Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Space of Your Own

As I've been in the process of moving I've been thinking a lot about home, and setting up the space were we live. As crafters, artists, and folks who work from home I believe these are especially important considerations and that it's key to have a space of your own - a functional and pleasing space designated for and designed to accommodate your specific needs.

It seems like it would be an obvious thing when settling into the place where you live that you would spend some time thinking about how you actually live and create an environment suited specifically for yourself and the people you live with. What are the things you do in your daily life? What restraints do you have? Do you have guests, do you feed them, and do they stay the night? Do you prefer to eat your meals at a table with family, or standing at the kitchen sink gazing out the window? It would seem that the answers to these sorts of questions would determine how we create our homes, although I suspect that too often people don't consider their own lifestyles and instead abide by a set of assumptions like "couch in front of TV, table in kitchen, and clothes in closet".

While knee deep in the physical nature of moving I've focused a lot of my mental attention to just those sorts of questions and considerations. One thing was clear as day - I needed a "craft room". It can go by many names; office, studio, craft room, crap room. And it can take on many arrangements. The point is to have a space, some area of your living environment that is devoted to and fully functional for what you do. While the whole house is reaping the benefits of this meditation, my craft room, I feel has benefited the most.

There are several reasons why you should designate a part of your home specifically for your crafting: The first applies most specifically to the folks, like myself, that work from home - having a space where you do most of your work helps in making that mental transition from taking a break to play with the dogs to getting your work done and that work has value even though you're still in the company of the dogs. Another reason to have an area devoted to your craft is the stuff, the stash. The word "stash" implies a hiding place, a secret stash. And for some of us crafters our space is just exactly that - a place to hide our mess. For me personally I want my stash stashed from the rest of the world but available to me for inspiration. On any given day I fondly a lot of yarn, and glance at lots of books, and it's important to have those books and that yarn handy.

Depending on where you live, and your budget, and how many people you live with, your space can take on any number of arrangements. I'm lucky in that I have an extra bedroom to make my own, and the only thing I have to share this space with is a futon for overnight guests, which we have fairly frequently. My craft room serves and functions in all the ways our lifestyle needs it to. You may have the luxury of an entire studio outside your house. Or you may be limited to a dresser full of yarn and a favorite chair with perfect light. Whatever the limitations and opportunities the point is to make a space that works for you and the way you live.

I've mostly settled into my new home and my craft room. I've got a desk for the computer as I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet blogging and maintaining my ETSY shops. I've got an old kitchen table where I can set up the sewing machine or the swift and ball winder. I've got good light. I've got a dog bed in the corner because the dogs tend to want to be near me, lucky me. I've got the necessary futon for those overnight guests. I've painted the walls a color that soothes me (two colors actually, divided by a chair rail). And most importantly I am filling the space with things that inspire and delight me - my orchids (which are blooming), art I love, books I read, curtains I'll sew (nothing says home like curtains you sew yourself), and of course my stash.

Do yourself a favor spend some time thinking about where you live, and how you live, and apply some creativity to making your space, whatever space you have, a space of your own.

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