In my mind at least, I have been putting almost everything else first before time to make art. Of course, my sons might have a different perspective on this. When they were little, laundry, cleaning, cooking, gardening, holiday preparations, and church filled my days, while handcrafts were done in the evening while they watched TV. Loom weaving filled any spaces between the other tasks.
The exception was in the summer of 1980, when the boys were old enough to get up, get dressed, and fix their own breakfast. I could hear them in the kitchen below. My looms were on the second floor of our home in Livermore, and the only time it was cool enough to weave was early morning, so as soon as Ray left for work, I went upstairs to weave tapestries. This arrangement worked so well it persisted until 1984, when I became a student at the community college, at which point everything else plus college came before making art.
College led to working, which also came before art making. When I bought a home in Stockton twenty-one years ago, I was no longer married. I cooked and cleaned less, but taking care of my large yard started filling my hours, increasing each year as I planted interesting new trees and flowers. Now the challenge in the garden is mostly physical—can I still manage it.
Originally my looms were in the house and the art studio was in the small apartment behind the detached garage. I rarely worked out there – it was either too hot, too cold, or I didn’t want to be there at night. And I was working full time, plus commuting to Livermore.
In 2009, I moved the art supplies and tables into the house so my son, Chris, could remodel the apartment for my mother and later my friend Robert, who lives there now. If you have read my memoir, “Looking for Connection,” you know all this, but if you want all the juicy details you can get them here.
So, my studio has been in the large room between the kitchen and the hallway to the bedrooms for the last nine years, and I walk through it countless times each day. I’m sorry to say, all the other things still come first. I have failed to establish a dedicated studio time. I can understand why artists set up a studio away from their home, so they are not distracted by the visual “To Do” list.
I have made some art in my space in the house,
but it has usually been because I was taking a course online, had assignments from a local class, or was finishing a project from a workshop I attended. For example, on Saturday, to avoid an unfinished project, I completed these earrings that I started in Visalia two weeks ago.
I am still trying to establish a consistent studio practice because it is the only way I will use the luscious materials I have accumulated. More importantly, it is the only way I will access the creative energy and burning interest that I need to sustain and guide me through my remaining years.