nothing can stop me!

This morning Seth Apter of The Altered Page  posed this question on FB:What would boost your creativity the most: more time, more space, more supplies or something else? and I offered this response.

“Space . . . being able to leave something I’m working on undisturbed while I do something else. I don’t want to have to put away my encaustic set-up so I can make some more monoprints or to set up the sewing machine or get out the typewriter or . . . I’m sure you get the point. A smallish spare bedroom (with carpet) that occasionally needs to be used as one is not ideal . . . guess who is thinking of ripping up the carpet! In the meantime I have vinyl on the carpet and I just take over parts of the house and garden as the need arises. My thoughts on anything that stifles your creativity is, if you really want to express yourself, you’ll find a way.”

Reading other responses as well as my own, I got to some serious thinking.   Deep down, I believe that if you want to do something badly enough you’ll find a way.  I also agree with the saying ‘cut your coat according to your cloth.’   For years I didn’t have much time or money to indulge my creative fantasies so the fantasies remained small.  I made things as gifts and I learned to make do with the resources I had at hand.   If I bought resources, whatever I made had to pay for itself and make additional income. . . one year, back in the 70s, I funded Christmas gifts for my children by making and selling macrame dog leads.

So there you go, time and resources limited my output and limited my creativity but it certainly didn’t curtail it.  I fitted it in.

Now, my only real limitation is space.  Recently I moved my workroom from a small office to a smallish bedroom and reshuffled the furniture around the house and now I have about 10 square metres for storage and to create in.

The Late Start Studio

The Late Start Studio. I think I might rip up the carpet, build a workbench along the right-hand wall with shelves under and over it for storage and display, and put the desk under the window.  




Right now I’m set up for working with encaustic medium and wax on the carpet isn’t great. Fortunately I have another of my cunning plans and got my hands on some free vinyl which I laid over part of it and sealed the edge down with duct tape. When you’ve had to make do, you can come up with ingenious solutions.   There’s still nowhere to play with charcoal unless I go outside( it’s winter here), splash paint, print, sew (I have 3 machines), and my easel is stored behind yet another bedroom door . . . one night is fell and almost brained a guest!  Of course if only I was interested in just one art form life would be a whole easier albeit not as interesting.

Different art forms require different equipment and  set-ups

Different art forms need different equipment and set-ups.  Left to right: boiling and dying harakeke/flax outside, free motion embroidery, encaustic pod with muka fringe.

There might be reasons why you can’t do what you’d like but you can still express yourself creatively but excuses are just that . . . excuses.

In all honesty, I have no reasons however sometimes I have excuses . . . and that’s when I give myself short shrift.

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About late start studio

I think the blog title says it all! Or so I thought when I began blogging. Since then I realise that I began my life as a maker very young. The 'late start' is in taking being a Maker seriously . . . giving it the capital letter it deserves. Over the years I have acquired a wide variety of skills , some through need and other through simple curiosity and now that I have resigned from the paid workforce, I am happily pursuing Making with creativity, originality and discipline.

15 thoughts on “nothing can stop me!

  1. What an interesting post. I shall go and read some of the other posts. I used to love my encaustic art which I did in the kitchen. We now have a smaller kitchen and no kitchen table and I haven’t touched the supplies for 14 years. Hope you have a lovely creative day today.

  2. I agree with you Wendy, you make do and create what is doable with the space and resources you have. I started off in a very small studio, a small shed in fact made from bush poles and corrugated iron. Before it was my studio space it was the bedroom I shared with my husband, Bruce. It fitted in our Queen size bed with a little bit of space on either side, we built in a makeshift wardrobe at one end of the bed. I was delighted to make it my studio when we eventually completed out mud brick house enough to move our bed in!
    I’m very grateful now to have a spacious and light filled studio where I have ‘stations’ for my sewing machine, my encaustic set up, my etching press, which is on wheels so that it can be tucked in a corner when I’m not using it. I also have a desk with my typewriter on it and two good sized tables for laying out work, (as I do a lot of assemblage this is really handy). I also have a sink and a small bar fridge which is fantastic for setting my gelatine plates for mono printing!
    I am a very lucky artist who really appreciates the space that I have in which to pursue my drive to create.

