Welcome to my blog series "Room to Bloom"! Some amazing women from around the world will be sharing their personal creative spaces with us. No matter if our space is desk in a corner of our kitchen or a spacious loft studio, we all need room to bloom, don't you think? I know you'll find these sanctuaries as inspiring as I do.
Today, we're treated to a peek inside Jennifer Schildknecht's studio in progress! She's got quite an inspiring story to tell....we often do our creative work in whatever space we can eeek out - but I LOVE a woman who seizes the opportunity for more "room to bloom" when it presents itself! This is a woman who knows what she wants AND deserves! Take a looksy.....
The story of my studio is one of great longing, of patience…..of great anger and resentment, followed by a deep letting go and allowing.
Like so many of you, I worked at the kitchen table for years. Living in cramped quarters, and with a large family, it seemed there was no other choice. Supplies were stored in every nook and cranny, as well as in the attic, and, bless my family, we rarely got to eat at the table when Mom was in a creative frenzy.
(Hannah Lou and Maybelline join me in creative mess-making.)
Ah, but then one by one, the children grew up and started to move away from home. “This is it”, I thought, “This is my opportunity!”.
I painted Will’s upstairs room a deep pink, all cozy and comforting, claiming it as my own and insuring he’d never want to return to it.
(A “womb of my own”, in a more orderly moment.)
My husband (aka The Canadian), awesome thrifter that he is, scrounged furniture for my new space---a huge old fashioned teacher-style oak desk, office furniture including tables, credenzas and cabinets, and probably the most amazing piece--- a lighted plexiglass architects’ table with adjustable height and tilt. Oh baby!
(The pride of my workspace, the architects’ table.)
Sadly, it was no time at all until my space was filled with “stuff” (the attic was still full, mind you) and I was choked out. I couldn’t work there.
Lest you jump to the conclusion that I’m just spoiled or ungrateful, let me explain.
I grew up in a tiny, cramped house, with a shoebox sized room….I can only surmise that’s where the burning need for wide open spaces came from.
When I designed the house we live in, I made sure it had as few walls as possible, yet I often still feel confined.
(Another rare glimpse of semi-order.)
About the same time I moved into the “womb of my own”, the Canadian got himself a photography studio in a nearby town. Were there hard feelings? You’d better believe it!
I’d waited my entire life for a place of my own where I could be free to sprawl and create!
He worked long arduous hours re-constructing his space, and spent money we did not have to make it quite cushy, while my little room began to squeeze the life out of me.
I’ve dealt with chronic illness my entire life, but during this time I became almost incapacitated, not able to even get up the stairs to my little pink room. Are you sensing there’s a great deal more to this story? Indeed, but I’ll save that for another time.
The Canadian took on another studio space next door to his photography studio, this one used for other artists to come in and engage in figure drawing. I was, of course, welcome to come in and make use of this studio anytime I wanted, but it was up not just one, but two long steep flights of stairs. I did occasionally use it, but the resentment that I felt each time I was there took all the pleasure out of it.
(Fringe Collective Studio…it never felt it could be “my own”.)
Over the past year, I’ve learned that it’s ok for me to have desires for myself, and to have a voice of my own….to express it, often quite loudly. I’ve realized that I deserve to have my needs met; I deserve a place of my own to work in as I choose.
Recently the space across the hall from the Canadian’s studios became available. It is what I’ve often dreamed of…wide open space, oozing character and possibility! The 8 foot tall arched windows make my heart sing.
It needs some work, though I plan to leave the cracked plaster and the scorched beams.
The Canadian is busting some butt, extending the walls all the way up, and building an awesome loft for me! I’ve even scrounged a sexy red sofa for myself.
(Daunting work ahead, but oh, such character!)
(The beginnings of my 7’x12’ loft (with 4’ of storage behind it. Can you say “OH BABY!”)
This space is also situated up two long, steep flights of stairs, but as I feel the resentment leave me and a feeling of contentment and “YES, I deserve this” start to replace it, the pain is miraculously ebbing away. I find strength and energy I’ve not experienced in a number of years, energy to create starting to flow in.
I’m learning how to say YES….and that it’s perfectly ok for me to say YES, to boldly claim what the Universe wants to give me as my own.
You can bet that I’ll be posting more photos on my blog as we make progress on this project! Watch for lots of color, a fun ceiling treatment, a paper (YES, I said PAPER) floor treatment and maybe even a swing….. Watch as Moon Mama becomes HERSELF and comes into her own!
Jennifer Schildknecht, also known as Moon Mama, is a healer, an artist, a writer, a mama and a wife, not necessarily in that order.
Jennifer’s mantra for the last two years has been “Yes I Can!”; a whole lot of “no you can’t”, has recently shaped it into a resounding “JUST WATCH ME!”
Consider this fair warning.
Jennifer’s creative adventures are blogged here.
You can find some of her creations here.
Her health mis-adventures are hashed over here.
If you want to find Jennifer, she’s either playing in the Over the Moon studio or out in the hammock under a canopy of trees.