Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Workplace Dream

Fort Peck, MT - In a previous post I mentioned a bit about my idea for a place of my own and I would like to expand on that a bit.
I have always been fascinated by artist’s studios and writer’s libraries. I am not sure why but it must have something to do with being surrounded by inspiration. I think of western and wildlife artist studios that have detritus of their work and passion scattered throughout. Old hackamores and saddles, ropes and branding irons. A skull of a Cape buffalo and clay models of a flying pipit. Feathers and bones. Tools and trinkets. Markers of places and their inhabitants.

As I noted in my earlier post, I have this vision of moving an old one room school that sits along the highway on my way to Billings to my backyard and converting into my own studio library. I like the idea of old wood and recycling a building that is on it’s way to decay and uselessness; particularly one that had been so useful in its heyday. Noble buildings, those old one room schools. In my space I would like an open area with a large window and good workbench to begin working on sculptures. Something I have wanted to do for a long time. An easel for the paintings currently occupying a corner of my mind sits opposite the workbench. The windows would look upon the backyard and the pond I have already built and would be low enough that I could take photos or make field sketches (even better) of the birds out the window. One end would have a small kitchen: sink, stove top, small fridge, some counter space. Above it would be a small loft. Sort of a guest room or oh-my-god-look-what-time-it-is place to crash. Another section would be bookshelves. Nice bookshelves. Even a few lawyers’ bookshelves with the glass fronts. All filled with my books with many of the shelves pulling double duty and holding animal skulls or bar coasters or gifts from traveling friends. What remained of the wall space would be filled with artwork. Some of it mine, both photos and drawings. Also a rotating selection of framed antique lithographs from old British journals and bird books.
I envision a nice leather chair to sink into to read and research with a nice antique lamp (I am working on getting the wiring of this piece replaced so I have one of the items already!). Oh yeah, and the plants. I would like to have a few orchids (see here) as well as a number of other plants scattered around the place. I guess it a way of bringing the living outdoors in, which I find particularly enjoyable during prairie Januarys.
What brought this on? Laura is expanding her grant writing work and needs a full time office so the office that we shared is becoming hers alone. It really didn’t function well for me anyway. I needed some space where I could be alone to work and since it is her workspace, asker her to leave so I could have some alone time just wasn’t an option for me. I am moving to a corner of the basement between the kids play area and the laundry area but it is dark and there are no walls to keep prying little boys away. But it will have to do for now.
I was also inspired a bit by a contest I saw in the paper a couple of weeks ago. If I win I get a large garden shed to turn into my own place in the backyard and a bit of cash to outfit it. It got me dreaming and I just couldn’t limit myself to thinking of a gardens shed. Especially with that school house sitting there on the side of the road in my mind.

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