Thursday, February 9, 2012

Imaginal Soup


"This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be, This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."
Joseph Campbell, in 1985 interview with Bill Moyers



I found this quote one morning as I was preparing an assignment for school. It was 
tucked away in the "Inspirational Tidbit' file that I keep for my Myth & Symbol
class. An enormous YES poured forth from me upon reading it. As I stand on the 
threshold of my new space, I walk through the physical threshold into the studio, 
and know also the symbolic threshold that this moment is for me. The enormity 
of the grant process, and all that entailed, and before that years of mystery and
challenge as I worked to clarify my intent, and then the dreaming of this dream - 
it has all pointed to this moment. So now, as I walk through the door, I find 
I almost collapse from exhaustion.    


But, alas, the urge to have my sacred, creative space and all the things that 
Campbell speaks of cause me to move through the tiredness and make my space. 
Friends have shown up to help paint walls, to build shelves, carry boxes from the 
old studio to the new, and even to rent the studio for an evening to do spiritual 
work. Having income from the studio is one of the most important things for me 
now. One might think that being a university professor means I have a reasonable 
income, but the truth is that I am a 17 year adjunct professor. I have no benefits 
and make about a quarter of the income of the full-time faculty though I teach only 
one class less a year. Partly its my choice, because few full-time positions open up 
locally. I would need to move far away, and this isn;t something I'm willing to do.  



So at the moment I feel a tension between the need to sink into a creative flow, 
and the urgency to gather myself and begin the outreach to bring in students. I will
need to find a way to do both. Early in the morning while sitting with the fire, deep 
soul stories flowed from me into my journal and I saw things more clearly. I was 
dropped into my soul-well by the beautiful work of Barbara Beeckmans and her post,
"Reclaiming". At the end of my journey, which of course we all know is also the 
beginning, I understand that I am working with moth medicine. 


I understand that the studio is a cocoon, and my desire to wrap myself up in silken 
threads and dissolve into imaginal soup is indeed much like Campbell's  "...place 
of creative incubation". (go here for a bit about imaginal cells and metamorphosis)
I have a much greater understanding of why I need a place separate from my house
for creative work, and how very necessary the creative process is for me. Rooting 
deeply into the space will take time. I am not quite ready to "make' in there yet, 
but the process has begun as I arrange pods on shelves and decide which mugs 
will live in the studio. 


I need to get cushion foam cut for the window seat that my dear friend, David, 
made for me, and I wonder if I should attempt to sew a few covers for the old, 
worn out pillows. I must admit to all you amazing cloth and fiber followers 
that I DON"T really sew (at least on a machine) - so this might take me a while! 






The stones and snake have found their places in the new space, pods and skeletal 
leaves and husks create shadow-laces with the light. 




 Books that were tucked away in the old space are visible here. 







 A set of cabinets that came from my parents' kitchen many years 
ago found a new look with branches for handles. 




Pasha is still not sure he wants to come inside, but today 
he had a short visit, but only for a minute,
and only through the back door. 




And soon, very soon, I might know what work needs to hang on the walls. 
For now, the emptiness holds the space of possibility, and I am 
dreaming some new work as I disintegrate inside my cocoon. 


86 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the completion of your place. It radiates peace and possibility.

    xx
    julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie, I HAVE been finding it very peaceful in there.

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  2. I would love to sit in the middle of your floor in a sunny spot with all those wonderful books spread in a big circle and take all the time in the world just to graze.

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    1. You're welcome anytime! I'll make provide tea and scones. (there's a bakery not far that makes a great pear-ginger scone)

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  3. Your space is inviting in every way. Physically, soulfully, creatively,,, this cocoon will birth and transform endlessly.

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    1. Thanks sad d - looking forward to feeling the energy of re-birth!

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  4. The importance of a separate place for creating - a cocoon, that's good - is so true. I relate, also, to the tension between financial necessity and desire to float away deep into my making for my soul's sake.
    How typical of Pasha Cat to be suspicious of the new studio. He will soon be won over completely. -sus

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    1. I can't be other than who I am, but sometimes I really am tempted to see what getting a "good job" might be like. Then, in the same breath as that thought, I KNOW my job is something else.

