Part of an "Amnesia Box" of Shepherdstown pictures our friend Jen made for us when we moved to Savannah.
We fixed up this guy's old hay barn and he let us have art shows and concerts there. It was a pretty good deal for him seeing as how he got his junk-filled barn cleared out and had insulation, walls, a ceiling, track lighting and a hardwood floor installed for free, plus the grass got mowed and we planted sunflowers. We had over 20 people working on the place in some capacity or another and we put together group and solo art shows, poetry readings, bonfires, life drawing sessions, and silkscreening nights. Everything was great until the damn Zoning Commission got involved. We were getting press and a pro bono lawyer was helping us out but in the end it succumbed to the Man. Looking back I can't believe were so driven to do it all in the first place, but these were the days before the internet (and cell phones) and also before many of us got 9-5 jobby jobs and had houses of our own to fix up and a bunch of kids running around. We were so green and naive back then. I bet if we had the space to do it again we could do it legit this time. But where's the fun in that?
Us inside the epicenter. We look so young. and dirty.
Also taken by Jen.
Also taken by Jen.
Erik and I have always had to make room for our art stuffs. The trick is to amass so much stuff that you can't NOT carve out space for a studio, even if it's crammed into a corner of the dining room, tucked up in a loft, in a garage, on a back porch, etc. (these are all places our stuff has inhabited). We've also learned that we're not very good at sharing a workspace. I don't like stepping around his gigantic paintings and he doesn't like pulling pins out of the soles of his feet. I often think about how much room we would have if we didn't have such cumbersome hobbies, but then I have no idea how else we would fill those spaces.
Our first house (that we owned) in Bedington came with an old stable. We spent the entire time we lived there slowly fixing it up ourselves - installing insulation, walls, a floor, a ceiling, track lighting (deja vu) and having painting sessions and dartboard championships out there. It was right after we had Sage and couldn't go out and party anymore. It's pretty good for marital bonding too.
Not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter. I mean, balancing sheet rock above your head while standing on ladders and screwing it into the ceiling together, then standing back and looking at your new and improved space makes for a sense of accomplishment. We barely even got to use the studio we built because we moved out to California soon after. I hope whoever bought our house appreciates it.
We're too busy to undertake such time consuming endeavors like that now. We've got two kids and I've got kokoleo orders to fill and Erik's got a real job and Ballad of Sinister to work on. So this time, we hired professionals to build us a studio. Lest you think we're rich and can throw our money around the house all willy-nilly - we're not. We refinanced our mortgage and locked in a new lower rate and the bank gave us a bunch of money for home improvements. I don't know how exactly it works, but it's awesome. Too bad almost half of it got eaten up by our recent deluge of unexpected bills. But! We're still going through with the addition, even if it means we'll be broke for a while.
Here was the screened-in back porch before:
And then they did this to it:
and now it looks like this.
They're coming back Sunday to finish it. I hope. I trust them and it looks like they're doing a good job. They're fast! And it's strong too. And it has electricity. And soon it will have windows and doors. I can't wait to move in.