The rewards of a 'room of one's own'
Virginia Woolf had one, Picasso had several, and Charlotte Bronte wished she'd had one. Many of us at one time or another probably have envisioned it: a private work space in the home.Skip to next paragraph
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Artists are longtime pioneers of home work areas. Today, people in many fields are warming to the idea. A home studio, workshop, or office, whether for a full-time vocation or for a hobby or craft pursued after hours, has its rewards. It not only helps to solidify commitment to a long-term goal, but also makes it easier to settle down to the project at hand.
Perhaps not everyone can have the ''room of one's own'' recommended by Virginia Woolf. But even the smallest studio apartment can yield at least a corner for creative work.
Choosing the right location for a home study or studio may take some thought and experimentation, especially when space is tight or several alternatives are available. In many cases, personal priorities must be weighed against family needs.
Joan Wortis, a weaver in New Hope, Pa., says her working area ''grew like Topsy.'' At first, her working space occupied one small room and half of a larger room that also served as the family living room. But this was not the most efficient arrangement for either her family or her work, so she eventually consolidated her operations in the larger room. The small room now is used exclusively as a living room.
Since no one has to walk through the studio to get to any other rooms in the house, it can be closed off as a separate work space. Mrs. Wortis is usually at one of her three looms by 8:30 in the morning. She works there until 5:30 and is usually back in the studio for a couple of hours in the evening. With the help of an assistant who comes in three times a week, Mrs. Wortis designs and weaves blankets and garments that are sold both wholesale and retail and at major craft fairs.
Mrs. Wortis says that with the workroom so close at hand, she never ''gets away'' from it: ''There is always something to be done.'' But despite the demands of her work, her home studio allows her to be a part of family life and available when her husband or two teen-agers need her.
''Family members are welcome to come in to the studio, but I am disciplined about my time and they respect that,'' she says.
Pamela Painter, a published author and short-story writer, has a similar kind of discipline. When her husband leaves for work, she heads for her home office in their Boston town-house apartment.
Situated partially below street level, her study is quiet and private. Shelves and a desk area are the main features in the narrow room, which has a window at one end. Woven floor rugs, random notes dotting the walls, a small sofa, and various baskets on the floor and shelves give it a comfortable feeling.
Ms. Painter prefers the privacy of her office to her husband's study upstairs , which provides the only access to an outside deck. ''He feels he has to tidy it up when guests go through,'' she explains. ''I like to have everything out. I wouldn't want to have to keep it neat.''