This weeks blog post was written by mosaic artist June Martin of Moth and Twig.
Dilemma. I have multiple shows on the horizon which I need to be prepared for, but….THERE.IS.A.SPIDER.IN.MY.STUDIO! It would be more accurate to say that the mother of all spiders (let’s call her MOAS) is occupying the space that I get to Zen out in and create art. Another way to put it is that a grotesque, eight-legged creature (no creature should have that many legs, except for the octopus because, well, they’re cute despite having that many appendages) is keeping me from doing something that I love.
I need to make art but I’m being held hostage. My partner, Andrew, is at work and won’t be home for hours. He usually takes care of spiders in our home. That’s his job, besides his job as a postman that is. I’m in charge of bats and snakes. It’s a nice arrangement. He’s not a fan of bats and snakes. I, on the other hand, am fond of them. Neither have eight legs or hundreds of eyes. I don’t actually know how many eyes the average spider has, but I know it’s lots. What the hell!? Why do you need that many eyes….or eight legs for that matter?! Sorry, I digress.
As I said, Andrew is a postman so it’s not as though he can come home and take care of MOAS. Although, I think that is reasonable but I bet the US Postal Service would disagree. By now, you may be thinking, you’re a grown woman; take care of MOAS yourself. That’s logical. But my fear of MOAS, and her most likely 5000 hideous offspring, is not logical. It’s a phobia, which by definition is an irrational fear. Although, I might interject that some spiders can kill you, so is it really an irrational fear? Food for thought. Sorry, I digress.
As I said, multiple shows on the horizon, MOAS holding my studio hostage, and Andrew dutifully at work. I knew this would happen one day. Since moving to Oregon from San Francisco (apologies) a year ago, it has not escaped my attention that spiders love Portland, and seemingly, my home. I’ve learned to check my shoes before sticking my feet in them, as well as checking the tub before having a shower. Thank god my eyesight sucks and I often don’t wear my glasses because who knows how many spiders are really lurking about? BTW, having fuzzy vision has also come in handy when I walk past a mirror. It’s like having my own personal Photoshop.
Without glasses: “Damn, I don’t look so bad.”
Glasses: “Ack! Who is that?”
Sorry, I digress.
I work too many hours at my job in mental health (I know, that makes this phobia thing even more ridiculous) to let MOAS hold me hostage. I could call my son, but he lives across town and doesn’t have a car. Besides, what kind of example would I be setting? Pfffttt, who am I kidding? I confess to making him take care of the spider situation in his teen years. That makes me a bad mom. That’s a blog for another day. Mind you, in SF we didn’t have many spiders, and certainly not like MOAS.
Is MOAS a freak of nature? Did she breed? I bet she ate her mate afterwards. She looks the type. I could enlist the help of the vacuum cleaner but I doubt she’d fit. Perhaps I should embrace MOAS by creating a mosaic of her. Maybe that would cure me. Doubtful. I guess I’ll just go for a walk. MOAS:1, June: 0
This week's blog post was written by mosaic artist June Martin of Moth and Twig.
“Without the studio, however humble, the room where the imagination can enter cannot exist.” -Anna Hansen
Whether it’s a beautiful space in the corner of your garden, a sprawling live/work space in a bustling city, or a humble corner in your flat, the art studio is a sacred space. A space to dream, create, and to explore; a space where time stands still yet flies by, simultaneously.
I moved from San Francisco to Portland about a year ago (I apologize for being another California-Portland transplant). In San Francisco, space was at a premium, even more so than in Portland. My fiancé and I shared a 650 square foot rent controlled one-plus bedroom apartment in the heart of the vibrant Castro District. My “studio” consisted of a farm table planted in the corner of the tiny living room. Luckily, my fiancé didn’t seem to mind that I took over the living room, especially since the apartment was solely his for about 15 years before my cat and I invaded the space. Though not an ideal space, I made it work, often times spilling out into the kitchen, especially when grouting mosaic pieces was called for.
Before moving in with my fiancé, I lived across the bay in the town of Emeryville where I occupied a 1200 square foot live/work space. Without defined spaces, I was able to set up or transform my art space to suit the needs of the day. Those needs toggled between working on small mosaic projects to hosting large art parties.
