So… we’ve been back in Joburg for the past couple of months (while Nick works on 3 back-to-back Joburg-based films).  Once again, we’ve been living in our Joburg house (which we had previously rented out for a year while we travelled)… and – for now… (or – at least until the end of September)… Joburg is where we remain.

I’ve been a bit quiet on this blog of late… mostly because I have been investing MOST of my time and focus into finishing my illustrated book, “How Heather got her HAT’ness back”.

Today – I thought I’d touch base with you guys… (just so you know I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet)… and give you a little peek around my Joburg workspace.

My studio is a smallish room on the ground floor of our home.  It has doors that open onto the back garden (in Summer, I keep the doors open to let in a breeze… but since we’re nearing Winter and it’s getting chilly – I keep the doors shut).

When I write my poetry – I need a certain measure of silence.  I can’t listen to the radio… or even listen to songs… because the lyrics in the songs mess with the poetry in my head – and I get confused.  So… if I’m writing poems or songs… then silence it is.

But… if I’m drawing or painting… then I listen to NPR (I’ve become a bit of an addict).  My favourite programs are the TED Radio Hour – and On The Media.

So here’s the first pic:

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That’s my art-desk.  If I’m not drawing or writing in coffee shops (like I am today)… I’m drawing at that desk.  It’s usually much more of a mess – but I tidied it up a bit for the photo.  The clipboards on the wall remind me of my tasks and to-do’s (because – unless things are right in front of my face – regularly – I forget about them!).

In the far corner (behind the purple lamp) is my Basket-of-Ideas.  Every time I have another idea (which is pretty much all the time)… I decide whether the idea has any value-for-the-future… or whether it’s just a “pleasant thought”.  If the idea has potential – I scribble it down on a scrap of paper and add it to the Basket-of-Ideas.

I do this – because I can then carry on focusing on the Task-at-Hand (instead of being distracted and led off track by every single idea that pops into my head).  Once I’ve added an idea to the basket… I can just, in a sense – let-it-go… and tell myself “It’s okay.  The idea won’t be forgotten.  It’s in the Basket.  But right now, you need to focus on the book!  Book FIRST!”

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(Above):  This is the door to my studio.

As you can see, it says “Creative Creature lurks within”.  I do odd, random stuff like this.  There really is no method to my madness.  I’m not the type of artist that has a very specific thought or idea in my head of how I want any painting to “look” afterwards.  I’m very much a go-with-the-flow kind of person.  I throw some paint onto the door – and kinda see what it turns in to.  In this case – it turned into a very weird, mad-looking person with an afro.  And the word “Why”.  I can’t even remember why I painted Why.

Next to that is my  black filing cabinet…. where I pour out the content of my head (as a means to stay sane).  That cabinet is packed with ideas, scribbles, quotes, sketches, essays, potential blog topics, photographs, stories…. endless… endless… content and ideas….

On top of the cabinet is a basket containing some of my (many-many) art-journals.  Behind the cabinet is an old door… where I’ve pinned a bunch of random photos and postcards.  And next to that is a bookshelf that contains my heavier coffee-table books… and a shit-load of photo albums.  If you look carefully, you’ll see my coconut pirate grinning from the shelf (I like quirky, random things… that just bring a little sideways-smile to my face)… 🙂

Here’s a closer photo of the bookshelf stuffs….:

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IMG_0007(Above):  This is my Design-Mode desk.

It’s on the opposite side of the room to the Drawing-Desk.  This is the side of the room that I work on when I’m writing, blogging or designing.  The Big-Mac is a throw-back from my years when I still ran Cops Creative Corporation.  I love the huge size of the screen… but, it’s now such a dinosaur… and so-so-so painfully slow!

I’d like a nice new (fast!!!) Mac to design on…  (but that’ll have to wait for a while).

Next to that is the faithful laptop (which I’m typing this blog on).  That laptop has travelled all over the country and the world with me.  It’s – by far – the most used piece of equipment that I own.

The round, black thing in the bottom left-hand corner is a microphone that I’ve borrowed from a friend (so that I can record a voice-over for a promo video that Nick and I are making for the Hat-book).

On the far-far right… in an old wine bottle…. is a big Protea.  Proteas are my favourite flower.  That one is half-dead… but I’m determined to keep it there for a few more days.

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(Above):  The Art Materials…

These are the goodies I use the most.  Watercolour pencils… water colour paints… different coloured inks… basics like pencils, sharpener, eraser, scissors, glues…. Copic markers… and every size of black Unipin pen that exists.

I schlep this whole lot to coffee shops (including my blocks of water-colour paper).  I often say that… if somebody locked me up in solitary confinement… (say – in a prison)… I would be able to retain my sanity if I had paper and a pen.  Throughout my life… paper and pens have been (and this might sound a bit dramatic – but it’s true) – absolutely vital to my mental health.   Because my brain generates so many ideas… I have to get them out on paper… some how – some way.  If I don’t…  I start feeling manic. Try not to think too badly of me…

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(Above):  Some of the stuff on my shelf.  My most dog-eared reference books are the dictionary, the thesaurus (now completely falling apart) and the rhyming dictionary.  These days – I don’t use them as much as I used to.  I usually use the online versions… but – I keep them close – just in case the internet is down.

Also – if you’ve read the first part of my book… you’ll know why the peacock feather is there.  It’s a daily reminder for me not to lose track of myself again… not to lose my HAT’ness again….

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And that’s it!  A quick little tour of my studio space… and a reminder that I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet!

If you have any questions… or if you’d like me to post about anything in particular (whether art process… materials… or ANYTHING else you’re curious about)… just add a comment!

Chat soon….! X