Friday, February 20, 2009

Functional Not Fancy

I have again, for the zillionth time, rearranged the studio and this time I think I've got it right.
As you enter the first thing you see is the worktable.
I've moved The Rack to the right of the entrance, across from my worktable and next to the fireplace. It's a short wall and that just about fills that space perfectly. Fused fabric rolls hang neatly at the side of The Rack.
To the left of the entrance I have supplies and a second table on bedrisers, making it working height. Adjacent is the armoire where all the rest of the stuff is stored. Fused scraps are sorted by color and ready to use in something new.

I decided to bring the office into the studio and out of my bedroom. The surfaces will also work for sewing, serging and paying bills, ugh.

Then in front of the sliders I have a nice seating area. We'll watch the sunset from here since it faces west. And once the flowers appear I will also have a good vantage point.
So in essence, I have filled the room. Before when I first moved into this space I had some crazy idea that I should only use half of the room and reserve the rest for some overnight guests. We can still do that, with 10 minutes of warning.
But it was more than that.
I am a bit nutty.
No, I mean I am nuts.
Because for so many years I focused on quilting as my career and I have worn a groove in my brain so that whatever I think about making in this studio I slide back into that well worn groove which is all about business. You know how it is when you back out of your driveway and veer into the grass? And after that you continue to back up into that same wrong groove? Well that is what is wrong with my thinking.
If I am retired then what do I need a big studio for?
Don't answer that. That is just the nutso part of my brain asking.
So when I go into this nice studio I ask myself what am I going to make? And why am I making it? It's not like I don't have enough quilts or paintings or whatever...So that's my dilemma.
And yet I know if I am to hold onto any scrap of my sanity I must continue to create.
And stop all this furniture arranging.


  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    I retired so I could create. It's built in - and a happy use of your time. If you don't want to keep it, give it away to a good cause. Have fun!

  2. Anonymous2:28 PM

    You're procrastinating. :) I do the same thing sometimes. I want to get in my sewing room and "create" but I find all kinds of other "important" things to do. Yesterday, for example, I wanted to do a machine embroidery project I've been thinking about but I spend all day cleaning and cooking. Honestly, it could have waited but by the time I sat down at supper time I was pooped so I cleaned up the dishes and got on the computer and browsed until 9PM when CSI came on. I'm still thinking about doing my project but for some reason, I can't seem to get in there and do it. Why? Good question. I have no answer. Maybe you're actually bored with what you've been doing and you're burned out. Maybe you need to find another "hobby".


  3. I agree with Colleen, you're procrastinating. I don't know why this happens to creative people, but it does. I've had that problem for awhile -I'm not retired just tired ...of winter of the same old, same old. So I started knitting/felting this winter.... something old but with a new twist (felting) I love it. Meanwhile I still collect fabric, and "bits", quilting/sewing/embroidery books etc for those projects that are still eluding me. I'm confident that they will happen....just don't know when.....enjoy visiting your blog by the way!

  4. Anonymous4:07 PM

    I saw the quilt you posted a few days ago - the silk one. I was wondering how you stabilize or control that slippery silk when you are working with it? Does the fusible offer enough support to make it somewhat controllable? Also, I don't blame the ladies for fighting for you to be in their group at the quilt guild - I bet they think they have died and gone to heaven to have the fabulous Melody Johnson in their midst! I wish I lived nearby!

  5. I believe once a quilter always a quilter no matter if you are retired or not. No reason to make a new piece except you just have to.

    Your space is large but, as you explained, it is not only a studio. You have designated it office, studio and quiet spot to relax and enjoy sunsets.
    How perfect is that.

  6. You need a big studio 'cause that's where the joy is. And maybe because somewhere in the back of your mind, there's something perking. Your best may be yet to come.

  7. You don't sound nuts to me. (Maybe it takes one to know one...)
    And I'm guessing that at least half of your visitors are fiber friends of some sort and would be more than happy to bed down in that space. I would!!

  8. Sounds like some big change is coming..... [I made quilts for several years non-stop. Suddenly one day, instead of art, it seemed that all I was doing was taking perfectly good pieces of fabric, cutting them up, and sewing them back together again (granted, in a new order). That stopped me in my tracks. It was rather existential. But the thought of it all seemed so funny, I started writing about it instead and I found myself going in a whole new direction.]

  9. I think your quilting may be taking a vacation. I, too, have times when I want to sew/quilt but I can't seem to get going. Part of what helps is that I do a couple of BOMs and swaps that require me to do something while I wait for the "vacation" to pass: it always has. meanwhile I create on paper and the computer, kind of preping for when I begin again.

  10. The bedrisers under the worktable are pure genius. I think that, as of tomorrow, I may have a standing-height worktable, myself. Thanks!

  11. Hey Miss Mel, I watched a segment on the today show this morning about people who live long lives... 100+ years! Anyway, one thing is common, all these people still work, everyday. Their lives have purpose! So I hereby free you from retirement! Now get to work! Hugs, Robin

  12. I don't know about anyone else, but I NEED to create! Just because your business life happened to involve creative pursuits, and now your retired, doesn't mean the creative 'genius' gets to retire! BTW, I loved the Elizabeth Gilbert video... so right on!
    So my suggestion is just give yourself permission to use your studio for whatever happy creative thing you want to do, for as long as you can drag yourself to the worktable! Hopefully, the furniture arranging will get old, and you'll just enjoy...

  13. Creating is who you are a big part, there will always have to be a room for it, maybe a whole house and garden. I know when I walk into your home, I feel it all around.

  14. Melody you're an artist - artist's need to create. An artist doesn't retire, she simply moves into a new creative phase. I think if you accept and embrace who you are, you might be able to relax and enjoy both being an artist and being retired. You could always say semi-retired to give yourself permission to go either way - it's not like you're actually old or anything.


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