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Thursday, September 10, 2009

l'atelier: layers and layers
































A good thing about having your own room is that you can put out whatever objects you want and no one objects. On these shelves in l'atelier I have stacked boxes collected for decoupage projects that have not yet materialized, stones that were collected from beach walks and coasters sliced from the pine tree that broke my heart when it died last year.



A farmer built this 10' x 22' building as a chicken coop over 100 years ago. You can tell it's a coop because five windows line only the south side of the building, for the warm sun in winter months. On the opposite wall there are shelves where I think the farmer had his egg layers' nest boxes, but there is no sign of the boxes.

There are other items waiting on these shelves, like my oil paints (I tried painting here once), and my bouquet from Lesley and Brian's wedding nestled near the earth woman's arms in a favorite photo cut out of a magazine. When Don powerwashed and painted this room, I asked for a blue ceiling. You can see in the photo below how the tin roof was layered on rough sawn oak boards.

When I am in this room I feel that I am at the hinge of the universe, a point where there is neither time nor space. There is life here. Although everyone calls this "Ruth's atelier" it does not belong to me any more than it belongs to time and space.

It doesn't matter if the decoupage projects get done, or if the painting of Killarney stays forever in its stage of tonal study without the finishing layers of paint. I will keep adding stones to the collection on the shelf. These objects feel at home in a room of piles that are happily unfinished, but whole.


71 comments:

Claudia said...

Lovely. What a privilege to be able to enjoy such a space!

amuse me said...

It is like a dollhouse for grown-ups. How lucky you have this. :) M

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, it is contents such as these that give a room true soul. To live in a space that reflects who you are is vital, I think.

I too collect stones when I travel. They are so much better than Tee Shirts.

NJ said...

Very pretty!!!!

J.G. said...

Ah, the essential nature of a room of one's own. Lovely!

shicat said...

What a lovely space,love it all from the beautiful and welcoming exterior to the tin ceiling and rustic shelves. Good colors, that should make your place happy and whole.
Fall is coming Ruth ,don't you just love it.

kanmuri said...

I want an atelier!

VioletSky said...

This looks a very creative space. And I would love the idea of having to go outside to get to your atelier in a separate building as opposed to simply going upstairs to another room in the house.

Sidney said...

That is very zen... I like this !

The Bug said...

How wonderful! I love it! I'm excited to have my own room to do crafts in (I used the dining room table in our apartment), but this is really fabulous!

ellen abbott said...

What a wonderful place. How lucky, blessed to have it.

Judy said...

What a lucky lady you are to have this special space!

ds said...

"...happily unfinished but whole." Oh, to feel that! I love the colors in your atelier; I love the quiet peace of it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Leena said...

I think, I just was in your blue nest, because I can feel it`s atmosphere on my skin, in my soul.
I got a part about it to my place here in the summer cottage - my dear log nest. I can see now the green,yellow (birch leaves ) forest between the blue sky and lake.
Harmonious day to you, Ruth!

alice said...

On the first one, your atelier is like a doll house...I especially like the color, of course, and the red bricks around the gravel, all here is saying "welcome!".
And I have a special story with pebbles too...
Have a nice day, Ruth, here the sun is still warm in a large blue sky and I love september, even if my house is empty again...

PurestGreen said...

I love the blue tones in your photos. They make my mind swim. I used to collect branches and pebbles on my walks when I lived in a log cabin years ago. I miss that.

carl h. sr. said...

Hello once again Ruthy!!!
I have missed your blog almost all summer it seems.
I've been resting a lot.
I have thought many times about THE wedding.
Really love your little 'shed'.
Of course the wood is wonderful!
Funny,I too have a collection of rocks and pieces of trees.
It will take a while for me to get around to the back-log of your posts.Hope Don is doing well.
Peace to you,carl

Celeste Maia said...

What a fantastic space, room of your own, you have. Your text was just as poetical. I wanted it to go onw. You spoke in a beautiful language.
And thank you so much for your generous comment, I am very touched by it.

*jean* said...

ooo what a delight...like your very own playhouse in the backyard...i'm jealous!!

Kat said...

I felt like I was there with you when I read about your little space. I wonder, what is it with stones for us? It prompts me to put a very special post on my blog soon. Thanks for sharing your time and space with us.

ewix said...

