Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fire in the Hearth

Spiral & Stone

Outside the snow has turned to rain, towards morning though, the freeze will come 
again. Inside rain rhythms play on the metal roof. Pasha just left his rug by the fire 
to sit with me. He grumbles when he sees the computer on my lap, and walks across 
the keyboard in protest. Giving up he goes back to his rug. I'm feeling a bit guilty, 
but have just settled in to this post so his invitation must wait. 

After much fuss, the gas stove in the new studio is working well and I have been 
painting the walls and getting ready to move in. I thought maybe I might need 
a cargo sled to pull across the frozen driveway, but a warm week has melted 
much of the ice.   

 I chose a white with a hint of yellow giving the room a wonderful, warm glow. 
It was a practice in restraint to chose a subtle color as the saturated yellow-oranges 
were tempting, but I'm delighted I resisted. 

I wish I had two weeks to dream into my new space, but now that school has started, setting up the studio must be wedged in between class prep and the usual winter 
tasks that come with forest living. 

A deep longing for the feel of ink gliding from my dip pen and bleeding onto 
paper pulls at me. I have been away long enough to loosen habitual ways of working, 
and crave the structure of practice in my life. 

Soon the sacred objects will collect on the studio table, and my dialog with 
the new space will take shape. How will this new place inform my work? 
What will be the first thing I work on? 

Looking back at drawings and photos from my old studio, I feel myself entering into 
my process even before my materials have found their place on the new table. 
Tomorrow, I'll begin to transfer my things from the old studio to the new. 

As always here at RavenWood, the land and creatures remind me of my 
wildness, and with the snows I see who has come to visit in the early morning hours. 

More than once today, while bringing wood inside, I paused to feel the cold 
air fill my lungs and listen to the chickadees twitter in the birch trees. 

In the early morning, just as the sun is rising, I light the fire and sit watching 
as it catches. In these moments, I feel a long line of ancestors behind me whose 
mornings started in the same way. My mother recently asked me if I minded heating 
with wood. How can I explain the need for the first moments of fire when the 
kindling snaps and the warmth begins? In winter, when the hearth is full of fire, 
ancient, primal stories rise with the heat of the flames. No, I don't mind, in fact, 
I am grateful. 


  1. stopping by to wish you a lovely day ♥

  2. I really love the rock spiral inspiration......

  3. Your new studio looks so serene - love the light coloured walls... I had a room in that colour once. It always seemed as if the sun lingered there...

  4. Ah--how I miss Massachusetts when I visit your blog--I will return in February if I can. I can't wait for Spring to be in the woods again. All blessings for your new fire warmed space. May you and Pasha bloom within it as the Winter wears on.

  5. What an exciting time for you, moving in. I like the wall color and applaud your restraint - I would have had to put the breaks on too; love those saturated oranges! I look forward to seeing what the new space brings to your work. Happy day, sus

  6. A beautiful and reflective post, I hope the dream time into your studio still happens in daydream snatches if not full nights.

  7. Wishing you well in your beautiful new studio.
    You're right, it does take time for an artist and their workspace to get to know one another.

  8. congratulations, your studio is just amazing and you will make fabulous work. enjoy... and take it all so deliciously slowly so that you savor each moment... x

  9. Calm and fresh.. ready for you to express yourself in its space... so inspiring.. enjoy.. feels like the clean unmarked pages of a new sketchbook.

    Love your thoughts on fires.. I so agree.. My best to you.

  10. It is glorious...your studio, the wall color, your woods, the fires, the rocks,your drawings,dipping into ink, the squirrel,Pasha, your wildness
    ah to be one with the woods
    fire is holy, isn't it.

  11. all that open space!
    and that squirrel has a lovey ring around the eye.

  12. i feel more calm and center just looking at your space and the bounty the future holds for you. i will await the shots of the space filled with work and your happiness.

  13. Wunderschön und sehr gemütlich :-)

  14. Aaaaah, your new studio really is a dream !

  15. the new space awaits. it's beautiful, indeed.

  16. Lovely to see this place that you are filling already with dreams and thoughts...and exciting to think you are creating this energy field from the ground up ... a studio created from such a strong foundation in for special place in the world!

  17. Glad to see Pasha all comfy in front of the fire, and you celebrating in the warmth of it. The studio looks fantastic ~ can't wait to see what you create there!

  18. The colour of your studio goes so well with the wood. A lovely warm space. It's a pity you are back at school but you've got something to look forward to. Very exciting!

  19. illustration poetry - thanks! Lovely day back to you...
    a few days later!

    Raggle Taggle - Thanks, me too, you could say I'm sort of obsessed.

    stregata - Yes, I think its going to be a wonderful color for the studio. I just didn't want the normal bright white studio, needed a hint of warm color. I am loving it.

    Ms - Thanks, I've started to move in, so will be blooming in there soon I trust!

    susan - I had to practice that restraint A LOT! Kept having to say to myself... this is my STUDIO, not my living room! So, that helped, but I still asked for a beautiful mica entry light from my folks for Christmas... couldn't resist. Electrician comes Tuesday to install it!

    Charlotte - over the hump I think, starting to be in there and set up and dream... in spurts, yes, but YIPEE!

    Lynn - Isn't it amazing how that is? It took me a VERY long time to find my work again when I moved up here. I don't think it will take months in the new space as it did before, but some time it will take.

