As the year steams inexorably forward full of (exponentially) more questions than answers this much we know is true: we must make joy where we can and revel in beauty whenever possible.
In this seemingly endless revolving season of new normals, we've found that one of the best ways to maximize joy and manifest beauty is in creating new rituals to bring something worth celebrating into the occasionally bleak necessaries the world requires from us. From elevating our hand-washing stations to zuzzing our remote work spaces we have found moments of grace in the semblance of illusory control found in, say, new soap. Ahhh, the little things.
Throughout it all, it has been hard for us to make space (literally and figuratively) for creating. At the end of these days spent working, cooking, cleaning, marching, crying, mourning, washing, wiping, weeping, swearing, schooling, learning, unlearning, breathing, and being grateful to be breathing, we're just trying our best to be our best...who has time for art?
As time stretches on, though, it becomes apparent: in the long-haul we must make space for making beauty. The power of nourishing intention—the setting aside time to sit with yourself and honor the spirit of creation—is potent beyond belief. While it is certainly self-care, it also transcends self-care. And, just like setting up our distinct home work spaces, we are 100% more likely to turn our creative impulses into a daily/weekly ritual if we have a dedicated Art Space. After being reminded of Anna's little nook in her home out on Nicollet Island on her recent home tour (see the whole thing here!) we were struck by the simple beauty and power of this little setup. You don't even need a room of one's own. A chair of one's own will suffice.
It doesn't have to be huge (and for many of us, it literally CAN'T be huge). But when the barrier to entry is, literally, every single thing in the world, not having to get everything out, set it up, clean it up, and put it back somewhere is a GIANT step towards getting your creative juices flowing. Anna's setup is literally 2'x3' (and a dog on the chez, always). There are some things Anna has and loves in her zone that are exclusively made for making art—her collection of stunning all-natural Beam Paints and her Mara Metz custom painters palettes spring to mind—but most everything else started out its life with another intended "purpose" and yet now they are each humbly re-writing their own destinies, rising to the occasion at hand. Feels like us this year, huh?
A book stand becomes a impromptu tabletop easel. A pair of enamel pans serve as a nesting palette. A petal dish becomes a color study. A row of mouth-blown Mexican shot glasses serve as individual brush cleansers, a carafe holds fresh water, and a big brown bottle stands to hand for oil turps. And because golden hour waits for no to-do list, a wall mounted swing lamp keeps everything illuminated (and small surfaces clear) for when midnight inspiration strikes. And the best part is, the set up can change daily, if you want. Honor what serves you. Inspiration hangs at the forefront, possibilities—at least here—are limitless.
The time is now. Make a place, carve out a time, and build some beauty back into your daily. You deserve the world and more, but, hey, we'll take 20 quiet minutes and a clean sheet of paper where we can get it. To help get you started, we've pulled together some of Anna's Art Zone Essentials. You don't *need* any of this to get a jump start but—if you're anything like us—priming the pump with some new gear is the surefirest way to make something (anything) happen. What beauty will you make today?