‘A Room of One’s Own’
One of the most empowering things I have ever done is rent my own art studio. Believing in my own art enough to dedicate space and resources to it has been surprisingly powerful. When I moved in I immediately understood the importance of maintaining my studio, not just keeping it clean and orderly, but actually treating it as a sacred space. I try not to bring things to the studio that will distract me from creating art. I also avoid doing business like paying bills or making business related calls.
There is something more that I have experienced, it is the idea of having a place that is solely mine. It is the power of having a room all my own. I knew (vaguely) that Virginia Woolf said every woman should have ‘a room of one’s own’ but I didn’t understand the history or the context in which she said it. Virginia Woolf wrote a series of essays in the early 20th century titled ‘A Room of One’s Own’ when women had little independence or power. At that time women’s lives were almost entirely dependent on a man, whether it was husband, brother or father. Woolf postulated that women would be able to write great fiction if only they had the space and the financial resources to do it. (Today, almost 100 years later literature remains a man’s world.)
Unknowingly, I had created the environment for my art (and my poetry and writing) that Woolf pointed at so many years ago. I have tried to structure my life so that I have the time and the resources to be able to create without being hampered by the worries and the sheer daily-ness of ordinary life. Since moving in I have encouraged my female friends to find a space where they can be creative and that is all their own and inviolate. I think it is really helpful to have that space outside of the home, but if that isn’t possible the act of declaring somewhere (anywhere) your creative space can be transformative. I have only brought things into the space that I want or that have personal meaning. I have resisted suggestions from others on how I should arrange my studio or what kind of work I should do there. Until I had a studio I didn’t understand how rare it is that I feel completely free and empowered in a space.