I've been at it again.
I picked up a book called Living the Creative Life (Freeman-Zachery) and have been reading it bit by bit in a room of the house I will not mention, because I am struggling a bit with a busy life which I felt was disconnecting me from the creative aspects that keep me alive. Yes really, they are that crucial to my happy life.
I also bought the book because I have been thinking alot about how to make my creative space work better for me. I have two main spaces that I use. Our living room is cordoned (ok, not really, but I have a line that I observe) off into living room and sewing/yarn/creative area. The problem is that my creative area is inescapable, just as my office feel inescapable, since I am working at home so much at the moment. I also have what my son called the dyeing yard (great name) this weekend, which is the side yard of the house that I keep my dyeing storage and tables in. There is a chicken wire fence closing it in, which is nice, because it gives me a space in which to contain the process. I would really like to move the sewing area into the side yard with a studio building of some kind, we are working with the city on this, but I don't think I have too many options at the moment given the restrictions of city ordinance, existing buildings and the flow of chi through the yard.
But here are some things that I have realized in the intersection of focusing on this topic and living my life:
- One of the best places for me to think is in the car driving. I know that Bezzie takes showers, and Kverulantinnen takes long walks and generous timelines. Long walks and timelines also work for me, but require time which is in short supply right now. But this weekend, I went to the South Bay to sell some yarn and the ride back was very creative, just driving on the freeway and thinking, even with my mom in the car, which made me remember this. Why did I have to do this to remember this? Because I have been doing lots less driving than usual, due to telecommuting etc. So this is an important revelation for me, that when I am feeling dry to go for a bit of a drive.
- I have periodic slumps that feel like the end of the world. I know this because I blog about them. You also know this because I blog about this. I also forget about them every single time. Amnesia.
- I also like to putter about in my studio area before I get started. It's a bit of a ritual of initiation. The putter can include getting out materials, putting things away, or just moving things around. The important point is that I am in the studio space, I am touching things in the space and things are moving.
- I also putter in the midst of creating. It's a distinct process that I go through. Stopping periodically to clean up a bit, get a snack, putter around the house/studio with mundane uncreative tasks, etc. I do this while painting, writing, sewing, quilting, anything that is a long drawn out creative process, but not while dyeing, interestingly, probably because of the segregation of materials that I observe while working with chemicals of any kind. I also do this at the day job, when writing or working on a document of some kind.
- I like to clean up my space between projects or foci. So for instance, this weekend I wrapped up a long run of dyeing, skeining, and labelling of yarn etc for Ceallach Dyes and Sock Summit. Before I could rest, I needed to put everything aright, meaning yarns got boxed, labels, inventories and other paperwork got stacked, auxiliary furniture got stored, and the living room furniture got restored. The sewing machine and serger went back up on th desk and the swifts went over by the skeiner. By the time I was done, most everything was put away and the space is ready for the next gust of Ceallach. Maybe it's more of a flood. Who knows?
Another area that I am interested in, and hoping this book will help is trying to find or strike a balance between a day job, a business, writing of books (which is becoming a force in my life) and maintaining creativity, maintaining my health through diet and exercise, and dedicating time to my family.
So here are some questions for my readers:
- What kinds of things do you do when you are creating?
- What rituals do you have around creating?
- What is your space like?
- Do you have some of the same struggles?
- Would you be interested in a cohesive group of people where you might discuss this and related topics? This could be on Ravelry, a dedicated group blog, a web ring or the like.
- Do you already know of something like this?