So lovely that your studio has well chosen and beloved objects and is not
cluttered with junk

it looks a wonderful respite from the world.

Arti said...

What an idyllic studio and gallery you have... a room of one's own. The photos are exquisite, and soulful. I used to spend a lot of time doing paperart and book making, but that only lasted for a year or two mainly because I had no place to do the work. How I long for some space all of my own to create, work and think! What you've shown here is the beauty of unfinished things... and for the wonderful painting, I can't tell that it is.

dutchbaby said...

Reading this post makes me think of Virginia Woolf's essay "A Room of One's Own". Oh how you've made this space your own! The blue ceiling is inspired!

Susan said...

Finally! We get to see more of your little hideaway! I love the blue ceiling...it reminds me of wide front porch ceilings...only you can be under your blue sky in all kinds of weather. I also love all the wooden boxes for storing your treasures and objets d'art to be. It's so you, Ruthie.....

Bella Rum said...

Charming!

Jeanie said...

This space takes my breath away. It is absolutely beautiful -- a little haven! And the painting is beautiful. Does it need anything more? I'm not sure! (Great idea about the pine coasters!)

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Great space! How could you not feel Inspired in such a Gorgeous little Place!

CottageGirl said...

Dear Ruth1

What a great space ... all yours!

Everyone needs some place that is all there's.
When I went back to school, a tiny bit of a room that we think might have been the coal room in our cottage became my study. It was a square no more that 5 feet wide. Tony put a little counter top in it to act as a desk. The kids knew that if I was in my "room", they there had to be a big emergency to disturb me.

It was cold and damp, but it was my little slice of heaven!

Enjoy your space!

Ruth said...

Claudia, it is. It's a privilege to occupy this whole property.

Ruth said...

M, I often think of it as a playhouse. I could live in it, if it had plumbing.

Ruth said...

Pamela, you make me think that when you help a client design a space you seek out their character, rather than impose your own. I do not like "decorated" rooms if they don't look livable.

Your comment about stones being better than t-shirts is perfect.

Ruth said...

NJ, it is a very satisfying space.

Ruth said...

J.G., I think a room needs to evolve of its own accord. It takes time, and I hate imposing myself on it.

Ruth said...

I do love it, Cathy - fall. And being out in the studio while it's still warm but not hot. Don has a big old heavy wood stove to put in here. I can hardly wait to build a fire in this room.

Ruth said...

Kanmuri, in Japan you have to be so economical with space. It is a luxury to have these "barns" and use them how we wish. I actually would love to live in this space. It just needs a source for heat and plumbing. Don already has the woodstove, now just to install it.

Ruth said...

Violetski, you said it!

Ruth said...

Hi, Sidney! It's terrific to see you back, and your oh-so-wonderful photos of the Philippines.

Ruth said...

Bug, have you seen Chris Casson Madden's book A Room of Her Own?

Ruth said...

Ellen, I'm glad you can feel it too all the way down there in Texas.

Ruth said...

Judy, I am. I'm lucky to have a husband who knows how to fix things up and actually does it too.

Ruth said...

DS, I'm glad you like those colors too. There is something about brown and blue, together. Ahhh.

Ruth said...

Leena, yes, the word "nest" is just right. And the blue ceiling reminds me of robin's egg blue.

Your light these days in Finland is soul filling too.

Ruth said...

Bonjour, Alice. Oh, you have a special story about pebbles?

Peter designed and laid out these pebbles and bricks for the atelier stoop.

September is the best month I think. The light. I always think of Paris in September and October, that special light in Montmartre as you look down over the city.

Ruth said...

PurestGreen, in the house here there is a collection of shells. I thought about taking them out to l'atelier, but I want their earthiness in the house. Earthy, but so refined!

Ruth said...

Carl, hello, and so nice to see you! Don and I say every so often, "I wonder how Carl is doing." Well of course we see "Carl's shells" every day. The wedding was full of love and joy, Carl. We feel thrilled and satisfied to remember it. But now I miss Lesley & Brian more than ever.

I hope you and your family are doing very well, and I hope you're getting your energy back.

Ruth said...

Celeste, thank you. No matter what words I pick to describe this space, they don't really do it justice. But I'm glad you got a sense of it.

Ruth said...

Hi, Jean. I wonder where you do your gorgeous blue art.