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  5. Ohhhhhhh .... I have such a sense of coming home as i "walk" into your new studio. I can see myself hunkering down in front of you bookshelves for some serious browsing. The quote is one of my favourites. No surprise it speaks to you, especially now. Wishing you time to cocoon and bring forth new work to feed your soul.

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    1. Thanks, Robyn - I look forward to finding the work that will emerge from here! And the bookshelf seems to be doing its job. I wanted to create a nice reading nook for students to come and explore and feel inspired by nature and the art of nature.

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  6. I am so happy for you! Yes, I hear and feel that you have put a tremendous amount of work into this. And how wonderful it is. I wish you dreams come true.

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    1. Thanks Tammie! I am hoping I can actually sink into dreaming now, and feel what the new dream is!

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  7. So very beautiful and serene... so much possibility, such peace. Your new space is extremely beautiful and I am sure it will inform your new work.

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    1. I'm loving being in there - I could almost move in!

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  8. So, so beautiful, Valerianna.

    I, too, relate to the struggle you mention. (It reached crisis point last year as I tried to create new paintings whilst racing against a dwindling bank-account and looming rent. Found I wasn't always being true to myself or my art, and it got to the point where I couldn't paint at all for a couple of months. That was a horrible place to be stuck in. I'm out of it now, thank goodness.)

    You have created a studio space which has both the warm cocoon feel to it, as well as the feeling of light and space to let the spirit soar. I'm imagining it in the warmer months, with the breath and sounds from the forest singing in. Lovely! Wishing you much creativity and soul-nurturing there.

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    1. Hi Lynn - Glad you got out of that crisis. This project, though mostly funded by the grant, has had all kinds of expenses that I just don't have the money to cover. So it has been amazing and also a challenge. But its big and has amazing potential for me, so I know I just must move forward into the next phase of manifestation. Thanks for the well wishes, I, too look forward to the forest sounds and breezes pouring in!

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  9. It is a beautiful inspiring place, even just seeing pictures online. By sharing it you will gain.
    It is completely understandable that you don't wish to move from there.

    Funny how cats take a long time to adjust to change.

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    1. I do hope Pasha will warm to it! Right now I am often running back and forth to the house to give the old man cat a sit by the fire to warm up, then back to the studio, then back to the house to let him back out! I think I need a cat door....

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  10. It's beautiful, Valerianna, such a wonderful inspiring space. Some dreaming time to settle in and make the space your own sounds like a wonderful idea, and I look forward to seeing what goes up on those walls!

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    1. Hi Christina - I've hung only one painting so far. Just sitting with the energy of the place to see what else is meant to be there.... I have both and urge to fill the space and a huge resistance to that as of yet.

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  11. How I would like to spend some time by those thistles and stones, with time to leaf through some books and sit in the sun.

    This looks as if it is a lovely place and I hope it brings you inspiration and joy.

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    1. Thank you, Bella - It already is gifting me in many ways. And I wanted just such an inviting place for people to come be inspired by nature and art and good books! Glad it feels that way even from afar.

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  12. it's quite beautiful, this space, and as you move into using it will become even finer.

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    1. Thanks, Velma. I'm feeling curious about how it will unfold. I've been craving some fiber in there. And want to re-visit some sculptures I was doing in grad school. Interestingly, they are much like the dye bundles, only they are wrapped bundles as the end result. When I first saw India's bundles, I thought, OH, that old work of mine! But then other magic came from hers... I'm dreaming about fiber, vessels, nests and bundles, and a few misty tree-scapes. We'll see what emerges first.

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  13. it's so delicate and then so laced with tiny strengths . . . . steven

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    1. Love that response, Steven... and "tiny strengths" is beautiful.

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  14. Valerianna! The space is absolutely beautiful. Congratulations on your "home/studio coming". So many good things will happen in that space. I can't wait to experience it in person.

