Friday, February 11, 2011

Spiraling Deeper

Finally, after over a month of waiting, the studio 
heater was delivered to my front doorstep on Wednesday.
 I arrived home from school, hoping and hoping that it had. 
Yesterday, I spent my first full day in the studio since December!
But it was far from warm. The nights have been frigid, so the studio 
was below freezing when I started work installing the heater, 
putting plastic on windows, weatherstripping the door 
and caulking cracks. I was cold, but inspired. I could 
feel the heat coming on and watched as, 
degree by degree,
the temperature rose. 

After a session with a student this morning,
the wonderful Kim, I stuffed the stove 
with wood and headed out to the studio. 
Sometimes leaving this scene - warm fire, 
snoozing Pasha cat - is challenging, but 
today the call to work was greater than 
the call of fur and fire.  

I packed my basket with water, music, and tea. 

I was greeted with a warm-ish studio. I figured
it needed a long time to heat up the whole space, 
and considering the overnight temperature was -6, the 
45 degrees at 11:30 am seemed reasonable!
A bit of the morning was spent cleaning, 
clearing and organizing.

In a corner of the studio, the new heater 
sits tucked underneath the old, retired one. 

Tables were organized and dusted, a slow
and deliberate re-entering of my creative 
process. After being away from work for 
so long, I needed time for re-rooting 
and re-membering.

I remember a wonderful class called, Finding Form & Inspiration
 I took in graduate school with a special professor and mentor,
Chris Bertoni. She spoke about cleaning and organizing
as way of easing back into work and that the simple act 
of entering the studio, even just to move things around, 
was a part of the working process. If you were really 
stuck, she advised just showing up to the studio daily, 
even for only a few minutes, until something 
happened. I know how wise this advice is, 
it has worked for me many times. 

For resistance is real. No matter that I was 
bursting at the seams with visual stories, 
connections, inspirations, images and 
ideas about materials to explore, I hit 
a moment of resistance at the moment I 
sat down to begin. But I do have 
strategies now, after so many 
years of cyclical creating. 

"Root Person", clay & mixed-media, with bones on shelf.

I sat at my work table, and looked at 
the things that inspire me. 

I began by writing in my journal. And looking 
back at some quick sketches of ravens on a branch 
as I imagined them in the early morning as I lay in bed 
and heard them calling off in the forest. 

Above me on a shelf, more inspiration 
from my grandfather. A striking red 
coral encased in lucite, an octopus 
and a snake. Branching systems and 
spirals... hmmm, familiar. 

So it seemed that to begin with spirals 
was the thing. I begin where I had 
ended, to find a continuum, 
and take off from there. 

I feel I know these spirals better now.
Much musing about them, and seeing them
in the details of nature through my camera 
lens, has deepened my knowing of them. 

And here we find ourselves tonight,
Pasha cat and I, much like we were this morning. 
Sitting by a warm fire, a bit more wood in the bin, 
and a few more spirals drying in the studio.
Some days are really quite perfect,
here in the snowy white 
RavenWood Forest. 


A mermaid in the attic said...

Sigh...just, sigh! That looks beautiful and inviting, and there's something magical about the ink spirals, I love looking at them, like a beautiful, simple, nature inspired mandala...calming and serene. I love seeing them all lined up together, similar but each different and unique. And thank you so much too Valerianna, for the encouraging comment on my latest blog post about my recording was fun to have a go at it!

ArtPropelled said...

Very cosy! I'm always intrigued by your rock collection and your spirals. Nature inspired mandalas ..... perfect!

Heidi said...

Something keeps pointing me to your blog. I've been here before, by some forgotten trail, and I see you again here and there at different sites that I visit.
How nice to have a creative space surrounded by the woods! I miss the seasons and the woods but I'm not sure how I'd fare in the cold again.
I'll be back again to visit now that I know where to find you, and give you a spot on my blogroll so that others may visit as well.
Til then I send you some Southwestern sunshine to warm your space!

Judy Martin said...

Love your spiral imagery and also the algae branches from the last post.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next with these forms from nature.
So glad that you are able to work in your studio again.

stregata said...

