity and continue to evolve as a creative and an entrepreneur.
The focal point of the studio is most certainly the large antique cabinet. I purchased the hardware counter from Maryland and the bookcase from a schoolhouse in Minnesota, and paired the two together to make one large storage unit that houses my resource books and art supplies. It was a risk that paid off by providing a visual punch and loads of practicality.
The space itself beckons… Come, create. Make mistakes. Make a mess. Practice, grow, and learn.
The remaining pieces are on casters and sliders, so they can be rearranged or moved as need or whim dictates. The goal, though, is to make every piece count. Each stick of furniture has to provide much-needed storage and contribute to the overall creative ambience. To me, that is the essence of creating a mindful studio. Every piece matters. Every detail matters.
Despite fears of failure, I am constantly working with unfamiliar mediums and pushing myself to acquire new skills. Despite the urge to settle into a comfortable routine, I regularly study new-to-me artists, designers, writers, and makers to push myself into unknown places and stave off stagnation.
Even my mood changes the second I walk over the threshold and grab a brush or a pen or my camera.
I don’t know if I’d be that brave working from a bustling kitchen table, as I did in the early days of my business. I’d like to think I would, but I have to acknowledge that creating a space for the sole purpose of creating makes it sacred. Everyone in the house knows that roughhousing, complaining, or anything other than positive, supportive attitudes are not permitted in Mom’s Studio. I put on music, roll the tension out of my shoulders, and start to work with anticipation…
What will I create in this studio today?