    Days are flowing quickly now, one into another and I've been in work/home mode a lot of the time. I do hope we can make some plans and spend some time together soon.

    Best wishes for all the good things that are coming to you.

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    1. Thanks, Kim, hope to see you soon for tea in the studio!

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  15. This new place of yours is really coming together beautifully. It looks so sunlit and inviting, I am sure that you will make wonderful things there!
    Also, I completely understand your need to have a place to make things away from your living space. I can really see how that will make the transition to the free hour that Campbell talks about so much easier.

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    1. jodi - even though I am "away" in many ways here in my house tucked into the forest, it does feel VERY different to steal away to dreams and ancient stories of stones and spirals and be in that creative womb space of the studio.

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  16. Campbell's view on having a "room of one's own" is quite difference then Ms Woolf's...I think the Campbell version is more completing these days. My sister lives in the Berkshires so I think I can envision some of your view (from your portals) - much joy to you in the new space. I would find it hard to "go home again." cheers

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    1. I'm just a few miles away from Berkshire county, so I am practically your sister's neighbor as things go out here! And I forget how Woolf describes that room... must revisit that!

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  17. That first picture makes me just want to stop everything, still my mind and pull up a chair. I would hold the mug in one hand, caress a branch now and then with the other, and just look out at the crisp clarity, bringing it inside. And that is much the point! Of course, I later realized it was not a desk and not a good place to pull up a chair. I love all that light and wood. What a fun place to call your own.

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    1. Maybe that's why I keep collapsing in my chair out there... seems the space is imbued with "stop everything and still the mind energy", which is good as long as it also has "get work done" energy, too!

      and actually, that counter is the a good place to pull up a chair cause its the spot where the wifi from the house has the best signal. So I have been sitting there to do something on the computer while in the studio.

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  18. your world looks so beautiful Valerianna! and the cottage is inviting, hopefully someday when i travel in USA, i could take a painting glass from you.

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    1. Oh, that would be very fun, indeed! Along with a good amount of walking in the forest and sipping tea... then and only then, the work!

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  19. Your studio is looking wonderful, there's light and space and I'm sure it will be a source of creative inspiration for you eventually. Pasha will love it too once he gets used to it and especially in summer when the warm sunlight streams through the windows.

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    1. Pasha came in the front door today for even a tiny bit longer. So, this is how it will be, bit by bit! The studio is already feeding me creatively, its just that its still "cooking" in the pot and isn't quite ready to be served yet.

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  20. Thank you for showing us the inside of your new studio. I truly hope that you will be able to find time for yourself and your own quiet creativity inside it. Yes, it is great to share yourself with teaching, and to have the friendship etc that goes with teaching, but solitude and silence are true blessings for an artist, and that is what I wish for you.

    best wishes, and best of luck.
    xx

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    1. I do hope to have PLENTY of solitude and silence, I will plan on days and days of it and the classes and private mentoring will work in around that for sure!! I agree, its absolutely necessary, but also right now, the bills...

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  21. Wow Valerianna, just.... wow!!
    What an amazing beautiful space and what a space to find inspiration! It looks soomehow bigger and more alive now with all your special objects and personal touches... how generous of you to share this new place with your students. Let it remain very much your space too...
    The quote at the start is very good... I will store that one away for later!
    Carrie... :)

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    1. This space was always intended to be both my space and a classroom. I just hope I can find the balance of the two so I can bring in the necessary income and still have plenty of solitude for making my own art!!

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  22. What a wonderful space you have to work in and so many goodies to find inspiration from......especially love all the light.....

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    1. I'm curious how different the light will be when the leaves all come back. Hopefully by then I will feel the need for shade from the sun and a less bright studio will be perfect...

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    2. What a beautiful space you are creating, it looks as if it feels wonderful, a place to breathe and dream. I love the branch handles and the magical pods.
      With your post and pictures and the Campbell quote, you have me scurrying off to my clay and paints...

