My nest is now in the functional stage. The building stage is over, but there is polishing yet to come. For now, I’m more concerned with the middle stage of habitation.
The other day, I needed room in the studio around a large scale drawing, so I flattened some of the obsolete furniture (horizontal surfaces I use for painting), stored it above the studio, and set up my supplies for drawing. It was incredibly satisfying. The studio takes on a different personality, a different dynamic with every configuration – i.e. I can only use the couch if I am drawing, otherwise I only use the painting seat, because I won’t allow myself to just hang-out in the studio unless I’m working, and two places to sit for one person is just excessive.
This odd behavior exemplifies the limitations I set for myself in my relationship to a sacred space. Excessive seating is not really my concern, as I still find myself without a place to rest in the kitchen. In fact, it hadn’t even crossed my mind before I formulated this thought right this moment.
Studio space has always held a hallowed status in my mind, since I can remember. I started going to art school when I was 10, and the studios were all in the art building, furnished with odd furniture, and inhabited by a different set of colleagues, at a different time, in different light, with different equipment. During the walk between the classroom and the studio, I not only entered a different physical space, but also a different mental space. The same holds for college, but not for grad school; in grad school I learned to identify this mental space and access it regardless of my physical location. My studio in grad school became a space I inhabited for other than artwork purposes, which helped me identify the different behavioral dynamics that were in play with respect to the relationship between body and space. (I had several spaces I used to make artwork in grad school; I was a bit of a studio orphan). With the loss of structure that school provides, a preference emerged for self-imposed structure in the form of studio etiquette: only artwork related activities allowed, in order to insure continued access to that special mental studio space.
My relationship with the other end of my house (the bedroom loft) is somewhat similar. In the past, I had trouble sleeping. I took a long time to fall asleep, and I woke easily, unable to fall back into unconsciousness. I have behavioral limitations with respect to the bedroom because of my poor sleep history. As with the studio, I don’t spend any time in the bedroom unless I’m sleeping or having sex. I think I may have imposed this rule as a result of some online sleep advice. That goes to show that it doesn’t really matter where enshrined habits come from, as long as they still serve. I now sleep much better.
My relationship with space seems to be activity based, which means the rituals and restrictions, as well as the set of objects involved in the activity, change. In fact, objects may just be the medium through which the body accesses space somewhat like man accesses god though priests. Too much?