I don't know a single creative that hasn't swooned over the pages of that beautiful, glossy magazine, Where Women Create. The photos are gorgeous, the vignettes so perfect. Not a paint drop on the floor or an overturned glitter jar anywhere. No half baked project strewn all over the place. No real fucked up painting sitting in the corner while the artist contemplates gessoing over the whole thing because its a 24X36, and its way too expensive to just chuck. And there are always stories of how the artist picked up their fabulous supply or featured storage piece in some exotic place while on some life altering adventure. I guess a utilitarian treasure plucked from the Goodwill on your way to pick up the kids, isn't really print worthy. And don't get me wrong, I have a whole stack of those wonderful magazines right here in my studio. And yes, occasionally I do covet. I mean seriously, I would have never thought to use vintage sterling salt shakers as a way to store and display my copious amounts of glitter. I have to admit, they are beautiful AND they work. Now that tip was worth the huge price I paid for it, even if my frequent shopper card didn't get me any discount.
But it got me to thinking about how fake and sterile those studios appear and why there is a need to hide the real things, the life altering things, the messy things that happen in them. And I will be the first to admit I'm just as guilty when it comes to my own space, as evidenced by the scrubbed photos below. I have a huge space that's arranged like a small sweat shop so I can move from one project to the next without having to clean up one to start another. I like to couch that in saying that I'm trying not to mix medias, i.e. clay on one table, paper projects on another, or that I'm working on multiple projects at once, but in reality it is because I'm kinda lazy and I never work on multiple projects. My insane penchant for finite details and perfection just simply won't allow the willy-nillyness of jumping from one project to the next! And everyone that comes into my studio talks about how organized it is. When all I want to say is "no bitches, what you are looking at is my need to control being manifested right here, out in the open!" And have you ever noticed how those sterilized photos never feature the artist's true stash? I think that's because we really do covet stashes way more than spaces. And I think that's because of the endless possibilities one has with a great stash...
Have you ever asked someone to tell you about their studio or describe their ideal creating space? Well, I have yet to see a fellow creative not transform into her whole self whether she is in her studio or just talking about her studio. Magical things happen in those spaces that are all ours. We surround ourselves with things of sentimental value, odd collections, pieces of our childhoods, evidence of both dreams deferred and dreams manifesting, things that make us laugh, rocks our kids collected, pictures of our grandmothers.... physical reminders of belonging.
Our studios are our sanctuaries, our places of refuge and safety. Places where through the creation of art, we confirm our self worth, expose our vulnerabilities and become brave. We find new beginnings in each fresh watercolor page. There is hope in glitter and comfort in the well worn rusty findings. We get lost in our art and find our best selves. And here in our studios we form connections and build tribes. Our studios are our armories, providing us with weapons and armor to defend ourselves against the wear and tear of our worlds. So maybe this is the reason for all the glossy pages. They mask the revolutions that are happening inside. And by camouflaging these revolutions, it allows us to become skilled warriors in our own time, giving us resilience for our journeys. And for that, I will renew my subscription and edit my photographs.