Doroth Mayer

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Synergy: Making a Home Studio Work

For a short time, I had a traditional studio outside my home. It didn’t work for me. Part of the reason was that I still had a full-time job and by the time I got home, I didn’t want to go out again. But it was more than that. Although I had rented it to be part of a community of artists, that never happened. Maybe it was my hours. Maybe being in a building with other artists just wasn’t enough. The long and short of it was that when I retired from my day job, I was ready to try something different.

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So I converted my house and yard to meet my needs and to share with friends. Because my art making involves natural processes—eco-printing and dyeing, rusting, and printing cyanotypes—alternative spaces are ideal. I converted two upstairs rooms into a workshop. They’re warm and cozy, have great light, and are big enough for four people to work comfortably. Instead of grass, my yard is composed of plants (some call them weeds) for dyeing. And the garage and basement have space for the messy, smelly stuff like rusting and cooking plants for dyes.

And community? I’ve learned it requires intention.
Art in the Garden has been one avenue for creating it. (Follow Art in the Garden on FB to learn what we did in 2017 and for upcoming programs in 2018.) Another is a plan to create opportunities for young African women to learn dyeing/printing processes that align with their culture. To explore our own art processes, a couple of us have signed up for “Creative Strength Training,” a series offered via Internet by the awesome Jane Dunnewold.

And for those Twin Cities women who want to “slow stitch” together, message me!

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