Usually, it is just me and my dog at my Muir Beach studio, but yesterday brought two visitors. The first was Coleen, a wonderful book binder who lives in Muir Beach. We have been talking for ages about connecting to see each other’s work spaces, and yesterday we finally did it. We started with mine. It is always interesting to see what draws people’s attention first – for her, it was the shelf of Bottle Dreams pieces (pictured here).
After a full tour, we headed toward the ocean to her home and newly built studio space. I wish I had brought my camera as she has some wonderful old binding presses and the view from her studio is amazing – a full clear shot of the ocean. Coleen’s focus is creating unique housings for special texts she finds. One had just arrived in the mail – an artist friend had sent Coleen a text block featuring quotes she had found underlined or highlighted in used self-help books, now re-arranged and letterpress printed. For Coleen, the text block really inspires her process – she creates in response to this subject matter, bringing together great materials, leather collaging techniques, and even creating a cover with secret pop-up flap. Driving home from her studio, I thought to myself how she and I creatively are the inverse of each other. She initiates projects from the inside out – the text pages of the book lead her to the creation of a wonderful cover. Whereas I move so often from the outside in – finding a great bottle or an old frame and then working to find the right content with which to fill it.
Later in the afternoon, visitor number two arrived – Rachel Bagby. We gathered to record a future podcast for artheals.org about her amazing work with choirs, music, and healing. In preparation for our meeting, I have been reading Rachel’s book, Divine Daughters: Liberating the Power and Passion of Women's Voices, and have really loved the rhythmic quality of the writing and the circular, organic nature of the storytelling. Her tale of empowering her own voice and the voices of others (especially women) resonated strongly with me. In our conversation, she both spoke and sang news of her latest vision to unite choirs across the country to create positive change. She left me humming – re-awakening my own desire to sing.
At the end of the day, I felt filled up and reminded that it is important to take breaks and meet face to face with other creative people. I do treasure my solitary studio time, and yet it feels so good to stretch and be expanded by the visions of others.