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    3. Oh, that sounds good - scurrying off to clay and paints!

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  23. It is all coming together beautifully! Thank you for sharing the journey with us - it is quite an accomplishment!

    Love the quote. I do not have a special space to create in, but as I pull my art supplies out, I feel time and space disappear as I get into the work. That is my sanctuary - and there is comfort in knowing that I can take it with me wherever I go.

    Hugs,
    Zuzu

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    1. I love that time and space melt away for you when you work... like your own energetic creative cocoon, magical!

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  24. Such a beautiful sacred space! Looking forward to seeing the wonderful things created there!

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    1. Thanks, Donna, I;m almost ready to start... yikes!

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  25. here's a link to a wonderful spiral of nocturnal fluttering, lightly shadowing moth energy by Marguerite Derricourt for you & your new space valiant dreamer, Valerianna!
    http://itscrowtime.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/traveling-light-2011-by-marguerite-derricourt-at-paper-now/
    the artist's talks for Paper Now were all so inspiring, the universal theme was about the ongoingness of the art making process not the outcomes and how we make art to find out about things otherwise why would we bother?
    and for Pasha I love this quote by William Blake from Art Propelled's recent post about the doors in-between-
    http://artpropelled.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/doors-in-between.html
    "In the Universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors"
    always keeping in mind that " ... Hermes is the god of the hinge ... the mottled figure in the half light... who amazes and unmazes..." Lewis Hyde Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth & Art"
    & our catly Letter R to remind you of the importance of your role in Pasha's eyes!
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/86939324/the-letter-r

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    1. I did check out your post, briefly, look forward to going back and spending more time with it... cool looking work. Loved that Blake quote from Robyn, too. and love the info. about Hermes, the god of the "hinge". Happy creating.

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  26. such a once in a life~time
    time.
    so brimming, overflowing energy
    so beauty full

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  27. Thanks, Grace... does feel that way. I finished moving most everything in today. Had a pile of supplies still- mostly flat file paper supplies and some various other stuff. Felt good. Strange how intense this time is....

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  28. What a beautiful light space, Valerianna!
    Your studio looks fantastic. I think you will create plenty of magical art there in the future... It is indeed a special place. I think Pasha will eventually make herself at home!
    As always your photos are lovely and inspiring.
    Best wishes,
    Jo and Zigsa.

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    1. Hi Jo - Waiting for Pasha to come in and be cozy with me there! In the meantime, I finished lugging supplies from the old studio yesterday, so its almost time to make stuff. I've been away so long its a bit scary!!

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  29. I love that quote.. will have to copy it down.. and your images are so beautiful.. may light and creativity fill your studio.

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  30. I think students will love to come to your studio - I know I do! Maybe Pasha doesn't like the smell of the paint... Looking forward to visiting again!

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    1. Hope they do! And, there hasn't been any paint happening in there yet, other than the paint on the walls, which doesn't smell anymore. I think the beep every thirty seconds of the smoke alarm that was telling me the just installed battery was dead wasn't helping. It was too high for me to get with my ladder, so finally got help yesterday. Hope he comes in tomorrow, cats are warry.

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  31. I look forward to seeing the new work that this space inspires. it's just beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Ramona. I have a hard time leaving the studio these days to come back to the house, like a new relationship obsession.!

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  32. I love that quote. It's always difficult reconciling the creative part of us with making an income. But you have to live and there are always bils to pay. I work from home (although not cteatively like you!) and sometimes the edges do get blurred. I hope that your new venture is a great success and that you find much happiness in your 'cocoon'. It looks fabulous!

    Jeanne
    x

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    1. Thank you Jeanne - I'm already finding so much happiness in the studio, its an inspiring place for me. The blurred edges of life and work and art.. yes, that is truly something to contemplate, or just move through.

