Thursday, January 8, 2009

A room with infinite views

This is where I work. It used to be a kitchen, which is perfect because what I do here feels very much like what I do when I'm cooking-- learning by doing, and making things from what I've learned. It's a small space (7' x 11'). In it is a card table, a straight back chair, a fan for drying paint, and my favorite arm chair facing the window. I sit in my chair and dream and sketch, looking up into a huge old oak. The branches, like my thoughts, are dendritic, infinitely splitting and reaching for the sky.

I feel extremely fortunate to have such a view, but I wouldn't say that my imagination is dependent upon a tree.

To do good work you don't need a big space, a lot of gear, or a view. In general I find I do better work with less-- less money, easily available and fewer materials. Against the absence of stuff, my mind is thrown into relief. I learn more, my explorations go deeper. There is no interruption in the flow of ideas, no stopping to switch between different techniques and media, between facilitating and creating. My thoughts are disparate enough in themselves. Using fewer things allows me to express my ideas fluidly.

What you do need is a place that is yours, a little space, time, and silence-- like Virginia Woolf says, a room of one's own -- a place where you can dream and do, taking the threads of your unconscious and making them into something real.

And ultimately, if you think about it, the most important room you will always have is the one you have in your mind--- a room unbounded by walls, a room with infinite views.

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