so here, without much fanfare, is - the studio. The Studio - a new, greatly expanded spot where i'll be spinning mysteries and memories into tangible bits and pieces of ornaments with which to connect, to wear and hopefully to love. getting to this place seemed to take so very long (and many, many, many $$$ - thank you, mama!!!) - the garage car door removed, new windows installed, multiple ceiling lights and electric outlets installed, drywall up, paint on walls, shelves built, gas wall heater moved from upstairs to down, and many many many boxes unpacked, materials and tools put into the places where they fit - and none of this has been easy. not much of it, really, at all has been what i would call fun. it's the first time that i've done any remodeling whatsoever, first time i've dealt with contractors and carpenters, first time i've tried to stand my ground on what i think would work best for me, on what would look and feel right (that was the most difficult thing of all - asserting my own priorities over the schedule and opinions of a butt headed contractor). but now that most of the upheaval and drywall dust have settled, and i've sat at the table before those windows with hammer in hand for more than a day or two, i can say that it feels exactly right, that i'm thrilled (and still a little overwhelmed) with the results. i'll show you a few of the "before" photos and a few of the after:
garage car door removed, and three big windows installed, side by side; metal door has now been replaced with a full window insert door and screened door.
i snapped this photo of the cabin so that you couldn't see the contractor's mess in the driveway, right in front of the studio windows. i have a lovely front porch with wicker swing, a nice new side deck and fence for walter, and a large screened porch in back. the studio is at the bottom, where the basement car garage once was. bill, my electrician. he installed new overhead lights (no flourescent!) and multiple wall outlets.
drywall is up; this began the day after i moved - when box upon box upon box was dropped into the middle of the room, and had to be moved yet again when this work began. (thank you, julie!!!) next came paint, and then - finally - shelves and an additional table, for soldering.
the antique welsh pine farmhouse cupboard, which (i was told) once housed chickens in the bottom, has been mine for 26 years; now it will hold art supplies. it had been in storage in the basement for over 13 years, as i'd not had a house large enough for a hutch; it was a mess, with dust and dirt and mold. for the better part of two hours, i rubbed it down inside and out with Murphy's Oil Soap, and polished it clean once again. the table to the left will be a part of my "shipping station", tucked up under the stairs that lead up to the rest of the house. i crept downstairs and snapped this photo of a sunlit studio the morning after the contractor finished the shelving at nine pm the previous night. there were nearly 100 unpacked boxes waiting to be opened and items placed in their spots on those empty shelves. (taken the night the shelves were built)
i also had a plumber install water lines to an antique pedestal sink that daddy gave me 20 years ago; he had found it in an old house that he tore down in the 1960's.
as i wrote the first of this post, the contractor and his assistant were walking up and down the hill, in and out of the storage room downstairs, mumbling and pitching things into their trucks, heading somewhere else from here, at last. the fence in back for walter is up, except for a lovely, old fashioned (modest, and new) ornamental wire and galvanized metal gate that i ordered over the phone.
i long for quiet, for rhythm, for privacy. without the workers' noise and disruptions, i can hear the wind in the leaves. i am not interrupted one hundred times a day. walter snoozes at my feet. hummingbirds buzz at the feeders. i swing in the wicker on the porch. i walk around in pajamas, barefoot. i stand at the windows, unselfconciously, without feeling that i'm breaking anyone's concentration. (update: i'm completing this post from alabama, where i'm finally able to spend a week with my mother, after all these months).
now? i've sat at the studio table for hours at a time, taking time to stare out into the trees and let the sounds and sights of the beautiful surrounding area soak into my heart and soul. my little road, called Wooded Way; the cabin sits up above the road, on the left, with the screened porch tucked up into those trees. a stream runs through the bottom of the property, to the right of the road, and i can hear it from the back porch and the deck. there is half a mile of gravel road between the cabin and the mailbox at the paved road on down the mountain.
it is a quiet place, peaceful and profound in its beauty; thanks to the nonstop rain of this summer, the trees and meadows are still as green as the depth of spring.
inspiration strikes when we least expect it: after the contractor stated, when installing the wood and wire fence for walter, that the area was "friggin' root city", i remembered the thin tendrils of rhododendron root that i had plucked from the watery river's edge back in the spring.
i thought of family strength, of how much i love my mother, of how much i love my father still, even though he has passed on from here to the beyond. i thought of how it feels to be living in the cabin, surrounded by loving memories, there within the solid whitewashed walls.
i'll begin listing some of my new jewelry pieces this week, now that i've got the time to do it. just writing this takes a huge weight off of my shoulders; it's been far too long since i was able to sit and create, to work, to earn my keep.... stay tuned. xo