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I visit here quite often but don't usually comment. Today I had to because I was so happy to see I'm not the only one who gathers and collects everything! And until recently (when we put our house on the market) my studio was always a disaster with a tiny space in which to work! I don't think it's possible for me to create anything in a neat way. Thank you for this post. I loved it.


What is with the 5" square of space that we all end up with:) When I go on a cleaning spree in my space, it would more aptly be called a treasure hunt, because like you and the rest of us, I'm always tickled when I find something that I forgot I had or thought was lost forever. And yet, I continue to find more "stuff" that needs to live there-just in case:) Today, we found a bird nest outside, which has already been moved into said studio/packrat haven/mess!


i love what you said perhaps we are building our own nests...very profound.......i think you are right, i am doing that...


Your collections always look so nice and it is true that we are all collectors of some sort. As I started to read the lovely poem by Yeats I thought oh this is familiar. Sean Bean quotes this poem in the movie Equilibrium. Its only a phrase but it intrigued my daughter so much that we searched all Yeats poetry to find it. Its funny how little things turn into a quest of sorts. Thanks for sharing the poem.



I, too am a collector and gatherer. There are things in the world that should be together, and I have accepted that challenge in my own little way. I also have many "littles" I have bought and put away to use when the time is right, but when I am ready, they are not. I think they are hiding from me to extend my creativity.

Beautiful post!

Cindy In Carolina

You do have dried bugs? I do....I don't know why I am saving them........what am I gonna do with them. they were just to pretty to let them be destroyed. Feathers.............ummmmm......let's don't even go you need some and what kind?

ro Bruhn

Wow Nina, your work table is a mirror image of mine. I doesn't help to have a large studio, it ends up even more cluttered as there is more space for collections. I've been looking for these old keys that I know I put somewhere safe, so that I would find them again, that was six months ago, and I'm still looking, but I found this great fabric I 'misplaced' a year ago along the way.



Nina, one of my inspirations - a Melbourne artist and extraordinary woman - Mirka Mora, has created an entire book on this very subject. Its a beautiful read (literally), called love and clutter. If you have a list somewhere of books to find, add this one. I'm sure you'd love it.
x mandy


You know you are an artist when you'd never spend $100 on a piece of clothing, but you don't think twice about spending that on art supplies!

I'm afraid I have that same 8 inch space to work on. But that's okay, I love looking for buried treasure - buried as in my art space!

Cindy Dean

Ok, my first comment is, I love the changes to your blog. New, color, new title box! Now...I love your mess! It looks like mine. I am so glad as I read all the other posts that I have a reason to be messy! LOL It's called being creative. I have an excuse...I am an artist!


hmmm, what clutter? what mess? I don't even see mine anymore! xoxo maybe we should put together a book about our collections - I saw a lovely one recently about a number of artists' spaces.... they were all neat and tidy and everything had its place and there were no empty coffee cups, no dogs lying just behind the chair or bench ensuring a serious accident was bound to happen involving glue and a pot of hot wax or bright red paint, no "end bits" of wire or ribbon or odd bead that accidently stuck to that very important part of the canvas and definately no cats that spend the night asleep on a pile of freshly gessoed pages of a new altered book.... hmmm BORING!!!
bring on the clutter i say! now, please excuse me while i go and find that button, I know its here somewhere. xo

Jo Stables

I just knew we were kindred spirits, replace Aspen with one of my cats and you could be looking at my studio, and I even cleaned up on Saturday!!! I sometimes wish to be more organised, to be able to clean up as I create, but that is not my nature and it is so nice to see I am not alone. All these lovely ladies seem to be just like me too!! No longer will I complain about my mess (creative chaos I call it), but I will know that when I am in my space I am sharing it with many others around the world!
Another lesson learnt from dear Nina.
Love you,
Jo xoxoxo


Nina, the way you have done your photo's is just stupendous. Love the tones ans colouring!!! Awesome. As is also your choice of words. You are soooooo gifted!!!


You have made a beautiful self portrait.


Nina, Even your 'mess' is beautiful!!

A lovely post - as always.
Sue x


i had loved that poem for years. i think i shall use it for a book for john, now that you have reminded me of it.

you do NOT have that wonderful chest of drawers! certainly you got that from a google image or something! it's so precious.

i wish you could come over and play in my studio.



Oh, but don't you hate it when you have to spend minutes/hours/days looking for something that would look just perfect right here/right now -- but where in the world did I put it??? I won't mention any names, but the last time I saw a friend of mine she had a dead bird in her car (well she knew she'd use the feathers on some piece some time) and at least he'd been dead a long time so he didn't smell!! (teehee) I love those drawers - they are beautiful. Also love the new look of your site, very peaceful colors.


Is it me? or perhaps a mirror. Is it my eyes? or is it that everything I see in this post is my favorite color in the whole wide world. Teal/Blue/Green....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yummy! I love you, Nina. Thanks for sharing such great experiences and thoughts with all of us!

ruth rae

What a stunning mess!
With all the little Bits and pieces and fragments of soon to be art scattered all about! A tiny studio is no less a space! Your pitchers for this post are a delight! Thank you so much for sharing a peek into your creativity!


