Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I’m thinking a lot about space and environment and rituals these days, perhaps because I’m visiting lots of different classrooms this week. In some, student work is closely confined to a bulletin board, lined up in neat rows. In some, the visual stimuli explode beyond the borders of the bulletins, over the walls and on the ceilings, sometimes trickling down the hallway. It is clear which rooms are designed with the students in mind-the ones where there are different kinds of space-comfortable furniture for silent reading, lamps to change the lighting from cold industrial to warm homelight. Space that is designed to help them become absorbed in whatever kind of learning is appropriate for them. Perhaps I’m thinking a lot about space because I am organizing mine, trying to reduce the feeling of clutter that seems to overwhelm me so easily when I try to release into a project. I think it's critical to set aside a space of one’s own, a place where you can leave the paints out, the glue drying, and the book cracked open on the arm of a chair. Someone commented on the idea of creating transition rituals, even for things like going to bed, and I think that is especially important, and that your space can help with the transition. For me, I want both my home studio and my classroom to signal to those that enter, including myself, the idea that “serious creating happens here.” Tonight PK and I moved a new bookcase into the study, and I unpacked books that smiled at me like old friends. The piles of texts are off the floor, and I feel grounded, like I can easily find the things I need for referencing or inspiration. For me, the space feels more comfortable and supportive. I missed my twelve different translations of Beowulf while they were stored away. Heofonum.

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