For as long as I can remember I’ve voyeuristically peeped into the inner sanctum of creative people. I love seeing the studio and office spaces of artists, artisans, crafters, designers, jewelry makers, and writers. I try to put myself into the space and see how it fits. I consider the feng shui implications. I consider the aesthetics and the functionality. I usually covet the size.
If the space belongs to personal artist friends, That’s easy. I have a look around the studio or workshop and notice how and why they configure their space the way they do. Where possible, I’ve stolen and adapted the best of those ideas for my own use. That’s how I learned to use pipe insulation to protect metal picture frames. Or convert large mirror moving boxes into a safe way to accommodate and transport completed paintings to and from art shows. Or the best way to store supplies and completed works.
I love watching in situ interviews with writers. I take note of how cluttered or not their offices and desktops are. I try to read book titles on the inevitable wall/s of bookcases. I look for organizational tools, mementoes, and talismans. I wish I had space to display my antique Underwood typewriter in my office.
Storyboards, fabric swatches, inspirational quotes, framed art, bolts of fabric, objet d?art, photos, plants, and works in progress all grab me with their beauty and possibility. Storage systems that are just right for the job at hand make me marvel. I love drafting boards, including my own! I notice the size and style of their desks. Though I cannot fathom those desks that are merely tables, especially round ones. Who can live without drawers? I notice light quality. I deplore the desks facing walls but understand how that becomes necessary in small spaces. Apparently, Stephen King began his career writing on a card table in the laundry room and he’s done okay for himself.
I’ve got two old books, From the Desk of (1989) and The Home Office (1997), that show computer monitors the size of boat motors (or even electric typewriters!), ancient double pedestal desks, and office chairs more designer than ergonomic. There was even a photo of a standing desk so their current popularity isn’t exactly new. Some photos show collections run amok: Admiral Wm. Crowe, Jr.’s wall-to-wall collection of headgear or Roger Ebert’s Mickey Mouse collectibles.
Where Women Create and A Room of Her Own show me more options for sanctuaries. Whether the owner is creating sacred space for meditation and yoga or indoor gardening or a reflective reading area, there is inspiration galore. I delight in the visual treat in all these pages.
I encourage all of us to take another look around at our personal office, den, studio?the place where we are living and creating. Odds are, It’s not perfect. It probably could be better. Until it is, can we agree to allow it to be and do that which makes our hearts sing? I’m recommitting to trying, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.