I confess to being somewhat of a nomad. For me, the act of moving has always been a source of pleasure, partly because whenever I move, I get to create a new space, not only to live in, but to create in as well. I am highly influenced by my immediate surroundings so each space I have occupied holds a special place in my heart and has been interesting, often unusual, and inspirational. My art space is as much a part of my art as other environments that also influence my art. It is the space where I feel happy, complete, and safe.
As I mentioned previously, my fiancé and I moved from our small apartment in San Francisco, to a cottage in the John’s Landing neighborhood of Portland. I purchased the cottage 13 years ago with the intention of moving to Portland. Life happened and it took 13 years to finally make the move. The cottage is a 100 year-old Cape Cod-turned-loft, tucked away at the end of a forested cul-de-sac. Though compact, the house serves our needs. I am no longer relegated to a corner of the living room to create art. I have a separate art studio complete with chartreuse and red walls that send a spark through me every time I enter the space. Though not a sprawling loft or a cool space in SF, my Portland studio is unique and it is my sanctuary. A place to dream, explore, and create. A safe space. A sacred space. The art studio.
This week, peek into the spaces where members of Artistic Portland create. They are as varied and unique as the type of art you see as you walk around our shop.
"Lots of room to spread out and create. Repurposed old hollow core doors. Room for everything. To create masterpieces" -- Beth Adams of OliveMeArtsie
"Last year my studio/living space was a horse farm in Wilsonville. This year it is anywhere I can put up my six foot table. In the 2nd photo it is my cousin's dining room in Seattle where I commute once a week. Otherwise for making my soaps, covered hangers, cat balls and decorated eggs I use any table available." -Ammi Brooks
"View from my studio - love my place in the trees." -Joanne Morrisey
"I use the knitting basket for knitting projects such as scarves, hats, socks to take along where ever I go or am. The knitted cards I always make in my knitting/sewing room since I have to drag out lots of yarns to find right colors. " -Helene Hughart of HH Knits
"I think of my studio as the great outdoors. It's much more interesting than the computer where I process the photos, or the worktable where I frame them" -Doug Owen
"I'm anywhere. " -Ben Gilbert
"There are lots of different light sources (including the window) and inspiring art on the walls. I have my drawing table and computer desk right next to each other, which is convenient. A cup of coffee is always close at hand, and my zombie sloth is there so cheer me on and guard my pens" -Laura K Maxwell
"Here is a studio under construction in the upstairs nook. The view overlooks a huge cedar and a heart-shaped 'son of cedar.’" Susan Hunter of Bodie Design Studio
This weeks blog post is written by Co-op member and painter Marjorie Henderson.
Creating an inspiration board is something I create and update every few weeks to help keep inspiration fresh and ideas flowing. I occasionally hear from other artists about how they encounter artist’s block every now and then, and having an inspiration board that speaks to what is floating around in your mind can be helpful. However, this can also have the opposite effect. It can be over stimulating and overwhelming to others.
Being an artist and creating in different environments, I have noticed I respond really well to a clean, organized work area that is brightly lit, with my inspiration board right above my desk. I also enjoy having art and pictures around me that I cannot stop staring at which trigger ideas to no end and bring me a sort of joy. This environment does not work for others. A stark work area devoid of pictures and bright colors, maybe even dimly lit with a desk lamp, is the perfect ambiance needed for other artists. It clears their mind and helps them focus on their creative projects.
Another aspect of the artistic environment is audio stimulation. Do you listen to your favorite rock music from high school while you paint, or do you have to listen to classical music to get you in the groove of drawing? Others crave dead silence. I find it interesting to know how fellow artists work and to see how different we all are in our approach to making art. I personally prefer a mix of upbeat music for painting and more mellow, acoustic compositions while I draw and make jewelry. It’s also amazing how the music can influence your body of work!
What kind of environment helps you create? Share in a comment below.
Stop by Artistic Portland any day of the week 10 am - 6 pm (noon-5 pm on Sundays) to see and purchase Marjorie's work in person