Sunday, September 25, 2011

Studio Sunday-A Clean Desk

One of the most popular quotes when I sold small matted calligraphy many years ago was by Justice Felix Frankfurter: "A clean desk represents an empty mind." Looking at my newly cleaned desk, I prefer now to take inspiration from this quote by the medieval mystic Meister Ekhart which I first read in Lewis Hyde's The Gift: "Let us borrow empty vessels."

Before I turned sixty last weekend, I had a deep urge to do a major cleaning and sorting of the studio to welcome the new decade but life got in the way. I find the cleaning and sorting process a way to think about where I have been and where I am going—a good way to get my head as well the physical space in order. And what better time than a zero year birthday for that.

When I began to gather work last week for my exhibit at the Word and Image Gallery at Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell, NY, I found myself missing four framed Emily Dickinson pieces. I took it as a sign that now was the time for the big cleaning/sorting. I was surprised to find the four pieces unframed in a print paper box with a post-it note on top saying "to be framed." Since there are 31 framed and ready to go, they will not be missed and none were in the favorite category.

The front of the studio (what was the porch when we moved in) is the desk and computer area. There is a long narrow space which is mostly storage and then the back opens up again and that is where construction takes place. I'm working back and forth at both ends and putting all the things to find homes for in the middle.

This is one corner of my desk. The lamp is new, purchased at IKEA a while ago but found yesterday while cleaning a cabinet. Also bittersweet in an old bottle filled with blue corn, a tea light candle holder filled with lavender, an array of markers and colored pencils, a plexi cube with Emily Dickinson images, my autumn image, a teapot with a cup resting on top, and a little standing file with slots for my phone message book (so much less used in this era of email), a folder for banking, outgoing mail, and index cards with computer directions (sad how things I learn don't stick unless I use them all the time).


Elle said...

Lovely, Susan. The corner makes me feel like working, it looks so tidy! I do hope you get the best ideas when you sit there.

Rachel said...

First of all, wishing you a wonderful Golden Year. That is not a clean desk, although it would certainly pass for a miracle at my home. It s a desk with inspiration and useful tools available. And thank you amazingly much for sending me to the September New Skills Festival. There I reconnected with Etegami and I have been painting them ever since. It was just the prompting I needed to move from *th8inking about* to DOING.

Unknown said...

Happy 60th!
Great to know that I am not the only one with this issue.
This summer I did some major de-cluttering. Found the pearl necklace that I had misplaced amidst books and boxes. It was just in time to lend to my daughter for her wedding last weekend!
Best for the next 10!

Mo Crow said...

Happy Birtday for last weekend & hope this is the best year yet full of magic and wonder and lots of new art making and joy and love and plenty of the craic!

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