On Reading IN HER STUDIO

IMG_3490My friend Tami and I often exchange creativity-related resources. In a delightful package of goodies she sent to me recently, I discovered In Her Studio, a quarterly periodical by Stampington & Company.

The magazine’s tagline? Its whole premise is “spaces and stories of creative women.” The magazine features fascinating testimonies—and the coolest photography—on how female artists think, organize, work, and live. I look forward to borrowing a few pieces of their stories to shape my own…

Getting organized
Many of the artists seem to have a designated place—both pretty and functional—for their tools, supplies, books, etc. I hope to organize my own studio so it’s less like a storage closet and more like a sanctuary for all things creative. Even better, I hope to do so on a shoestring budget. I love the challenge of repurposing what I already have on a hand and hunting for funky baskets, jars, and bins on a dime.

Setting boundaries
I admit I’ve allowed my studio to become a playground for my daughter and her friends. Though I love seeing them explore their own creativity in that space, I need to set some boundaries in order to maintain its refuge-like qualities. I also need to devise a system for my undisturbed work—I hope some hanging paper art that I made last winter, hung on the studio’s doorknob, will alert passersby that Mom is “busy” in one of the best senses of the word.

Celebrating my studio
Last year, we invested in a Murphy bed so that our guest bedroom could become a creative studio. The room remains small and a bit crowded, but I’m taking to heart the words of artist Amber M. Jensen (page 114 of In Her Studio, Summer 2019): “I think we do some of our greatest work under limitations. If you can only carve out a small space to work in, perhaps that limitation could be an advantage. Be open to letting the space speak to you. Maybe your idea has to change a little, but that could allow for something really exciting and unexpected to be created instead.”

In turn, I have a new goal: To share my own story and to be among the women featured in In Her Studio. Who knows how my ongoing attempts to claim my artistic identity will inspire someone else to do the same!

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The Repurpose-Driven Wife

God only knows how I accumulated so many Health magazines. I’m not kidding–they filled a brown paper grocery bag. And I don’t even have the rock-hard abs to prove they did any good! Geesh.

My bowl in progress

To prevent my being mocked as a hoarder, I invited a few friends to help repurpose my collection into something “more useful.” Our mission? To fashion “coiled magazine paper bowls” from ripped, folded pages bearing protein-powder ads, weight-loss success stories, and tried-and-true workout tips. Add some glue stick and some tape and some varnish–and voila!–you have a bowl for… um, uh… something.

Thanks to ReadyMade magazine, Pinterest, and the creative pursuits of several resourceful friends, I’ve become fascinated with the “repurposing movement” in recent years. I’ve tried my hand at salvaging bottle caps, wool sweaters, plastic bags, etc. But today I got to thinking–I’ve been repurposing for years through writing!

There have been times when a story idea shifted and eventually revealed an unexpected life lesson. There have been times when a piece began as an essay, but morphed into a poem. And there have been times when I’ve taken out my metaphorical glue stick, tape, and varnish to rework an article or manuscript to satisfy a specific editor’s eye.

Indeed, I dream of having killer biceps and a hardy appetite for leafy greens someday. But, for now, I’ll do my part for the good of the world by repurposing that which clutters my corners… as well as that which I’ve dared put to page.


WRITING PROMPT 1: “Repurpose”–what a fun word! Try using it in a story or poem.

WRITING PROMPT 2: Repurpose one of your favorite stories by another author into a poem. (In writing, there’s no rule against using someone else’s idea and shaping it into something of your own. Plagiarism is an entirely different–and more vicious–animal.)

WRITING PROMPT 3: Perhaps you’ve been working on a piece that just isn’t getting there. Have you tried using the idea within a different format–perhaps turning a short story into a poem, or vice versa? Try repurposing a piece of your current work.