Dear Nina, that is my favourite poem. I've only recently found you and love visiting your blog each day. Best wishes from Australia.

Adrienne Berry

Thank you for sharing, I love seeing others workspaces! I envy your view of the mountains. MMMMM

Elise B.

my husband just had a little chat with me yesterday about how much better I would feel if I would clean up my studio... :-)...can't barely walk through, let alone work, for that I use every ounce of the Kitchen counters!

Aspen seems quite content among your pretty little things...


A goldfinch's nest Nina!
I love your copper and verdigris colours.

Elizabeth Parsons

It made me smile to read about your collectig of things...I too am a collector or things...I love what you said- we are 'nesting' I have a word for what I do!


Oh Nina,
I am so glad to see your studio. With all of the wonderful things you make I feared you were one of those organized neat people, who's studio's are featured in magazines. I am truly one with you, my dog Buddy can't walk through my studio with out knocking something over. I have a photo posted on my blog right now of my studio.


Actually the pics of your "nest" seem quite comforting to me - For I myself am a nester - always have been and will always be ... I have learned to embrace my nesting which some may call clutter but it makes me feel safe and homey - to each his own I suppose - "NESTER UNITE!"


one of my favorite places on this earth is your nest...every little inch of your nest is beyond wonderful... how lucky i feel to know that.
beautiful photos, beautiful colors & new banner. xxoxo

Nancy Gene Armstrong

Have you been in my art room? Is there another way to create,I think not. So enjoy your words. I too visit often. Nest sitting on shelves also. I was upset over a magazine that said you must suround your work space with lovely organized spaces,always neat ...I worry the artist creating on a fold up table will think you can't be an artist unless your work space is perfect.


I think you could start seems we all have the same "nest" we work in and we all have the same teeny tiny work space on our tables.....hmmmm, I think a book with studios is in order !!!!!

But not just any studio....they must fall within the "nesting" category of studios !!!

Now there's a book that would be cherished by all !!!!!

I am a messy studio gal and there's no way that will ever change. And now with our cottage....oh my, the nests and eggs and skulls are starting to add up !!!! The barn swallows are loving us !!!!

Jenny Fillius

There is a site devoted to artist's studios and they are all tidy. Seems fake to me. Love seeing your space...also have you ever read David Sedaris' short story about how his place must have looked to a stranger one evening? It's a roit.

Jenny Fillius

Your comment about keeping things then letting them go reminded me of my mother. She found things at the thrift stores during the week and then fixed them up and sold them at the flea market on the weekend. Sometimes she would keep and item around for a while before selling it. One day I was looking for a big green bowl to mix up cookie dough in, I asked her where it was and she said..."I got $25 for it just last week." She loved to keep things moving.

Julie H

Beautiful Nina, where do I start. With the gorgeous self portraits how serene you look and how the little butterfly hi-lights this. Nina you are not old - you are ageless, there are things you say and do that make me think of myself at 14, and others as if I have climbed a mountain to hear from the wise woman.

How I love your cluttered studio. I tidied my art room last summer and could not create for months. Now I have to step over a box to get to my seat and it seems to me a magic comes at that time.

I do do do love the new blue blog as well.


so what's the point of the waste basket?? hahahaha Looks just like my studio. xoxoxo

Jamie Miller

I always love seeing your wonderful collections. I have to say that I am coveting your wooden drawer storage and would love to spent an afternoon peeking in at the contents. Like finding lost treasures. You are a treasure Nina. Love, Jamie

sarah urquhart

I just stopped by for inspiration before going to my "guest" bedroom to clear off my worktable (it has shrunk to a 3" square of available space) so I can start to play again. Thank you.

claudine hellmuth

awww hi aspen!!


Oh I love those blue drawers. Isn't it amazing that most comments here say how their own space looks the same. I recently had to clean up my own mess so I could shift it all off the dinning room table and into my very own space. While everything was neat and tidy I couldn't create a thing.

Karen Cole

Like Mary Poppins....perfect in every way.


yes yes yes - ok maybe... MAYBE - a 3 inch space and there are three studios - plus the rest of the house...
no it is truly...
and I like it -
most of the time

xox - eb.


Love your photos, your dog, studio and this post. I'm so glad that there are people like me (and worse) that collect art/junk. :-)

thank you.


i loved seeing your little workspace, so like mine with rocks, shells, feathers, and twigs, and other 'treasures' that only i know why they are there! i too, have things i have gathered and put 'in a safe place' kids now ask me when i am looking for things, "now mom, you didn't put it in a safe place, did you? you'll NEVER find it now!" ;] thanks for sharing your creative space!

Adrienne Berry

I love the changes to your blog as well, how does everyone get these beautiful banners?

Laurie Blau-Marshall

As nearly everyone has said - your work table looks just like mine! And sometimes I have to clear some space to get that 5" x 5" opening! (What makes it really difficult is that I don't actually have a studio, my work table is the dining room table - we haven't had a sit-down meal since Christmas!)

You have a beautiful blog and I thank you for sharing it and yourself with us.


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