Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Bed



Yesterday, I realized that my bed is where I
~make love
~make babies
~make art
~console
~conjure
~conjugate
~realize
~retreat
~refresh
~renew
~relax.

My bed is not all that comfortable for sleeping. It is 16 years old and we're due for a new one. Sleeping is really its secondary use as far as I'm concerned. It is where I make art. My studio is in my bedroom (or is my bedroom now in my studio?)

I started working here years ago when I had young children. My "free" time came after dinner when it was time to get the kids ready for bed ~ monitor their bath, keep them on track, stand guard outside their bedrooms when it was lights-out. I had tried other spaces and places in the house, but I got the most work done when I worked where I spent the most time. They have grown, and my art supplies and materials have grown as well. When they finish growing and move out, I will move into one of the empty bedrooms. But in the meantime ~

I like my little space. To the right of the bed, you can see the corner of my sewing table, my glue bottles lined up on the windowsill. What you don't see is the huge pile of fabric that grows ever larger, threatening to take over the entire room.

The bed is fairly empty right now, as I had to stop and take this picture while this whole thought was fresh in my mind. Each day, after we get up, I make the bed. I lay the current projects out in the middle of the bed and see where my attention lands. My back is to the clutter and disarray of my supplies and materials, giving my imagination the space it needs to be creative.

My bed has unofficial "stations". The left side is the thinking side. I keep my journal there to jot down thought, notes, ideas. It's where I stack things that need my attention later, when I actually get in the bed. The right side, near the pillows, is the actual work area. It's near the light and the sewing machine. The middle of the bed is where the unfinished and finished work goes - accomplishments to be proud of and ideas still forming.

I like my little system. I often wonder if I will be able to be as productive when I get a "real" studio. I do know that I will have a queen-size table in the middle of the room. I want to keep the same workflow going. I wonder too, if my work will be as small and intimate once I am out of the bedroom?

So what's the point, you may be asking. I just wanted to share this bedtime story with you, just in case you are having trouble finding a space to do your art. I could wrap it up here with this silly pun: Home is where one arts from, but I'll offer these as well~
My best "studio" is my state of mind at the time of creating. I have done some really good work under the worst circumstances and some pretty awful stuff in a well organized, pristine studio. (Shirley Erskine)
The strategy of keeping the studio close, like an outbuilding five paces from the house, or in the loft next door, or with the studio on one end and the bed on the other – makes art always available. (Sara Genn)
An artist's studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it. (Leonardo da Vinci)

13 comments:

céline navarro said...

hey Lesley!

I have a question : have you ever felt tempted to make art using THE WONDERFUL FABRIC cloth you have on your bed?!!!! :D it is GORGEOUS!

enough of stupid question...hehe...glad i can comment on your blog!

Loretta said...

No matter how much I set up my little art room with wonderful things and a good work space, I always end up back on my bed. Question: how does your husband feel about all your fabric and supplies in the room?

Bernie Berlin said...

Hi Lesley!!!
I had a moment and thought I would take a peek at you blog...
I love your bed, looks so beautiful..
My bed is full of cat and dog hair.. EEEEK!!!
Figures doesn't it:)
(((giggles)))

Lesley Riley said...

Celine - let's just say I have cut into my bedspread, but not intentionally.

Loretta - My husband puts up with it. Like my family, it grew slowly. He stakes out his 4x4' area in front of his dresser & closet. As long as I clean the bed off at night, he's OK with it all!

ornamentea said...

Wonderful to hear about where you do your art. Makes me think of the book _Where Women Create_.

rungirlrun said...

I just stumbled across your blog and love this post. It rings true. I can only get art done if I'm doing it in the space I frequent.

Do you mind me asking, is that a Bible in the photo? (with the pen and little notebook.) Just curious.

Ellen said...

Lesley:
I found your blog by happy accident! I've been inspired by your work since first seeing it, and recently got your book (which I feast upon for hours!). I love it that I you share glimpses into your life and thoughts. Love your work, love your creative space! I look forward to checking back again and again!

Anonymous said...

thank u Lesley , for years u have inspired my art. I realized why i had all this fabric and all those vintage postcards, and words, oh the words that people sent to each other on a 2 cent stamp...that painted pictures for me only now in color,texture and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lesley,

I had to laugh when I read your blog entry about your bed -- it reminded me of the "Bed" song from the old musical "Hair". (Yes, I know I'm dating myself.) So I looked up the lyrics to the song, and here's the link: http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/hair/thwbed.htm

By the way, I think your bed is really pretty, and I remember you telling us in a class that it's your creativity spot. Very fun to read about it!

Hugs,
Lyn in AZ

Anonymous said...

Hi Lesley-it is Lynn from England!!I finally managed to get into the comment area to comment on your postings!!(yes,I do know how to use a computer!!)The stories you tell and the images you create are wonderful-I've been in your bedroom as we have been close friends for years!!I really think you should do all you can to "save" the houses in your neighborhood-when I come home and drive through Sommerset I am saddened by the lovely houses that have been torn down and replaced with houses way too big for the lots-you and Buddy must feel this keenly with being in the Real Estate business!! I love reading what you write as it makes me less homesick..I like being involved in my friend's lives and them in mine!! I will tell you my Blogspot name when I make it up!!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if I put the comment in the right place-I loved your last two postings and hope that you keep writing and will look at my blog when I create it now. Love from Lynn in England!!

it's just me said...

peeking into your home life, because we know each other's verbal life so very well...it's heaven. you are so wonderful, throughout. i love you.x

cfent said...

hey leslie! just found your blog...
i love the bed! i;ve alwyas done my collage work on teh bed...then i decided to get it organized and move it upstairs into my way big enuf studio.
and haven't done any since.
i think it's coming back downstairs.... i thought i was the only one who worked on the bed!
claire