Sounds like an absolutely perfect day.
Your studio is wonderful, full of so many inspiring pieces - so serene. Glad you have your heater and can work again.

layers said...

What a wonderful studio- though it sounds a bit cold I am sure your heater will warm it up nicely- love all your nature stuff- and your spirals always intrigue me.

Donna~Q~ said...

Perfect day indeed, and what a lovely space to create in! Isn't it wonderful that something as simple as a spiral can be so endlessly evocative? *insert contented sigh here* Also, I am utterly smitten with your "Root Person" ~ so lovely!

Jenny said...

The spirals are very evocative to me...thumbprints, tree rings, water ripples. A spiral path, a spiral dance.

Thank you for sharing!

Valerianna said...

mermaid- definitely something magical with spirals, in general I've always been captivated. Now that I am making them, I'm obsessed!

ArtPropelled - And it really IS getting cozy in the studio... it was up to almost 60 degrees last night when I went in to get something. Today it will be warm for sure!

Heidi - thanks for stopping by. I do really love the seasons, and I guess am one of the lucky ones who loves winter. There is a LOT of complaining going on right now as we;ve had an unusually cold and snowy one. Thanks for the Southwestern sunshine, it hasn't made it here yet, overcast today!

Judy - I, too am curious where the inspiration will lead me... I have lots of inklings running around in the imaginal cauldron, we;ll see which one manifests.

stregata - Oh it is SOOO good to be in there again. Though the screen hides a pile of stored things that need shelving and is really bugging me when I go into the studio. I WILL get to that soon, I hope. At least I can work and not see it too much, tucked behind the screen. I need ORDER to work....

Layers - luckily by the time I finished work yesterday, the studio was already in the mid-fifties. Today it is suppose to be much warmer outside as well, so I think I'll be nice and warm in there!

Donna~Q~ "endlessly evocative", good words for my absolute obsession! "Root Person" is one sculpture I like having around... their success depends on finding the "perfect" stick to start with.

Jenny - I love hearing what people see in the spirals. There are a few posts back a ways which explore the connections if you're interested - September 2010, "The Whole World in Tree Rings"...

steven said...

valerianna - there's a spiral into creating the space and making itself and yourself available to the flow. thanks for sharing this here. it's a real gift! steven

Lynn said...

Beautiful, cozy, inspiring, musing, lovely!

Suz said...

love your spirals
and your studio space
and of course your companion
that precious cat

Sharmon Davidson said...

What a beautiful and inspiring space your studio is! I just love peeking into other artists studios; they are indeed sacred spaces. I'm totally in love with those spirals, they look so much like tree rings to me. And the raven drawing- I've been drawing ravens myself lately...

Unknown said...

V, So much I can relate to in this post! How wonderful to return to your own studio - and I have found the same truth in your professor's wisdom regarding cleaning/organizing and SHOWING UP as part of the natural creative order of things. Greet Pasha from William Wallace and I. love, sus

Velma Bolyard said...

i checked in and my comment disappeared...anyway, no matter, i was going to say welcome home. i bet the studio feels new. and comfortingly home, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is a truely beautiful post, filled with nature, words, art and warmth... it radiates out from your studio. There is beauty in every corner here, and the mysteries of nature... roxanne

Windsongs and Wordhoards said...

Just seeing and hearing how you re-enter your creative space helps, it really does help...
I love your studio, and its an interesting thought to mull over that how having a separate, dedicated studio means you are physically entering that creative mode. That thought may well help me out a lot if I can make such a space of my own...
Enjoy your painting time, hopefully it will warm up nicely!

Valerianna said...

Steven - thanks... I recognized the spiralaic nature of my process, starting where I had left off, sort of, but in a different point around the turn, interesting that you noticed this and appreciated it!

Lynn - good words, all! Glad to be of some inspiration.

Suz - thanks for your appreciation, and Pasha cat thanks you, too, from his dreaming place, tucked into the sheepskin rug by the fire. Gotta get on that, however, there's no fire at present...