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  33. What a wonderful space Valerianna. Beautiful! Wishing you many many happy creative hours and I'm sure Pasha will be making it his own too very soon! x

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    1. Thanks Karen - I'm sure Pasha will soon be with me a lot in there. It took him forever to love the new little cat bed I got for him for Christmas even though I smothered it with catnip! So, I can only imagine how long a whole new building will take - and, yes, I did already try the catnip thing.. it worked, briefly!

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  34. hello Valerianna, I followed a link here, curiousity aroused by a mention of ravenwood forest,( how I love woods and firests!) and what a haven to arrive into! Your blog is beautiful. Much that I have seen and read here resonates with me, and your studio space is so tranquil, so perfect that I wish i had more srtistic skill!!

    blessings, Leanne x (I will be back to visit again!)

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    1. Thanks, Leanne. Happy travels in blogland.

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  35. I posted a comment some days ago but it disappeared, it was about renting the place - if I could afford - and living there some months, and bringing Pasha's family too.
    It is love, this place, a lot of material work but certainly even more soul and spirit work of you!

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    1. Its on the previous post - must have dropped down all on its own or some such thing!

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  36. Dear Valerianna, your new creative space looks so beautiful & it already has a perfect "feel" of you in it. Enjoy the process as you grow into your space and the possibilities, I love that feeling, it is a magical process indeed. x x

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    1. Thanks Ruthie! I'm heading out there soon after I pay bills and balance the checkbook... then its a day for sinking in, yipee!

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  37. Valerianna
    Your story reminds me of the birth of each of my children. Wanting to hang onto this beautiful child newly born and not share her/him yet with the outside world just yet, to experience every magic moment with this new being. The exhaustion too! Maybe you could teach on line like Jude of Spiritcloth?
    Regards
    JAcqui

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  38. well Valerianna...
    all these amazing messages just demonstrate how inspired we all are to see the life you've brought into manifestation here.
    I loved hearing this story behind your journey and understand all the more why its a precious place to shave arrived at literally and metaphorically.
    Can imagine how much energy you must give to work and why there is this momentary feeling of exhaustion. Isn't that just so often the case ... when we are poised at the gate to the new we suddenly do feel deeply tired... yet in no time you will find yourself in a new rhythm. This does feel as though I have joined a joyful party for a new beginning here at this post...
    best wishes for all the long moments to come!
    S

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    1. Hi Sophie - thanks for coming to the party! I am thinking about an actual studio warming near Spring Equinox... lots of folks to thank and much gratitude to speak. I hope my new rhythm finds me soon as I'm still pretty pooped! I trust it will, thanks fo rthe well wishes.

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  39. just wonderful... your new studio and your photos, gorgeous, rest up, and dream of new creations... x

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    1. Thanks, Caterina - its the 'rest up" part I'm having trouble with!

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  40. what a gorgeous space... may it hold your dreams and more.

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  41. Hello.

    I found you by way of Mary Ann Dodd's.
    I don't know what your old studio looked like, but this new one is beautiful...so peaceful and serene. What an inspiring place to create.

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    1. Thanks! My old studio was tiny and stuffed and dark and sweet, but because I have no garage, basement or attic, it was all these plus a studio! Crazy! This new space is for making and teaching, something that wasn't possible in the old space - the teaching part.

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  42. I have loved this Campbell quote since I first heard this interview so so long ago...what a delight to find these old friend words of wisdom here with you.

    This post mezmerizes. Your poetic images lift me toward the light filtering through the glass where I dream to nestle and linger... fillegree shadows playing patterns on the clean expansive empty canvas walls...

    there is so much possibility gathered about this space.
    ...guides and guardians will invite in those who will benefit.

    dream the collaborations birthing from your creative sacred space...

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    1. Thanks Donna - love that quote, too, but only just re-discovered it. Glad that this post "mesmerizes". I thought maybe it was too full of the studio and not much else, but maybe I'll look at it again with new eyes, thank you.

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  43. I look through many blogs, sometimes even stop to read once I've looked through the photos. Yet, your blog is the only one I've been inspired to comment in. It's peaceful, enlightening, inviting, lovely. Thank you for sharing.

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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.