Monday, October 10, 2016

Privacy In the Studio

Evidence - Terry Jarrard-Dimond
hand dyed cotton, dye painted, pieced and appliquéd with layers

What goes on in the mind when we are using our creative talents?  It's a complex question which I can only begin to answer in regards to the process I go through.  One thing I can confirm is that I work best when I have quiet, space and privacy.  

These components of a perfect situation can be hard to find but I began to learn how to close off the outside world when I was in graduate school.  In undergraduate school I usually dealt with the need to work in the classroom by disappearing into some other classroom which was vacant and then returning to my class and interacting with the professor as needed.  I admit this did result in my missing instructions sometimes or comments made to other students but I hated trying to work in a space where I was elbow to elbow with people who mostly wanted to talk about their boyfriends or what they did over the weekend.

In graduate school we had a slightly better situation as each student had a studio but these were primarily rooms which had been sectioned off with panels.  These dividers did not go to the ceiling and so you could hear all the chatter, laughing and sometimes critiques coming from all around your space.  It was in this environment I began to utilize my skills of disappearing into my head where it was quiet.  I also learned how not to see the parade of people who came to visit other students.  They all passed right by my space.  I had to learn not to make eye contact thus avoiding a conversation I didn't want to have.

This ability to concentrate has served me well over the years as my work spaces have always been in my home.  The demands of daily life can be just as loud and more demanding than anything I ever met in school.  Shopping, cooking, laundry, telephone, tv, visitors, housecleaning, family life etc.  can, as you know, take you right out of your zone and getting back to that special place in your head can be hard.  This skill has also been a good one when I have been a participant in workshops.  I suspect there are people who think me unsocial if a workshop class is all they know of me but when I'm in that situation as a student I want to focus and get as much out of the class as possible.

Most days I am home either with my husband or by myself.  I still find that I have to work not to be bullied into too many "must do this or that's", it's a lifelong struggle.  Learning to focus and honor your studio time is one of the most valuable skills you can develop.


  1. i find i am the same way. sometimes i put my earbuds in and tune everything out... even when i am alone in my home studio.

  2. Thank you Terry. I am new to your blog. This has been a lifelong struggle for me. Privacy and boundaries are skills I always have to work on. I've had many spaces outside my home, and after many years of struggle with those other 'artists' that knock on my door, hearing my movement inside, I finally had the idea to put up a 'do not disturb' sign. Of course this would entail putting it on all my street side windows as well, as passers by would even address me through the open windows. I would look like a crazy fanatic if I did that....again, a skill that needs to be honed for sure.