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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 8 April 2010
In March we made the decision to accept that our space we live in should fit the lives we live. While this seems intuitive, somehow we had missed it in feeling like certain spaces *must* fill certain obligations.

So our lovely back room overlooking yard and lake was our dining room. Except that we rarely dined there and I was feeling hoarder's guilt over my supplies encroaching on this required space.  And given that our daughter is following in her mama's footsteps with a respectable stash of art supplies of her own...

We gave in. Or rather, we embraced.

And our back room, while still featuring our dining room table and chairs and the antique cabinet my grandparent's bought for their wedding, has become our Art Room.  And we love it. And now we actually eat there! (Note the large Dalek decorated MAME cabinet on the left, that belongs to Andy~ it is huge but he did make it by hand (so it gets to stay) and you can play thousands of old fashioned arcade games on it!)

Some of the highlights include:
  • plastic cover on the oak table to protect the surface (just a tablecloth protector without the tablecloth!)
  • Glass jars to store beads, pine cones and other bits and bobs and step stool so Ro can reach anything she can use
  • Vinyl chalkboard labels on baskets and bins~ we can mark their contents and wipe off and relabel as contents change
  • combined stashes of paints, brushes, stamps and other shared items
  • Rowan has her own table with scissors, crayons, glue sticks and easy access to paper so that she can create, on her own, whenever she likes
  • I created a WIP (work-in-progress) box for all my unfinished items so I can see what I have to work on at a glance.  
  • and my box of adhesives (about 12 types of glue and 6 kinds of tape) pleases my little hoarding, organization happy heart
Other changes our space has allowed for us:
We carry a small basket with us when we go outside to play so that we can collect any treasures we see for our nature table (on Grandma's hutch) or for crafting as we go.
Our idea and art journals have a place of honour (Rowan and I both love our journals from This Handmade Life and I date and keep each one Rowan fills) on the lazy susan in the center of the dining room table and as we are eating tin the room, we are often finishing dinner with drawing time (we bought Daddy a journal, too!).
I have cork squares to mount, still, for keeping finished work and inspirations (thanks to Amanda Blake Soule's The Creative Family for some great ideas!)

And the best part of the change (which required a lot of clean up, sorting, destashing and packing away of things like punch bowls and serving platters that we use far, far less than our pastels and paints!) is that we feel like we have taken this part of ourselves, our creative selves, and embraced them by providing a space to grow them, together.

Our creativity is no longer something to be fit in where we can find a corner, but it is a central part of how we live together as a family.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for that post!
I am in looking for a new and bigger flat, thinking I need an extra room for working and sewing. I am an academic, so books, papers and computer compete with fabrics (and all the tools and notions that come along) for place in my current living room. Like you, I prefer having them on site, so to speak. That comes with the guilt and the feeling that I can never have people over. The funny thing is that I dread the moment I have to separate those activities from watching TV or doing/following other activities that traditionally take place in the living room.
Your solution brings honesty to the place and acceptance of one's need and identity. I love the idea of your room divider in your more recent post. Really good luck!

Unknown said...

Thanks Myriam! It really does feel good to embrace it rather than fight it!

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