I used to be a girl with her own studio. It was in the basement of our old house, and I loved it. We covered every square inch of the walls and ceiling with three coats of white paint, and painted the concrete floor pale green. I cleared all of the old cobwebs out of the windows and painted the sills aqua blue. I made little salmon pink curtains and tied them with ribbon. I hung strands of lights from the rafters and attached glittered letters to the lights with clothespins. I put up pink ruffled sheets to separate my office from the laundry room, and I enlarged my greeting cards on canvas to hang on the walls. I am absolutely certain that no one ever cared for or appreciated this basement more than I did.
I worried about these open stairs and the kids (who were 4 and 1 when we moved in) when they came down them. I could hear everything though — even Perry waking up from his nap two floors up. If I heard his little feet running towards the back door, I whipped around in my chair and ran up the stairs three at a time to catch him before he came down. I must have gone up and down these stairs a million times.
I worked late into the night — sorting, counting, glittering, wrapping, and boxing thousands of cards down in this space. I called it "doing cards" and I felt like I was doing them all of the time. There was always an order to fill, designs to do, press kits to send, samples to mail, but most importantly, children to love. I never, ever felt like I was doing anything enough, or well, though I knew I couldn't possibly do more, or better.
Despite the ever present hurried/overwhelmed/exhausted feeling that followed me everywhere I went, I found peace in this studio. It was totally mine. I'd bring a ginormous Rice Krispie treat and a glass of chocolate milk down with me every night and watch hours of HGTV (from tapes that my mom recorded for me) while I worked. Michael had his office space on the other side of the curtain and I don't remember what we talked about at night but I remember that he made me laugh, and that he kept me working until I was done (the stinker).
I remember that this place made life easier for me.
After seven years and umpteen hours, the work finally became too much and I said goodbye to my business. I loved what I did, but I was tired. I was ready to stop. I was ready to try something different, ready to do something else. I said goodbye to that house, to that studio, to that life. We boxed up all of my inventory and moved to a new house. One that was only 12 miles away but it felt (and still feels) so much farther than that.
The new house didn't have a studio. It didn't have a basement, or a second floor, or stairs for that matter. I wasn't selling cards anymore and I was becoming more and more interested in the garden anyway so I said I didn't need a studio. I said that I would manage just fine without one. Turns out I was a little bit wrong…