  3. i think you do? if so….there’s nothing that says your whole house can’t be your studio.
    I have a wooden door that i keep behind the futon couch in the living room…out of
    sight, but there for when i need a really large space to work on. I just put it on the
    end table. Fills up the whole middle of the room…but
    why not?

    and if i were working in all the mediums you are, i would use the kitchen as studio too.

    If it’s MAKING that we love and Making we Do with our days, then why not dedicate
    the whole house to it? If company is occasional, it can be cleared for that.

    • You got it right Grace although I regularly have a house full of family or friends . . . and I do take over the house. Until last week the encaustic medium was set up on the dining table, I weave on the floor in the living room (kitchen, dining and living is all one big space), prints are made on the kitchen bench and spread out over the table and floor, machine sewing is on the dining table as well and hand sewing anywhere I can find a patch of sunshine. These are all things that are done short term or until the job is finished and then tidied away . . . I have to admit that I don’t like the feeling crowded by the clutter when I’m not actually engaged in it and would love to be able to shut the door and walk away. I need nothing, have so much, but my fantasies are growing.

  4. I agree with Grace! Old Man Crow & I rent run down houses that can cope with having things stuck to the walls with blue tack & carpets that have seen better days but any process that makes fumes gets done outside (OMC is a very tolerant musician who can fit all his things in a van at short notice & can live in a hotel room as easily as a house) & draw inspiration from the nomadic tribes people who make the best jewellery, clothes, tents and magical talismans in the world with what they and their animals can carry… but then I’m a gypsy at heart.

    • thinking a bit more… you are setting yourself up for the next phase of your life, why not convert the whole house into dedicated working spaces? one space for doing messy things, one for sewing, one for leaving the easel set up etc etc
      I have a friend with the best set up studio in the world., glass furnace, kilns, flame working, neon, bronze casting, woodworking et al, he makes great art but is always tinkering with the studio making it more and more perfect, this also can be a form of procrastination albeit a very productive one!

      • Thanks . . . it’s been waxed but mot coloured . . . the lack of colour is appealing so I’ll live with them as they are for a while. I’ll make some more and play with colour: construction of the armature takes place on the living room floor at this time of year, plastering is outside if the weather is good or in the kitchen, and the last lot were waxed on the dining table.

      • I think you might get Grace’s reply in your emails Mo . . . the house does get pretty much taken over depending on what I’m doing and when I’m in the middle of something in the living room my attitude is pretty relaxed however I’d like to be able to leave machines out etc. as it would be lovely to be working on a collage and just turn around and use the machine or type some text. It seems to be that ‘clean’ work is in the living room and more messy work goes outside or the workroom and some messy work requires space. India Ink and carpet (newish,beige) don’t go well together. As I said to Grace, I need nothing, have so much, but my fantasies are growing . . . .

  5. I tend to spread evenly my different work on all the rooms we have. The dining table is the home of my sewing machine. So we eat in the kitchen. The kitchen is the best place to paint with acrylics, my desk to paint with watercolors and to draw. Hand sewing and quilting is done best on the couch or at the balcony. Reading best in my bed. As far as possible I clean up the kitchen immediately after painting but all the other things can stay there for a while. And if I always look after my pins my husband can live with my creative work. Sure if you really want to work you find a solution but I remember well, when my children were young and filled the house with their things I often was too tired to find a solution for me. It was like a mountain to high to climb so now I love to live in luxury of having space and time.

    • Your way of allocating space seems to work well for you and spreading out through the house is something I still need to do as well. If I get my quilt out the living room will be taken over until it’s finished or I get fed up with it again. The current set up seems to be working for everything else so far and I feel really fortunate that I only need to consider and please myself . . . when there are children we definitely have other priorities.

  6. yes, space. I do take over the whole house but even then have no useful space in terms of surface area to leave things lying whilst they are in progress. You are right though, we always find a way.

    • Oh yes . . . to be able to leave the work out that must stay clean and know it will stay that way! And the work that will take time to dry! I want to boil and dye flax but it needs to be a still day to do it outside because it smells . . . and I live in the roaring 40s on the west coast with nothing except Tasmania between me and South America! Oh for a purpose built studio but in the meantime . . . I’ll cope. 🙂

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