    Caterina - Well, the universe is making me take it slow and savor. I had four days to move in and set up, but sheer ice and pelting ice and rain shrunk that down to about one and a half! Better than nothing, though!

    Gwenn - Yes, like a new sketchbook, but one that has amazing paper in it so its a little daunting to start and "mess up" the pages! Clean walls and all that, hope I can dive in without restraint.

    Suz - thanks for your enthusiasm. Yes, holy fire.

    Lisa - thanks, I think so!

    jude - yip, look at that RING!

    henrietta - It is a very calming space, can't wait to dive into creative work and see how that feels in there.

    Els - yes, dreamy, and READY!

    Silvia-Maria - thanks!

    Velma - 'bout to dive in.

    Sophie - you hit it - It was a dream dream for so long that it sometimes feels amazing that it actually IS>

    Donna ~Q~ Me too! Can;t wait to begin. Probably next weekend....

    ArtPropelled - Definitely something to look forward to. I love that too - the wood and the wall color. Of course the wood will become more honeyed as it ages, but I think that will be a nice contrast.

  20. I love seeing images of your studio coming to life and look forward to one for myself one day. I work sitting on my couch most often. I am so happy for you. the light walls look wonderful. light is nice when winters are long and dark. lovely Sunday to you~

    1. Tammie - I hope this week will be the finishing touches of "set up". Then I can BEGIN. Yikes, it might even be a bit daunting!

  21. Wonderful Light, warm fire, a purring cat :)))

  22. Your new space looks so ready for your relationship to's Sunday now so maybe it already has :~) Love love love your stones ~ I do that too :~) ~ and drawings, and fires and King Pasha, and that little squirrel who looks so unsure of itself. Beautiful Sunday to you ~

    1. Well, I have spent full days in the studio now, but mostly moving in and now I'm to build shelving.... but, yes, I do believe the story has begun.

    2. Also, you're so right about that squirrel, didn't SEE that funny unsure -ness about

  23. i followed the spiral of this piece into the warmth of the fire . . . . a happy place to be near on a cold midwinter day! steven

    1. I'll look for your reflection in the flames.

  24. i love how the work always begins inside and "elsewhere"
    before the hand touches the brush, the pen, the paper,
    the cloth.
    the walls breathe warmth...beautiful color...
    and this is some days past this Post, and a Sunday, so
    i am thinking much of You is inside already?
    how does it

    1. It feels exciting, and a bit unsteady. Like a brand new VERY EXPENSIVE sketchbook. I want to hang artwork, but am afraid to put any holes in the pristine walls! I'll get over it...

  25. The light colors stretches the energy, the light wood marries the light color, the is comfort and invitation to be.

    Tremendous post and wonder home to nourish and rest.

    Thank you, for sharing.

  26. I like that - "the light color stretches the energy"... hadn't thought of it that way.

  27. My ability to leave comments on posts seems to come and go. Thankful that I could this time.

    Love the paint choice - it is a good continuity of floor, wall and ceiling and bet the changing light is fantastic in this space; a great "clean slate" it is for future creativity. How adorable Pasha-kitty is snuggled by the fire:)

    1. Sorry about the commenting thing.. I went back to having the comments below the post so I could have the reply feature. Love it! I think someone once told me they had issues commenting when it was in this form, we'll see.

      The changing light IS great in there. Wonder how it will be in summer when the trees come in, probably a LOT less. At dusk I have a nice, long view to the western skies: a wonderful place to watch the light fade - as long as Pasha is safely tucked away from the dusk predators.
      I'll be posting soon as the studio space is SET UP! Just a few more things to do... a table to build, chairs to buy, etc.

  28. It feels so good to see your good place. I love the arches inviting to look into the ancestral fire. I love the snake.
    Same cat here and I wonder where I can find a sheepskin or three ...

    1. Excited to share how the space looks NOW! Hope you got some cozy sheepskins, I love mine, and so does Pasha.

  29. Oh, so happy for you. I can feel the cabin opening it's arms in welcome.

    1. The studio surely opens its arms in welcome, then it doesn't want to let me go! I want to LIVE in there!!

  30. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous fabulous wonderful new studio...and a fire in the morning. Ahhh. I recall years of living with the my wood stove and beginning the day as you sweet Irish Setter standing beside me, our breath creating clouds as the fire caught.
    Ancestors surround...yes they do.

    I'm so very happy for your renewal very timely.

    1. Good timing, definitely! Speaking of fires, its getting cold in the house, off to light one. Its the full moon night, dusk has turned to night and I think its too cloudy to see the moon :(.

  31. Such mornings must be glorious when you are so close to nature there in the forest. Your studio looks fabulous Valeriana - the last time I was here it was just a sketch in your mind! You are so right about the yellow and the woodburner instantly makes it homely, as all hearths do. Talking of which ... those dancing flames are calling on this bitterly cold evening.


  32. They don't call a wood fire a real fire for nothing.
    It gives more than warmth

  33. If I could afford it I would rent it to live there some months, and bring Pasha's family :D
    This place is love.

  34. That would be an inspiring month of art and drumming and healing - and many fuzzy kitties!

  35. This is such a cool post,I really like your well constructed post.


I love reading your comments and sometimes I'm good at responding right away, sometimes not! Glad you had a wander here, I hope you found the mossy path soft on your feet and heard the call of the Raven.