I have a small room at the back of my house which doubles up as a study and craft room. When I moved here, I decided that this would be the room in which I would write and work on various craft projects. I have found over time that I actually prefer to knit in a comfy chair in my living room, or occasionally in my small sunroom at the back of the house, which overlooks the garden. But the sewing machine is in this multipurpose room, and so is my laptop.
At first I found that I didn’t particularly relish going in there. I’d carry my laptop to other parts of the house, and found it difficult to find inspiration to write. I’d tell people that I had ‘writer’s block’, but that I was sure I would overcome it soon, and the words would eventually begin to flow. They didn’t.
Then it dawned on me; who would relish going into a room that had shelves containing bills, bank statements, tax returns, and a huge in-tray piled with filing and action items? If this was going to be my ‘creative’ room, then my ‘work’ room or study would have to be somewhere else. So I moved the files to another room, and put the in-tray out of sight, except when working my way through it.
But that wasn’t enough; I needed to create a space that would entice me into it, and capture me, and inspire to create. In order to do this it needed to be a multi-sensory room, that would enliven my sight, hearing, sense of smell, taste and touch. Over time I have made a few small changes to the room and it has made all the difference. Here is what I did:
I bought the lamp using some Amazon vouchers given to me at Christmas. Before that I had a shabby old thing with a split in the shade. This modern yet timeless angle-poised desk lamp is a vast improvement. The Bose Sound System was my biggest investment beyond my laptop, but it has been worth every penny. I have a Spotify account, and recently spent a delightful few hours putting together a play list of female jazz singers, both old and new. That playlist is the soundtrack to my writing right now with tunes from Ella to Amy Winehouse filling the air with charm and intoxication.
I always keep a fruit bowl on my desk. I’m not on a diet; I love food too much to deprive myself of it, but I do try to eat food that is healthy and makes my body come alive. Fruit definitely does that for me, and is great for snacking on while I sit and ponder the meaning of life.
I have a keen sense of smell and relish walking into a room that has a definite and enticing scent. You see on my windowsill a collection of ‘smellies’ that I have either been given or bought over the years. I have an enormous collection of candles, and love the reeds dipped in oils. The teapot is actually a thermostatically controlled burner I once bought at a candle party. It’s incredibly safe because it cuts out before anything gets too hot.
Finally, there is cotton fabric for touch. The feel of a fabric is just as important to me as they way it looks. I have to be quite careful with certain wools, for example, because they can cause me skin irritations. But I have yet to find someone that is allergic to cotton (I’m sure you are out there somewhere!!!). I find it inspiring to create peg boards of particular projects I am planning, and literally pin samples and ideas on there in the same way as you would with Pinterest in the virtual world. Seeing these ideas take shape in front of me gets me excited and motivated and can sometimes spark more ideas. My advice to all crafters out there is this: Don’t hide your calicos in the closet!
What does your creative space look like? What is important to you about the area in which to craft, write and create? What little changes could you make to transform this area into a place you look forward to going into?