Sharmon - yes, studios are such sacred spaces. I put on a great Jai Uttal CD just before packing up the other day, and found myself dancing around the studio in a sacred groove, a perfect way to end the day of creative musings...

susuan - I'm inspired to track down my professor and check-in with her, we seem to have lost touch. I want her to know just how much her words have traveled with me and been shared with others. She is a very wise woman. Pasha didn't stir too much when I sent him greetings from WWallace... I'll try again later when he's not so conked out!

Velma - thanks! And yes, all of that. I'd like to finish the clearing and organizing in there to feel completely at home, but this involves building shelves and buying more wood than I have funds for at present. But the good news is that its WARM in there now... yipee!

roxanne - I'm glad the warmth is radiating out... and glad that much of it is staying in as well now!

Swan Artworks - I soooo love having a separate space for my work. Other than I really need one cause I tend to need to spread out and be messy, I love the 'entering", it is truly a sacred space for me. In winter, I've not been warm in there until this year, so it was always very frustrating. Now, I am relishing the ability to be in there while it snows and blows outside and feel warm and so held in a cauldron of inspiration. I highly recommend a studio of your own!

Tammie Lee said...

so lovely to have a warm glimpse into your world. both places look inviting and I so enjoy seeing where people work, you create art. Looking at the second to last photo of the spiral with out it's edges, I thought: that would make a great book cover. Just a thought.

Valerianna said...

Tammie Lee - yes, and I know JUST the one... "A Wrinkle in Time" if they do a new release of that, maybe they'll contact me!

Acornmoon said...

It is always so interesting to see into other peoples work spaces. Yours looks so cosy and inviting.

I thought your spiral picture was an actual piece of wood, you have captured a very natural effect.

Anthropomorphica said...

So glad I stumbled upon your blog, I couldn't resist the title ;) Your workspace is bursting with enchantments, what a magical space to work in!
The spirals draw us ever inwards don't they.

Valerianna said...

acornmoon - I'm always fascinated by people's work spaces and houses, for that matter, well, creative people's houses. Interesting you thought my spiral was a piece of wood, didn't plan that!

Anthropomorphica - Welcome to RavenWood, and glad you stumbled upon us. Spiral magic is truly something - a satisfying meditation.

cindy shake said...

Great studio space and what a wonderful collection of TREASURES you have! :o) Glad to have found your corner of the world -found it through Flying Dog Studio.

WOL said...

Your sorting through the things in your studio was quite understandable. You had to "find your place" -- like where you had read up to in a book -- and pick up the "narrative" again at the place you left off.

Google for "Adam Buick Pottery" -- I think you could relate to what you find there.

Have you thought of adopting a rescue as a companion for Pasha?

Valerianna said...

Cindy - thanks for stopping by. I must admit, I sometimes overwhelm myself with my treasures. I remember when I moved up here, I sent the moving men around to get a few boxes of stones. They looked at me quite unbelieving, but I assured them that the milk crates stuffed full of stones were, indeed coming with!

WOL - Seems that way. And, I follow Jackie's blog, so know Adam's moon jars and love them! Wonder what made you think I would?

Also, yes, I have considered adopting another cat.. Pasha was a rescue cat, as were most of my recent kitties. I decided against it because he is an old kitty now and I don;t want to rock the boat. We're in a nice flow, he and I, and I don't want that to change. It might be wonderful to have another, but it also could be a lot for my old friend. Its hard to know.

mirsini's creations said...

Hi Valerianna :) !
What a wonderful space you have there! You are a magical creature,oh yes! I love your art work and your style! I hope someday i'll live in the nature and collect beautiful treasures like you do! I'm glad i found your blog!
Kisses to you and enjoy your work space!

Lauren Raine said...

Wonderful post, wonderful spirals. They truly feel like the energy, to me, incipient in the earth, just waiting to come forth with spring (which I remember as a powerful mystery when I lived in Vermont).....and coming forth as you enter your studio as well. As above, so below.


earthangelsarts said...

Beautiful blog pages. A real treasure! Great thanks for sharing your thoughts, magic and art.
Your cat seems like an all knowing cat too! X

Anonymous said...

what a great studio and love your spirals, I just cleared my studio for the first time in nearly 3 years last weekend & gosh it feels airy, thank you for all your sharing (am here this morning via Terri Windling's drawing board)