Catching up with myself – making spaces

The end of December was focused almost exclusively on completing my RF1 form. Draft, review, edit, redraft….
A useful exercise in trying to articulate my research project plan concisely – but how many ways can you say the same thing? Anyway, it’s done now and handed in – just need to wait for feedback.

I had a plan for today – edit my ACE bid for a project, draft an residency application and sketch out some ideas for possible conference papers.

I didn’t do any of those things today.

Instead I just existed in my new studio space.
I moved in here on Sunday and I’ve spent the last few days setting it up but it feels strange and a little uncomfortable – like it’s not quite mine. I’d been in my old studio space for four years – it was comfortable, private and I was part of a community – I felt settled, established, rooted.
But now I’m in a whole new space – it’s big and open and very cold and people walk through it – everybody seems nice enough but they aren’t familiar and I don’t know anyone’s name. I feel like I’ve invaded, piled in all my things, created clutter and radio noise in a space that seems cold and quiet and a little bleak.
I needed to ground myself, begin to make it familiar.

All of this may seem irrelevant but I believe the spaces you inhabit are an extension of yourself – a studio space in not simply a place to work, it’s the externalisation of your practice – so if the studio space doesn’t feel familiar then I’m a stranger to myself. My practice is slow, detailed and methodical, it’s almost meditative. Disruption and discomfort are NOT part of what I do. The studio space for me must be comfortable and familiar, a space I don’t need to focus on or be distracted by so I can focus on my work.

So today I pottered (where does that word come from?*). I organised my notebooks, put my sketches on the wall, printed out a calendar and some photos of the sketchbook I started over Christmas (which I will write about tomorrow). I ate lunch. I found a coffee shop nearby that sells wonderful carrot cake and as I sat in my armchair with a mug of tea, eating cake, for the first moment I felt relaxed.

* potter
1: Occupy oneself in a desultory but pleasant way.
1.1: [with adverbial of direction] Move or go in a casual, unhurried way.
An act or period of occupying oneself in a desultory but pleasant way.
Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘poke repeatedly’): frequentative of dialect pote ‘to push, kick, or poke’ of unknown origin.

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