Friday, February 4, 2011
Love Your Craft Space?
How does a space affect creativity, I wonder?
Back home, my sewing table sits in a small space that was once a sleeping porch. Sunlight fills the small space throughout the day, bouncing cheerfully off the white walls and light carpet. Across the house, my collage and origami papers are stored in my light-filled office. Downstairs, the dining room, with its long wall of windows and big table, is the place for larger craft projects: basting a quilt; sorting a rainbow of wool roving and crewel-wool thread for Matryoshka stones; hosting a gathering of friends to learn how to knit mittens.
I sometimes feel guilty that my crafting takes up so much prime real estate in my home. But then I notice my daughter knitting a red-and-white scarf for her brother. Or my middle son sitting for longer than 30 minutes (and not in front of a computer or television or Gameboy) to fold origami cranes or paper airplanes. Or watching my youngest move a chair to the filing cabinet, where he gets out paper and markers to make a story book. Guilt, erased.
Here in our rental house, my craft area is in the basement: a dining table tucked between the ductwork for the forced-air system on one end and the washing machine and dryer on the far wall. When the heater turns on, a metal flap clinks softly as the air begins to whoosh through the ductwork. (My son doesn't like crafting there for long; the noises spook him.) A window above the washing machine and one on the outside door let in a bit of weak sun filtered through the outside deck, but only in the morning.
It's wonderful to have that set-aside space, and the mess is conveniently hidden from public view. But it's not a space that inspires.
I'm learning to make the space my own: a slow accretion of small objects. At the end of the summer I added glass jars that hold shells and stones collected on a summer trip to Hawaii. Another glass jar houses assorted buttons. Origami ornaments hang from a wire shelf. Handmade treasures remind me of talented, inspiring friends and whisper stories of connections made across states and continents.
The colorful wall of vintage handkerchiefs that my mom sent me have brightened up the space considerably. A sweet vintage hankie hugs a jar (inspiration and tutorial here) of dried chrysanthemums, which still bear the spicy scent of autumn.
Could it be that it's not so much the space itself that does the inspiring, but the handmade and collected objects that we fill it with?
Local chatter from ZenCrafter at 2:15 AM