Random Things from my Natural Habitat

I thought I’d share a few random details from my natural habitat (aka The Studio). And, just like my studio, it will have no particular order.

This shelf features a few parody “pharmaceuticals,” among other things. There are also bottles from real (now withdrawn from the market) pharmaceuticals I’ve actually been prescribed, as well as souvenirs from when my husband was sent to (the now infamous) Dr. Moon of Redding many years ago… The purple rubber kidney was a gift from a good friend in memory of her late husband who’d been on dialysis.

This is another shelf. It features… stuff.

Bookends with flat backs make excellent little shelves when mounted to the wall.

Below is another bookend shelf… among other things. There’s enough room on the bookend to fit a large raven decoy:

Thread… Almost as bad a fetish as the one I have for paper. I have come to appreciate the difference good, beautiful thread makes on the overall quality and look of a handmade book. And, at least for me, a spool can last for years. *Supply note below.

Drawers are a bit of a fetish too. This is a close-up of the one above near the raven. (Yes, the proximity of “Knives” to “First Aid” was intentional).

Nearby hangs a metal strip with some magnets. The magnets are strong enough to hold some of my tools. These needles are a pack of darners sized 1-5 from the craft store. They’re cheap and work well for bookbinding. (Although Buechertiger has also gotten me into harness needles, which are not so cheap, but, depending upon the size, are strong, nice and big (but not too big) and dull-ended — perfect for someone with clumsy hands like me. Still, I have a fondness as well for my darners.

Friends to keep me company…

(This blog began in 2009 with a post about the black widows in the studio. Spiders have been a running theme for a long time.)

Evidence of actual work in (on again-off again) progress. I really have not forgotten about those Book•ArtObject editions! Life has interfered in great ways with me getting them finished. But my goal for this year is to finally do that. This is Superstition. Or, rather, the second time around with Superstition. I almost finished the entire edition well over a year ago, but a technical disaster (among other things) struck. It all had to be scrapped and redone. A tale of angst I have not yet brought myself to write about.

Here’s also a sneak peak of “Poison,” which is a little simpler to assemble. I’m hoping to finish it first.

Yes — they really are printed, and have been for over a year (the copyright date printed on them is 2013!). Alas, extended time in the studio when I’ve been lucid enough to work has been hard to come by. As it stands, more delays are ahead, including another scheduled visit to my favorite far away medical complex(es)… But I do plan to be gluing some “Poison” spines before then (… she types, while knocking on her wooden desk).

*Supply note: An excellent source for high-quality unwaxed (and other) linen threads is Buechertiger’s supply shop on Etsy. We’re friends (full disclosure), but I’m also a happy customer.

16 thoughts on “Random Things from my Natural Habitat”

  1. Great views of your studio! What impresses me the most is that there’s virtually no dust! You may not think so, but living under the redwoods as you do is far better than living atop a bluff at the bottom of which are agricultural fields. I also like that you have a flea comb in your studio ~ that must come in handy! xo

    • Thanks Connie. And my, photos do lie! Dust is actually a big problem, especially near certain windows where a fine layer of dirt builds up if left neglected. It goes with the rural environment everywhere around here, I think. (And, yeah — living above an ag field would definitely present its own challenges!) What does help, a lot, is something I didn’t show — a heavy-duty HEPA air cleaner that runs constantly when I’m not there. It was an absolute necessity. There was a time . . . a long time . . . after I first moved in when I couldn’t even walk through the door without my throat closing up, thanks to certain environmental allergens. Much alleviated now, but even after all these years if I forget to turn on the air cleaner and go away for a while, I’ll regret it.

      I was wondering if anyone would notice the flea comb label. That’s not for an infestation. (Really!) It’s a tool to aid in separating cord and thread strands, and whatever else strikes my fancy. But not for combing fleas from my head. Or from Dominic.

  2. What a delightful place to work. I love all your friends, even the threatening ones :) You have so many good ideas for storage, I tend to store things put away, but then they are…away. I like how your studio is organized, but things are still out and available. Although I am sure there are still messes sometimes. Who can be creative without some kind of mess? Not me :)

    • Thanks Amy. Note that I was careful not to show my actual work surfaces, speaking of messes…. (insert hysterical laughter). But thanks! It’s funny — I’ve had a couple of studio visitors over the years come in, look around at the mess and declare, “Wow — a real artist’s studio! It’s not neat and clean!” (Others have suggested delicately that perhaps I need help. And I was sure they weren’t thinking of a house cleaner or professional organiser!)

