Friday, June 4, 2010


I've done it.  Last weekend, I moved into my studio.  I spent a whole evening arranging, organizing and nesting.  A whole room!  To myself!  I was reminded of what it felt like when I moved into my first apartment.  Tiny. Wonderful.  Mine.

 Believe it or not, I put off the move for about a week.  I was hesitant to move out; our living room is warm and cozy -- familiar.  My husband and sleeping children are nearby.  What if I was lonely all the way out there?  Change is scary!

Well, I'll tell you what.  As a child with sisters far older than me, I played by myself a lot .  I grew pretty fond of my own company.  How could I forget the pleasure of a little solitude?   Nope, not lonely.  Not one little bit.

The move has already reaped great rewards and benefits.  I can leave my supplies out, including sharp blades, messy inks, and drying prints.  I can listen to whatever type of music I please without worrying about waking anyone.  I can put things that inspire me up on my walls .  Best of all, I feel like I've delineated a space that is just for working, not for checking email, not for playing with the kids, not for socializing or making meals.

One of the major challenges I've faced as I've begun to run a small business from home is focusing on one thing at a time.  I tend to let all things bleed into each other  -- family time, playtime, work time, and time to dedicate to managing the household.  I don't actually multi-task particularly well, nor do really I want to.  I'm one of those people that literally can't hear my name spoken if I'm trying to write an email or read an article.  My children, unsurprisingly, have very little tolerance for my fractured attention.   While it's important to me that they grow up with an awareness of mama doing work that doesn't revolve around them, it's also important to me that they receive a lot of grade-A attention.  Nobody wins when my focus is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  Having my studio outdoors forces the issue.  The constant "I should be getting work done" feeling is put off, because really, I can't.  I have to wait.  And in the meantime I can sit down and give my full attention to reading a stack of library books or doing a project with the kids.  I'm still working on the email thing....I've experimented with having computer-free mornings or days, and I can only say good things about it.  No mountains will crumble if I don't respond to something this.very.instant.    It's okay to switch off my availability to the world, and switch on my availability to my family.  And then of course there are times when the reverse is also okay.

Even though I've had less time to spend on work, separated as it is from the rest of our lives, I seem to be more productive.   I've been able to turn around my last order of 12 kimono all-in-ones and 5 bibs for My Baby and Me in about a week, which is record time.  Also, I'm liking my designs and output more -- perhaps the physical creative space has translated into better internal creative space as well.   Some nights, when it's especially chilly out and I'm feeling tired, it can be a bit of a mental hurdle to get myself out there.  But I've found that it's just like going for a run -- the hardest part is getting my shoes on and going out the door.  Once I'm out, I'm awake, happy and inspired.  Then it's a matter of convincing myself to come back inside in time to get to bed at a reasonable hour.

At any rate, hooray!  I'm happy to be in, happy with the way the words "my studio" roll of my tongue, and happy with my space inside and out.  The studio is a success.

P.s.  I'll give you a little peek inside over the weekend -- just waiting to put some shelves up.  In the meantime, here's the exterior with slanting winter sun and newly painted red door.


Angela Noelle of Striking Keys said...

Red doors rock. It's amazing how much of a difference a lick of paint on a door makes! Your header image is awesome too!

Okay, I'll just come out and say it; "Great post."

Seedling said...

Thank you so much Angela! I agree -- there's just something about a red door that seems so inviting.

Little Kiwi Chick said...

I love the red door and the cabbage tree in front! It looks very NZ/arty from the outside appearance - you can tell lots of amazing designs and prints will be created inside! How cool to have your own little studio! :o)

えみこ said...

I used to have my own "Space" where I could leave everything out. So, I KNOW what you mean!! I love the outside of the studio. I LOVE the red door, too.

I can understand what is like to multi-task with kids and work. Customers are very understanding most of the time anyways :)

Looking forward to seeing inside of the studio!!!

Seedling said...

Thanks everyone! The studio is tiny (tiny!) but wonderful. And yes, Emiko -- customers are very understanding. :) I think any pressure I put on myself is self-imposed. Family always comes first, but especially if I have an order to complete, it's really important to have the time and space to get a little work done -- then I can attend to everything else with a clear head. Very interesting learning to navigate this work/family balance.

natacha lee said...

Your post is so true! I made the same move six months ago (in a spare bedroom) and it is ten times better. I too feel much more focused on what I am doing at the time (playing, working, cooking), and the space on the walls for pictures, ideas, shelves (haven't got any yet), it's almost a wonder I got anything decent done before. I feel like a teenager again!

Seedling said...

Natacha -- "feeling like a teenager" describes it perfectly. I'd forgotten how important it is to have some private space to hole up in.