/stoo-dee-oh/ noun. -The workroom of an artist….
There are remnants of ideas all over the place. The ideas come always and often. The ideas that get recorded and thus executed are fewer, but the days are full of creative pursuits, and for this I am thankful.
Creating a professional life from my creative life has been wonderful and incredibly difficult at the same time. The creative part predates the professional part, as I’ve been a creative being since I can remember. As a child I was allowed lots of open but safe exploration of nature, structures, machines, literature, imagery, chemistry and physics. Over time, I noticed that the sun followed the same path above day after day, season after season, year after year.
I learned that adding certain things (water, leaves, etc.) to my sandbox would produce predictable results each time. I remember suspending various objects from the clothesline and observing the various results depending on the wind power that day. The play of light through the expansive grape arbor fascinated me, as did the rich pattern and texture of tree bark and leaf veins. I began to rely on these things and developed a sense of both faith and science, as well as an organic aesthetic, through these truths. The explore-and-discover approach serves well throughout life, so I’ve worked to continue that spirit of open but safe exploration as I have built my professional life around my creative pursuits.
I enjoy sharing the studio with visiting friends and clients. When people visit the studio, I often notice the same expressions on their faces. First, on their faces I see, “geez, look at all this stuff.” Then I see “this is her job?” And, then I see, “I wonder that that thing does.” It always makes me smile.
But I recognize as well, that a studio is so much more than a room or a building where an artist makes their work. There is the literal, measurable studio space, but then there is the figurative studio where ideas are explored and perspectives are influenced. Each book on the shelf offers lots of seeds that can germinate into full-grown ideas. Each walk down to the post office or the bank is an opportunity to notice the movement of the tree limbs in the breeze, or the lines in the face of the bank teller.
Having said all of that, the studio proper of a metalsmith is a place of polished steel in all sizes and shapes, sturdy surfaces, thick-legged tables and stumps, measuring devices, strictly controlled flames, a few smelly chemicals, spinning bits and burs, and of course as many bits of precious metals as possible.
Throughout my more than 20 years of growing and learning in my craft, I have transitioned from a private home studio, to a public-but-solo studio, and now to a public-and-collective studio. I now share my workspace with other metalsmiths, and because of the gallery we have in the front of the building, we have a constant parade of visitors – art collectors, clients and art aficionados of all varieties. It is a space that offers me free exploration of techniques and ideas, comraderie with and support from other artists, and a professional venue for working with clients.