Get out of my studio, NOW!

It’s early on a gorgeous fall Sunday, and I just had a coffee in my new kitchen — otherwise known as the remodel from hell. What a black hole on your time that sort of job can be! It seems so simple when you start — just save for years, plan well, tear the old one out, and put the new one in. Wrongo.

You see, I live in an old house, and things always take 42 times longer than you expect because of that. In my idealistic, perfect-plan, pre-demolition dreams, the studio would be the temporary receiving department for maybe two weeks, and after everything was done, life would go back to normal. Yeah, right.

I expected the dirt, trash, homeless dishes, pots and pans all over the house and the cooking on a hot plate. Short-term stuff, right? But, in reality, my two week blitz-it timeframe turned into a five-month job. There has been a huge pile of cabinetry, materials, and a new refrigerator blocking my soldering station and bench for the better part of the summer. Worst of all, I didn’t mentally prepare for the seemingly endless parade of strangers traipsing through my private space to measure, deliver, reschedule, hammer, drill, reschedule, plaster, wire, reschedule, plumb and build and reschedule.

I am a private person, and this part of the remodel experience was total torture. I couldn’t escape at all — there was not one normal place in the entire house where I could quietly sit and comfortably focus, think, or create anything — and it made me a terrible person to live with. Crab. Be.

Now, the house is quiet again and the only uprooted thing left standing in my creative space is the old refrigerator, waiting to be picked up Thursday by my state’s green recycle program. Life is peaceful again, it’s somewhat clean, and things are basically organized and back to normal. And, good grief I really. Really. Urgently. Need to make some work. NOW.

However, I am still unsettled and distracted. I really LOVE my new kitchen, but I can’t seem to be able to work. It’s odd, because mentally, I just can’t get back to a place where I want to work. Maybe it’s fatigue, stress, sleep deprivation or some kind of crazy, kitchen-induced-the-book-is-finally-done-and-your-life-is-yours-again, post-partum-like depression or something. And worrying over it only makes it worse.

Whatever it is, I want it gone so I can get to work, and boy, am I tired of waiting for it to go away. You’d think the homemade bread baking in the oven, pumpkin soup on the stove, and really, really good coffee would get me started. But, I am still not ready to sit at my bench, and the new kitchen clock ticks. It’s my audible reminder of passing time that brings me closer and closer to my deadline…


About Helen Driggs

Metalsmith, Teaching Artist, Writer, Maker of things. Former Senior Editor of Lapidary Jewelry Artist Magazine View all posts by Helen Driggs

5 responses to “Get out of my studio, NOW!

  • Kim J Ingersoll

    Wow, I’ve been there & bought the T-shirt! (In my case it was the house building project from hell.) Most folks get mental blocks to creativity, but yours was actually physical too. You said a mouthful: “Get out of my studio Now!”. You have had your personal & creative space violated, so now you have to reclaim it. The junk is almost gone from your studio on the physical plane, next is getting the junk gone on the mental plane. Here is a simple ritual enactment you can do:

    Get a natural rock that fits in your hand & a pitcher of water and take them into your studio. Stand, holding the rock in both hands, close your eyes and breathe for a bit. Visualize all the stress, strangers, bad memories & other crap that’s in your way flowing into the rock. Feel it all flow down from your heart, arms, and your hands.Try to actually see detailed images & colors in your mind, and let them go. Let the rock soak it all up like a sponge. Breathe and take your time.

    When you feel done, let your shoulders relax. Take the rock & the pitcher of water into the bathroom. Hold the rock over the toilet & pour the water over it into the bowl. (A good place for crap, yes?) Imagine the clean water washing it all away, and then flush. Wash your hands. Now you can take the used rock and bury it, or if you can, throw it as far as you can into a safe place like a river or woods. Say in a loud voice, “It is Done!” Repeat as often as you need to.

    Nature abhors a vacuum, so now you can fill your studio space with things that makes you smile. Perhaps your favorite music, flowers, or light a candle. See your space clean, glowing and welcoming. Ritual enactments work on a subtle level, so don’t force yourself. Over time you will be back to happily making what you love.

    Also, here is a link to a recent thread on Ganoksin called ‘Inspiration deficit studio disorder’. Some good thoughts there:

    Wishing you well!!

  • Helen Driggs

    Wow, thanks for the suggestions — and I’m up for anything to break the bonds of this rut. I am sure I can find a suitable rock somewhere in my studio…

  • tdsilver68

    Glad your back on the blog, I enjoy reading about your activity. I can relate to the house thing, as mine was built in 1887, and you can’t change a thing with out problems. Enjoy the peace and new suroundings and soon things will flow again. Good music always helps.

  • idazzle (@idazzle)

    Love this, and love your writing. I can totally relate. Hope you found your groove again…

    • Helen Driggs

      Thanks for commenting, and I am glad I am not in the crazy zone alone! Yes, I have gotten my groove back, and I have tons of news from Tucson and beyond. As soon as I get a block of time, I will be posting, with photos…

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