Ruth said...

Kat, stones have so much energy.

Ruth said...

Elizabeth, I almost posted a photo of the room before I put all the stuff away that was leftover from the wedding. All the paper lanterns were still in here. It was a mess.

Ruth said...

Arti!

In her book, A Room of Her Own, Chris Casson Madden shows personal spaces of many women. They are each unique and reflective of the woman. It strikes me that we do this in our own personal space, but not in our homes so much. I guess we have to reflect more than one person if we don't live alone.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, I've long wanted to read that essay. Thank you for the reminder. I will look for it online today.

Ruth said...

Susie, I don't remember why I wanted a blue ceiling, how I thought of it.

I finished one decoupage box and gave it to my sister. I found a copy of an old illustrated Mother Goose book so that I could cut out the illustrations for decoupage. I need to find it again.

Ruth said...

Bella Rum, it charms me too.

Ruth said...

Jeanie, I don't know about the painting. But I followed instructions somewhere and just didn't do the last steps of giving the colors of the scene. I think I was being too left brained about a right brain activity.

Ruth said...

Cupcakes, it is a very special space.

Now your boudoir, that is something else. I'm still saying WOW.

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, hello there. I think women especially need a space of their own because of how we manage 100 things at a time and feel so responsible for everything.

I wonder if you have your own space now.

CottageGirl said...

Sorry about all the typos in my recent comment! YIKES!!!
I guess it was a long day yesterday!
(That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!!!)

CottageGirl said...

Hey, Ruth! Yes -- I have the whole second floor of our cottage to myself! I really have to be mindful and not junk up the place with too much "Stuff"!

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, it takes daily mindfulness, don't you think? Or at least weekly. I don't know where my piles come from, especially books! I don't think I'm buying any . . .

C.M. Jackson said...

ruth--how perfect --what a beautiful spot--you are a lucky lady! c

Ruth said...

C.M., I took a fantastic nap in here today. I think it was the best nap of my life, no kidding.

João said...

You make it whole.

Oliag said...

A wonderful little snuggery...I could dream and nap there too I would think...Of course I love that color blue and all your wonderful piles...

Mr O says that blue is a common color for porch ceilings in old country houses...imitating the sky...

Ruth said...

João, it's my mind makes it so I suppose. But I know what you mean, thank you.

Ruth said...

Oliag, there is a large old white house near us, with a huge front porch. It has an almost neon bright aqua ceiling, and it reflects on the whole porch, like an upside down pool.

Ginnie said...

This reminds me of Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul, Ruth!

rauf said...

you are having the best of all the worlds Ruth.

Is it useful or useless ? this is how the younger generation treats our passion. The immediate generation is always a disappointment in most cases. The generation that comes after them is a delight. They find a treasure in your collection, your work. They don't ask if it is useful or useless.

Ruth said...

Boots, good. I suppose these are just physical symbols of what is inside.

Ruth said...

rauf, these acres, buildings, the soil, trees, bushes, wildflowers, birds, pond, clouds, air, keep talking, and half the time I'm listening. I am glad we moved here at the start of winter. I wanted to stare out the window at it for a long time quietly. I just realized, writing, that I was doing what I wrote about in my next post. I had to let the farm receive me, without changing anything.

Deslilas said...

Charming.
You 've rediscovered the origine of the French word, astelle", atelier, wood shavings.
The Finnish writers Juhani Aho and Antti Hyry had given this noun to some novels.

Ruth said...

Daniel, that's fascinating! I had no idea the origin of atelier, thank you.

Here is what dictionary.com has to say:


at⋅el⋅ier
  /ˈætlˌyeɪ, ˌætlˈyeɪ; Fr. atəˈlyeɪ/ [at-l-yey, at-l-yey; Fr. atuh-lyey]

–noun, plural at⋅el⋅iers  /ˈætlˌyeɪz, ˌætlˈyeɪz; Fr. atəˈlyeɪ/ [at-l-yeyz, at-l-yeyz; Fr. atuh-lyey]

a workshop or studio, esp. of an artist, artisan, or designer.
Origin:
1830–40; < F: lit., pile of chips (hence, workshop); OF astele chip (< LL astella, dim. of L astula, var. of assula splinter, equiv. to ass(is) plank + -ula -ule ) + -ier -ier 2