As found here. Happy Friday.
A favorite from the archives of 2011!
Making space for your creative work is almost as important as making time for your creative work. When you have a work space that feels inviting and inspiring — even if it’s just the corner of a room — turning to your creative work feels like a delightful retreat, rather than just another item on your endless “to-do” list.
In her fabulous book The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp notes: “To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.” When you have a space that calls to you, it’s easier to go there regularly. Regularity, as Tharp points out throughout her book (as the title would suggest), is the heart of creative output.
We all know Virginia Woolf’s famous dictum that “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Woolf was speaking about the feminist need for independence in order to create. Most of us probably feel comparatively liberated, despite the fact that we have children and Woolf did not — but her point is well taken.
Many of us don’t have the luxury of our own room or even the corner of a room to call our own. We take over the dining table when the muse strikes and then have to dismantle the work area when it’s time to eat. If this is the case for you, brainstorm ways to make this process as user-friendly as possible.
It’s also possible that there IS a nook or cranny lurking in your home that you could claim for yourself with a bit of re-thinking. Bring your creative skills to finding a space in your home that helps you return to your creative, authentic self as seamlessly as possible. And if you’re fortunate enough to have your own space, you might spend a bit of time in the coming month editing out anything in this space that doesn’t work for you anymore. Clean it up, organize, bring in a few fresh visuals that speak to you. Make it yours. Then, dig in.
This piece was reprinted from the Creative Times, our periodic newsletter. Click here to subscribe!
Photo courtesy Hiné Mizushima.
Hello there, creative powerhouses! I’m thrilled to reinstate our regular interview series by introducing you to Beck Metzbower, a visual artist based on the US East Coast. You’re going to love Beck’s no-nonsense approach to being a fulltime working artist and reaching her goals. Find out what Beck has in common with Eleanor Roosevelt — and how she once found inspiration in a vending machine. Enjoy!
SM: Please introduce yourself.
BM: Beck Metzbower, contemporary artist.
SM: Tell us about your artwork and other creative endeavors.
BM: I make formal, highly textural work. And it’s abstract — meaning I can hide all sorts of lovely topics and statements within the work. I have a terminal master’s degree in visual art and choreography and, of course, a BFA in fine art. Both degrees were awarded by Wilson College. I exhibit nationally and internationally. I curate one yearly solo exhibit and I am so excited about a fall 2018 exhibit currently in the works.
SM: What goals do you have for your art? How would you define your “life’s work”?
BM: My career goals are very similar to anyone else’s — to expand, to create a strong brand, to accomplish several specific projects, to acquire more assets, to build a stable and working network of other creators and industry-related individuals. In addition to the exhibit scheduled for fall 2018, I’ve authored a book to be released in March of 2018. Those are two of my short-term goals in progress. Read more
Despite our romantic fantasies of the tortured artist producing works of genius, creativity is supported by wholeness and authenticity. Just as the best crops grow in ground that has been appropriately prepared and fertilized, the fundamentals of how you live your life have an enormous impact on who you are as an artist and the degree to which you’re able to produce work you find satisfying.
Several months ago, I posted the piece below to my personal Facebook page. In addition to a warm embrace from my community, I received private messages from women in my distant network who wanted to share their struggles and thank me for my transparency.
I share this post with you today. If one person reading this blog reads the words she needs to hear, the public display will prove worthwhile. This piece also serves as an update for previous readers who wondered about the long silence. With love:
Understanding that Facebook is not the best place for emotional exposition and vulnerability, here goes.
If you’ve been jaded by years of difficult and/or abusive relationships, have faith. After two marriages spanning 25 years, I’d concluded that the harmony and deep affection I wanted in a relationship was simply a fairy tale. When I emerged from my second marriage in January 2015, I decided that I was done for good. If dealing with conflict in a relationship necessitated yelling, violence, and intentionally inflicting pain, I was ready to spend the second half of my life alone—and happily so.
But the universe had other plans. I’ve spent the last 18 months in a relationship with a man who wants, as I do, a relationship based on kindness, unfailing mutual respect, adoration, and delight. We’ve shouldered considerable difficulty and challenges during our time together—but everything that life throws our way brings us closer. We are not a study in the attraction of opposites; we have uncannily similar life views, sensibilities, and curiosities. I did not think it possible to be so fully myself and be so fully embraced for it.
Now we’re engaged. It will be a long while—years, most likely—before we tie the knot and cohabit fulltime. Our first priority is our kids (all seven of them!) and ensuring that our relationship continues to enhance, rather than disrupt. Until we meld households, we’re able to spend 60%-75% of each week together. And we wake up every morning feeling like we’ve won the lottery.
To my female friends, especially: Hold out for the person who adores you—and demonstrates that esteem through behavior, not just words. Hold out for the person who possesses deep integrity. Hold out for the person who is characterologically incapable of saying unkind things to you. Hold out for the person who treats you like the princess, goddess, and warrior that you are. Hold out for the person with whom you experience an intense physical, emotional, and intellectual attraction that only grows over time.
Relationships need not require walking on eggshells. You don’t have to origami yourself into a form so foreign that you no longer recognize yourself. You don’t have to withstand criticism, unkindness, or cruelty. You are not asking for too much. And for the love of god—if you have children and you’re subjecting them to your abusive partner—whether a biological parent or otherwise—just stop. You’re scared to leave, but staying is worse than any unknown. My single biggest regret is keeping my five kids (three from my first marriage and two from the second) in a highly toxic environment for so long. The pain and guilt I carry for failing to protect them is inexpressible. Please, don’t make the same terrible mistake.
Be you, dear friends—follow your truth, and wonderful things will happen. Everything fabulous depends upon you being who you really are.