Thursday, January 19, 2012


Snow changes the landscape, covering what's familiar and bringing potential navigation challenges. I have been puzzled over how difficult the studio move is proving to be. I had expected it to interrupt my work and to take awhile, but I had not expected to feel so lost. My old space in the basement, while tight, was densely packed and very organized - and - had developed over the course of a few years. I could find anything I thought of and not interrupt my creative flow for long. Now, between studios, I'm not sure where things are anymore, as it's too much to track and items aren't yet settled, and while I am content to allow how it will come together to unfold as I continue to work at it, I feel disoriented. And then I read a snippet of information that really hit home. In Canada's far north, where unbroken deep snow can make it nearly impossible to navigate - even with a map and GPS - the native people rely on internal mapping - a sense of the whole developed through their experience with the land, stories and descriptive landmarks passed along, and awareness of seasons and weather shifts. And - these cognitive maps are different for men and women. Men were the navigators across the land on the journey, but once complete, the women took over because they knew where to best place dwellings for safety and proximity to food sources. I realized that my internal map of the old studio has deep roads from frequent travel within and an accompanying comfortability with knowing the lay of its land. Somehow that mapping metaphor helped me understand and accept my lost feeling and also gave me renewed energy to create a new map. So with stacks of mess around all shouting to be put away and a tiny clear space on the cutting board, I rummaged up and down through my studios to find supplies and make more mess to do what I love. I used some of my dyed wet felted wool to stitch a book cover that I lined with a scrap of real suede and braided cords of hand dyed perle cotton to stitch pages into it.

It took me two days to figure out how to make it work, find the supplies and to complete.

I've learned along the way, having other ideas I might try next time and figuring out what not to repeat in future.

A small journal but a big step because I made a path in the open space of the map of my new studio.

One piece wrapped up, with lots more to come.


grace Forrest~Maestas said...

yvonne...reading this beautiful
post, it occured to me too that
you are also mapless of this new
and different time in your life
with your sons setting off.
this in itself is a huge shift.

Nancy said...

This is such a thoughtful post. Your mapping discoveries are just right and certainly can apply to you during this transition. There are ways I am mapless at this time too (You too Grace?) What a wonderful post this is.
Beautiful journal book too!

Lesley Turner said...

good to hear you are navigating your way as you transform a new space into a place of your own

saraz said...

Thank you for this post! I needed it...

Yvonne said...

Grace - yes, that's another blank map and big change - and - one I expect and know many go through, whereas the studio shifting and accompanying lost feeling was a complete surprise.

Nancy, thankyou very much!

Lesley - yes - it's a process I'm learning from.

Saraz - well I am glad if my post was a help in any way.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Yvonne this is such a thoughtful post and sharing your process is exactly what I needed to read today. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Yvonne said...

Mary Helen - I'm glad it was useful to you!

January said...

What paper do you use for the pages of your journals. Everything I have seen is too expensive???? I am also really into making journals right now

Yvonne said...

January - I used archival quality sketchbook paper - ripping pages from it first, and then measuring and ripping along a ruler to the size I wanted for my journal - I just used what I had on hand - empty pages from an old sketchbook.