      As for keeping things out and visible, that’s a practical thing. I have a really bad memory these days. “Away” can mean “gone forever.” That’s also why I label all of the boxes and drawers, even the clear plastic ones.

      And, yes, who can create without mess?

  3. You have oodles of stuff and a proper workplace.I just have the stuff!And it’s all over the place.The Great Clear Out has begun, but I’m now somewhat restricted (busted shoulder muscles) and Peter’s timetable is not conducive. So I continue to procrastinate…

    • Greetings Di–So sorry to hear about the shoulder! Ow! And it is indeed annoying not to be in control of one’s own schedule. Alas.

      It cracks me up that I seem to have presented the impression that I’m tidy and organized! I was very careful how I framed the photos, that’s all I can say.

  4. Lovely photos! I am happy to hear you were able to spend some time in the studio, even if you were just snapping photos. Isn’t it nice sometimes, just to be there? And you seem to have plans for spending more time there since you mention you want to work on your editions. Sounds like things are clearing up a little, or at least I hope so.

    So many nice details in the picture that it is hard to pick one. The mouse having a giggle is a good one, and I love that is seems gigantic beside the pick-up truck. But I guess what is really nice is this accumulation of things, and the combination of tidy and chaotic and useless atmospheric things.

    – I need to come to an end with this comment. You website is scaring me: every now and then all that I typed here disappears. Obviously it has come back, but it takes almost a minute. I was already giving up on my comment when it first happened… So I just add a quick: thanks for the mention!

    • Hmm… alarming that you are having commenting “issues” here. I have no idea what that’s about. Thanks for braving my blog to leave a comment! (Yike!)

      “Useless atmospheric things”–I love that. I like “useless atmospheric things.” I had someone I didn’t really know come visit my studio once, long ago, and begin lecturing me on my “materialism.” But I am a materialist! I’m a collagist at heart. I collect odds ‘n ends like a magpie and love to be surrounded by … stuff. Especially silly things that make me smile. Like a giant giggling lab mouse.

      As for time in the studio, alas, I really have only been able to be in there long enough to take the photos. Things have not been great. But I can hope. As you say, indeed, sometimes it’s just nice to be in there in! Even if for only a few minutes. I do hope to carve out some time in there soon. If nothing else, I need to put a new cover on my latest sketchbook/plaything. It’s important to me to have that.

      And it’s my pleasure to mention you. I recently sewed up my newest sketchbook (while not in my studio!) using the Moss-colored French linen (which was perfect for it and looks beautiful) and a harness needle, which I only had thanks to you… let’s just say you’ve been on my mind. :-)

      • Sorry to hear that things have not improved as much as I hoped. But happy that the linen thread and needle gave some joy. I like the moss green very much, but then, I have a general fondness of yellowish-green colours :-)

        The comment oddity is still happening, but by now I think it might be my browser and not your website which is not behaving well. It happens when more lines are typed than fit into the window here without scrolling. Apparently deciding which text to show and how much takes half a minute of calculations. It is still scary, though, that scrolling just one line makes all the text disappear for while.

        Take care!

        • Thanks Hilke. And the thread does indeed give me joy. And, yes, the Moss is indeed a beautiful color!

          Sorry to hear about the commenting problems! Perhaps it is a WordPress thing? Then again, I recently had a couple of lengthy comments dumped on me by Blogger. Bad feeling! I’ve taken to copying my comments before hitting the “post” button, so I can restore them if necessary. However, it should not be necessary! I hope this resolves soon. Thanks for braving the uncertainty…! (Yike!)

  5. Hello, Ellen. Thank you for sharing your workspace! I have never heard of using bookends as shelves before.
    I was a student of Victor’s and saw Jane Goodall speak with you some years back. I have cards of your Way Out and Stormy Day paper collages framed in my home. I continue to find your art peaceful and thought provoking, and I’m glad to find your blog so I can follow your newer creative endeavors. Best wishes and warm thoughts to you both behind the redwood curtain all the way from Austin, Texas :)

    • Greetings Erin! So wonderful to see a comment from you here. Of course I remember you, and remember seeing Jane Goodall with you. I’m deeply touched you’ve kept those cards (framed, no less) and looked me up online. Thanks so much. You’re kind.

      I hope things are going well in Austin(?). I’ll let Victor know I’ve heard from you. He’ll be delighted.

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