March saw my second trip to Glastonbury, for the Glastonbury Wire Studio Spring Retreat, teaching with the incredibly talented Oksana Trukhan (whose work is simply magical), and to say I had a good time would be a massive understatement.
I've mentioned in the past that I struggle with social anxiety, so there's always those moments, leading up to a class or workshop, when I think "Dear God, what did I sign up for?", but Tabath and James (Lonely Soldier Designs) are amazing hosts and no one has ever made me feel as instantly at home as the two of them! Seeing the familiar faces of students from a previous workshop created for me an atmosphere of belonging, comfort and instant ease. And meeting new students, Oksana herself, and the incredible Iza Malczyk (who was teaching her own 3-day workshop) was an exercise in excitement.... never nervousness.
But let's get back to that atmosphere I mentioned. The moment I stepped off the plane, I felt immediately relaxed. I wouldn't be so bold as to say I felt quite at home with myself, but... it's as close to that as one can be when not actually at home! Glastonbury has it's own magic, of that I'm certain. While that may be tapping into a whole pocket of cliches, given the nature of the place, the Abbey, the legend of King Arthur and all the tourist elements attached to it (which I totally eat up, by the way), it's also absolutely true. If I were never a believer in reincarnation, Glastonbury is the place to change my mind. And I think maybe I leave a little piece of me behind when I pack my bags to head home. Or, perhaps, say goodbye to a piece of me that's always been there.
It was also incredibly cathartic. I'd been in a very weird head space the prior few months. While I was creating consistently, a certain drive was lacking. I had plenty of ideas, but without the motivation and passion to see them to fruition, it began to feel like "work". Blech. There are always elements of running a business that will feel like... well... a business, but there had never before been a time when I looked forward to "clocking out" at the end of my day, stepping away from my desk and binging a season of Downton Abbey.
I didn't like that one little bit. I mean... I love Downton Abbey, but you get what I'm saying.
And stepping onto the grounds of Middlewick Farm, where the five glorious days of work commenced, it was like a veil had been lifted.
And the students..... the students were amazing. All 16 of them (or 17 when James came in to have some solder and sheet metal fun) created stunning work, as you can see from the photo here. While I provided a template, an idea, they took that idea and ran with it and created something uniquely "them". Watching them create, their excitement and yes, at times, even their frustrations, I felt a familiar (and welcome) itch return. And I created some new work myself! It's not just that I created new pieces, but that I enjoyed the process again. It felt like a friend had shown up unexpectedly after a long absence and surprised me with cake (thanks Keren.... you're a cake goddess!).
It did, too. Until I got sick.
Before I get into that, let me tell you a little something about our airport.... it's awful. There are these horrible new kiosks that ask you whether you've touched livestock or purchased fine art, and then it takes your photo and prints you a receipt and you shuffle off to a customs agent for more questions and a detailed analysis of a stunningly bad passport photo. And, I'm not ashamed to admit that I got lost leaving my own airport. I walked around for 10 minutes before dropping my bag on the ground and, with a whimper, saying to the nearest employee "I don't know where I am." He touched my arm and said "Hun, where are you trying to go?" And I replied "Out. Just out." Ha! We both laughed and I found my way to the passenger pick-up. And, despite the travel time, I wanted to work that night, when I came home, and I did work for the next few days. Until The Great Ick arrived. It's not just a bug. It's a "sitting next to a man on a plane for 9 hours who stashed nasal spray and tissues in the seat pocket before him" kind of bug. But, at least that's given me time to write this post and imagine all the ways I can create my own magical atmosphere here at home. I envision a meditation station in the corner of my living room, new hanging lanterns above my desk for ambiance, and a fuzzy rug beneath my chair for some tactile fun for my feet. And while that may be further feeding the cliched idea of magic, and isn't quite indicative of the atmosphere of Middlewick, it's a type of magic all the same, I think.
How do you create a magic work space?