All stories require turning the page to get to the next chapter, including mine.

I now have more time to read because I’m on to the next chapter of my life, having recently retired from my day job. (I’m currently reading about one of my favorite female artists, Louise Bourgeois, in Women’s Work: From feminine arts to feminist art by Ferren Gipson.) It’s an odd thing to not go to my former place of work at 9 a.m. every weekday. Over the years I really liked my job as the Design & Exhibitions Coordinator at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the people I worked with were absolutely wonderful! But all stories require chapters to end for new ones to begin, and I knew it was time for my story to focus on my studio practice.

What does my studio practice look like? That’s an interesting question, and I’m not quite sure yet! While working at the library for nearly two decades, my practice was very sporadic and cobbled together with early mornings, weekends, and vacations. I hope to get into somewhat of a routine, but I’m still adjusting to not having to set an alarm to get out of bed, so I’m allowing myself to spend time daydreaming and not living on a schedule. It’s kind of fun, and ideas for my work are starting to come more frequently. One thing I’m sure of with my studio practice is that it requires time to read about art. (My love of books and libraries stems from my earliest memories when I was a toddler, and I had the great fortune to work in the art library when I was in college.)

Aside from catching up on reading art books I’ve bought over the past several years, my first project is to get my studio organized. My studio’s in the basement, which has been my family’s repository of stuff since 2001, so the basement needs cleaned out first. Life got in the way over the years, as happens, and the basement is overflowing and disorganized. (Let’s face it, I’d also rather make something than get organized, so there’s that…) I’m trying to clean out the stuff first, which also leads me down rabbit holes of memories and some new ideas for something to make, which then distracts me from the cleaning project and I start working in my studio! Maybe my goal of having a somewhat organized basement and studio will happen someday, but more importantly I hope the trips down the rabbit holes are enjoyable and valuable to my creative life.

As happens, life again got in the way, and my retirement grand plan to get this project done by mid-April came to a halt. Now I’m working to get back on track cleaning out and organizing, but my time is my own now, and if it takes a few months to finish that project’s chapter, so be it! While I have so much in life I want to do that it might take me 40 years, most of my deadlines are self-inflicted, so I can change them if I’d like, or even totally ignore them! I’m going to allow myself the freedom to read and daydream to see what ideas come to life in this new chapter!