Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Room of Ones Own: The Studio


After my last post I have been thinking some more on the whole room of ones own theme.  And talking to friends who are (trying) to work creatively from home too.

Building the studio for Mrs Fox's was, in the wider scheme of things, quite selfish.  My family and I live in a relatively small cottage and I got my own exclusive work space.

Yes, my husband used it on the one day a week he worked from home, but he had to fit around the mess in there.  Yes, it was money from my redundancy that paid for it, but it could have been used for something else.  Yes, we sometimes used it for the little foxes' craft sessions too, after all most of the craft materials were up there.  Yes, the building provided us all with extra storage space, the little foxes a play area under the stairs and added value to our home.  But ultimately it was a selfish decision.

But, without it I do not think I would have got Mrs Fox's off the ground.  Not just because of the physical space, but the importance of the mental space that the studio gave.

Because, by building it, by deciding to prioritise that need for space within our family unit, I also gave Mrs Fox's priority, room to establish and grow.  Now that the work space is going to be more integrated into the family home I wonder what that says about Mrs Fox's?

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Monday, 14 July 2014

Reading List One


A new reading list for the move:-

  1. The Story of Houses And Homes - A Ladybird Achievement Book   From my collection of vintage children's books, one for Ladybird Tuesday I think.
  2. The Hive by Bee Wilson   I am very much looking forward to reading this book.  I started to read it a year or two ago but didn't get very far (I blame the little foxes) so it has gone on my pile of books to read in preparation for our new home as I really would like to keep bees.
  3. 21st Century Smallholder by Paul Waddington   Neil bought me this book for my birthday before we moved from London to Hertfordshire.  I've be lusting after a big veg garden, bees and chickens for some time now.  I have to admit 21st Century Smallholder is more style over substance, but it is a beautifully designed book and it has been on my bedside table for about 6 years, keeping the dream alive.
  4. Charles Dowding's Veg Journal by Charles Dowding   I found this book via some great images on pinterest (I've been looking for garden inspiration) and a competition in the Country Smallholding magazine.  Charles Dowding is a proponent of no dig approach to vegetable gardening.  My attraction to the idea of growing abundant food crops without double digging the plots once or twice a year cannot be stressed enough. 
  5. The Great Indoors - Ben Highmore   Not even started this one yet, but the other Mrs Fox gave me it for my birthday this year, more inspiration.
  6. Cabbages & Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping by Christina Strutt   I bought myself and the other Mrs Fox this book a couple of years ago.  I feel I can only dream of my house looking like the pictures in here.  But a girl can dream right!  I'd like to really try and reduce my use of chemicals in cleaning the house and am hoping the new house will be a new start.
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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Forget Me Not - 1: The Studio



I'm alternatively excited and overawed by the idea of packing up the studio for the move.

Mrs Fox's boxes presently spill into the garage and garden as I try to pack craft materials, party products, vintage books toys and dolls, a pre-loved fabric collection begun in my 20's, stationary, sewing machines, and my favourite/inspiring pictures, talismans and knick knacks.
But how lucky am I that I will still have my own space in this new abode of ours.  There is a room at the front of the house that the present owners (The Finn's) use as a dinning room.  We don't need a dinning room so Mrs Fox's gets the room.  It has a huge bay window and a half derelict yellow tile fire place.  80's-stylie "floral country" wallpaper with *horror* a floral border below the picture rail.  It's been flood damaged so the Finn's have ripped up the laminate floor they put down to reveal a damaged Victorian black & white tile floor.

Oh yes, did I mention the floods?  The reason we can afford our new home is because it flooded in the spring with the torrential downpours that we had.  Apparently caused by a wall collapsing into a open culvert nearby.  The wall was built (illegally) by someone who had decided that a culvert was too ugly for them to view from their garden.  Not the village's favourite resident these days I would guess, as it was not only our house that flooded.

Life for both sexes—and I look at them, shouldering their way along the pavement—is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion that we are, it calls for confidence in oneself.
Virginia Woolf
A Room of Ones Own

The studio is the one part of this house that I will really miss.  It means more to me than the sum total of the parts inside it.  I had it built and paid for it; it housed my creative life; I loved working in there; drinking coffee in there; making things in there.  It was indeed that essential "a room of ones own." The studio is a space that was mine when so much of my life is (mostly willingly) not entirely mine.

All the most important things in my life are coming with me to Ash cottage, all but the studio.  But the room that I will have in our new house is more integrated into the family space.  The studio being at the end of the garden, while great for my head space was not so practical with 2 young children in the house.  I'm looking forward to my new work-room, but I will miss the studio.

 Here is an ode in pictures to my darling studio, the first of many I guess.









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