A full creative life involves many twists and turns. Being open to them creates new opportunities. Artist, writer and healer Ann Faison holds an MFA from Cal Arts in Music and Art, and her work has been exhibited widely including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Since the birth of her daughters she has discovered writing and body work are an integral part of her artistic life. Her first book, Dancing with the Midwives, has just been released. Here Ann describes her means to keeping it all in order.
My ideal workspace is spare, sparse, empty and clean. That way I can walk in, set down something I have in mind to draw, and draw it. Or I can sit my computer on the empty desk and write clear, succinct expressions, unhampered by the clutter and clumpy detritus that clogs my home.
Children (and cats) are exceptionally messy. Their boundless enthusiasm makes life one big tangle that is constant. How to untie the knots of an over-scheduled day. How to clear the rubble of snack time, meal time and glitter-glue time. How to cleanse the crustiness of the growing child. Dried cheerios in the jacket pocket. Rocks in the washing machine. I am not particularly neat, but the messier my life is, the more order I crave.
In fact, I find I cannot work at all without a clean empty space to retreat to.
My studio is such a place.
It is a separate building (hallelujah!) that sits in the back yard. I try to keep it empty and clear but it never fails to get clogged with projects in various stages of production after a while. At least the cats and the kids don’t bring their unkempt habits into my workspace. They are only allowed to visit, empty handed. Spiders are the only creatures who can work alongside me. They spin their orderly webs in the corners which are clean and clear, so they love them. But once a month I escort them out, vacuum up their creations and cleanse the space entirely.
I love cleaning day and in the spring it is even more thorough. That is when I take out every object, empty every drawer, box, cabinet and shelf. I take off every book and dust and clean and wipe the storage areas before putting anything back. Only those things that I have used in the past year go back. Everything else is given away or discarded.
I have to escape my life to write about it. I have to clear the table to be able to sit down and draw. Just a desk. And the work gets done.