I have, for a few years now, enjoyed getting my hands on a magazine called, Where Women Create. It is a beautifully photographed magazine showcasing the studios and crafting rooms of women from all over the United States, possibly in other countries as well. It is wonderful to read about how these artists/crafters got to be where they are and to see the spaces in which they make things. I especially like the favorite quote that each woman shares. I purchased this summer’s edition for my post-surgery recuperation time and have loved taking in all the loveliness.
Yet after reading this magazine, I’m always left with a question. “So where do ‘real’ women create?” By “real”, I’m not in any way saying that the women featured in the magazine are not. I just wonder if there would ever be a magazine to showcase where women who are not/have not yet made it big in the crafting world, create. What about the little nooks, the kitchen tables and counters, the under-the-stair cubby or the basement corner where so many women make a creative nest for themselves? Couldn’t we feature the myriads of ways that women, who juggle multiple children and/or full-time work loads, come up with to create?
Years ago, when my children were wee tiny, we lived in a small, 1920’s Craftsman-style Bungalow. It had a built-in breakfast nook with a butler’s pantry. I stowed two tupperware bins under the benches where the table was. These tupperware bins held all my painting and drawing supplies which I pulled out during my kids’ nap time to daily teach myself to draw and paint.
I have often drawn the space where I create now in our home in Kernersville. The above drawing was made just a couple of days ago. You can see others here, here, and here. It is the sunroom off of the kitchen, open to everyone and everything that might come wandering in. It has our piano, two chairs, a sewing machine, a big teacher’s desk, a tall set of shelves, and a drawing table, all of which I use excepting the piano…this is where my son plays beautiful music. My oldest daughter, when she is home from college, knits and sews here, creating beautiful quilts. As an art space it isn’t ideal. But it works. It works rather well. Except in the summer when they are all home. 😉
I often take my “studio” outside…to knit or draw on the back porch, to paint in our yard or neighborhood, to sketch and paint downtown or some other area here in my town. I once read of a studio artist who sold all his easels and large-scale papers/canvases to make his studio the world at large, happily drawing and painting “out there” with only a portable chair and his on-the-go art supplies.
The woman I enjoyed reading about the most in this summer edition of Where Women Create, is Karen Way:
“Creative spaces come in many different sizes and shapes. It’s not the room that’s important; it’s what comes from within that room that counts. I have sewn and created all of my adult life. Over those years, my sewing rooms have been on the dining room table, tucked in small closets, and down in our dark, unfinished basement. My most recent creative space was actually brought about from tragedy.” (pg. 16)
So, I ask you…where do YOU create? If you feel so inclined, leave a comment describing your nook or table or however it is you manage to make a spot for yourself to make stuff whether it be drawing or knitting, clay work or weaving. If you’ve blogged about it before, leave us a link in your comment so that others can go visit and see your space. If you blog, and haven’t ever featured your creative spot, consider doing so soon and then come back and give us the link.
I, for one, would love to see where REAL women create…real, everyday, work-a-day women who simply want to live life a bit more artfully.
“One doesn’t need a huge space for creativity to flourish…one only needs LOVE!” -jpe
0 thoughts on “Where Real Women Create”
Great article! I create on the floor! It doesn’t matter what room (though my converted breakfast room is my favorite) as long as I’m sitting on the floor. 🙂
I love it Alice!! I can see you now…a paintbrush in one hand making gorgeous refurbished furniture and a pen in the other writing out poems! Awesome.
Where do I create? It’s a sore point and sometimes I have tears over it. Because I have so little space, sometimes I just don’t. Right now I am trying to change that. I just did some painting and drawing with my sketchbook resting on the keyboard of the computer and the water pot juggling for space with the mouse. It’s the only table I have – bad knees so can’t go on floor and no room if I could (tiny flat), which means I can’t sew the things I would like to as no way to stretch quilt out on floor for instance. My sewing stuff is crumpled up in bin bags between the gap between the end of the sofa and the wall and my felt is all crinkled now. My painting and drawing stuff is on the sofa in a bin bag (to protect from cats). Everything is out of sight and inaccessible, so although I have a stash of fabric, I have to hunt it down from various places some which I can’t remember or get to easily. As you can tell from my whinge I am grumpy and miserable about it. I get creative by looking at my materials and going from there, but I can’t do that easily as it depends on remembering what I have, going to find it and dumping it all on my bed and then having to clear it away before I am finished. Most things get done on my lap on the sofa no matter what it is.
I hate magazines which show you as articles the ‘studio’s’ other people have, as if it by far the most important thing – more than what they make in it even. Sometimes they are just about life style with no substance or meaning for their purpose. Calling it a studio is often very artificial too. Frankly I don’t care what it is or how it looks. I am just envious of space and light as I have neither. However, I would be happy to double up with a dining area say. I have found crafting and art is very superficial in these magazines, these rooms are not necessary however lovely they may be. However, I do desperately want a room/ space in a room of my own, as I am going crazy without it. As I don’t have room in the flat for any designated spaces for the most mundane things, (books, kitchen equipment, clean laundry) it’s not something that is liable to change for the better. I have read more than one article about how it is essential to have some space to create in. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t care if it was a dining table (I don’t have one – no room), as that would be a luxury. I am currently in the most cramped place with no storage ever and it is something I have to deal with. I regularly have melt downs. There is no room for storage, no money to buy it and no handy person to fit shelves into little nooks or hang from walls (none exist and the landlord doesn’t allow for it either). Can you tell I feel sorry for myself!? I am. Boo hoo. Poor me.
Oh Jane! I can hear your pain! Ugh. I wish I could fly to your flat and see if the two of us could carve out a spot for you. But truly, it seems you have tried everything you can. You may need to be like the artist I mentioned who sold all his studio art stuff and went out into the world with only a backpack of art supplies. Perhaps a local cafe or park could be your “creative space”. Now the sewing is truly tough. You can’t very well strap a sewing machine to your back and set up on a park picnic bench! I am wishing you fortitude and boldness as you try to uncover a solution, because as you say, you really do need a space, however small, yet functional!! Godspeed to you in this endeavor! Sincerely, Jennifer
I feel bad for Jane. I create on my bed. I always have. As a teenager I sat on my bed to draw while the rest of the family was in the family room watching TV. Now, I sit on my bed to knit, crochet, stitch, or prepare projects for my job as a preschool teacher. I use a wooden tray with legs ( for breakfast in bed ) when I need a hard surface. What does this say about me? I don’t know, maybe it’s my safe spot.
It sounds wonderful! Comfortable and inviting! I do think we can make something work, somewhere. Thanks for commenting Christine!
I create in my head…
A beautiful sketch of your creative space. I started off on the dining room table. Then I had to move as everyone else complained. I then kicked everyone out of the study and took it over. However, it’s too dark to paint in, so I sneak back on to the table. I seem to spread myself everywhere!
I have a small kitchen table in my bedroom to work on. I continually clean it up, mess it back up and settle for working on top of other projects! At least I have a space. Jane sounds like she doesn’t have room to live much less create! That must be so hard. I am very appreciative of my space even though I’ve wished to have some of the studios I’ve seen!