Best-Laid Plans… and Messy Studio Tables!


messy studio table - artsyletters

I’ll explain this messy table in just a minute.  But first, a quick catch-up:

My plans last month were:  Travel to help oldest (daughter) get set up her brand new third-grade classroom, return home, travel with hubby to get youngest (son) settled in to his second year of college, return home, and work like a crazy person in my downtown studio, creating at a record pace to fill my Etsy shop and my local display at Fordham Market for the busy fall season.

Reality was:  The very night of the college move-in, what I thought was an annoying pulled muscle in the back of my shoulder (that I’d ignored for weeks) suddenly morphed into something excruciating.  Pain not only engulfed my shoulder, but my entire arm and hand as well. So began my adventure with entrapped nerves – the ones that exit  the vertebrae in the neck and pass through the Scalene muscles (the three muscles in the side of the neck).

I am beyond thankful to have found a neuromuscular massage therapist with a masters in physical therapy.  (Think part relief/part torture.)  She is slowly putting me to rights, but it’s a long healing process.  Still don’t have complete feeling in my last two fingers or full strength in my right hand; still packing myself in ice several times a day to chill in the recliner we ended up buying.  (This condition does not lend itself to much actual sleep!) Note to my artist and writer friends:  years of hunching over drawing tables and keyboards contributes to the possibility of this!  So, take frequent breaks.  Watch that posture.  Breathe.

Anyway, my therapist recently “allowed” me to work an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, if I rest with ice in between.

She even made my buy two timers – one for the studio, one for the computer. two timers




I’ve been SO happy to be able to make some art, and make a mess, even if it’s for short periods!  Just so happens I was trying out a technique I’d recently seen in a video by the talented and generous Seth Apter.  He had demonstrated a way to use textured wallpaper samples and gesso when working on mixed media surfaces.  This necessitated, of course, that I find a really cool book of Italian wallpaper samples on eBay and purchase it.  Yes, I did.

I’d been trying out this technique the last couple of days in my brief studio visits.  Then late today I stumbled on a Twitter link to a fun round-up Seth is doing on his blog, The Altered Page.  He’s invited artists to submit links to their own blog posts featuring their messy studio tables!  Kind of a come-as-you-are-party, rather than the polished and perfect studio pictures we all drool over in magazines.

I figured since my current project – making backgrounds for some small mixed media pieces (pix of those soon – promise!  My idea is actually turning out…), I had to knock at the blog party door even if I’m a little late today.  So there’s my messy studio table up there, and here are a couple more pictures:

working on mixed media substrates, with the help of some Italian wallpaper...!

working on mixed media substrates, with the help of some Italian wallpaper…!

Love me some gesso....

Love me some gesso….

I have plans for these....

I have plans for these….

and I can’t wait to spend LOTS of time in here, making more messes!

messy table studio vertical 2

If you love sneak peeks into working studios, be sure to check out all the great links artists have submitted to The Altered Page.  That will keep me busy in my recliner for quite a while.  And if you’d like to see more of my own studio, I posted a little “tour” a few weeks ago, here.  Thanks for coming by!

22 thoughts on “Best-Laid Plans… and Messy Studio Tables!

  1. Oh Robyn, I’m so sorry to hear about your nerve/muscle thing. You poor thing. It sounds excruciating. 🙁 Is it something that will heal completely? It’s a good reminder to take frequent breaks alright. I know if I don’t do my yoga on a regular basis, I get very stiff and sore, especially in my neck and upper back area.

    I loved seeing pictures of your studio, too! Messy or not. If you’re like me, even though it’s messy, you still know where everything is. Take it easy and I hope you feel better soon. (((hugs))) Now, I’m off to do my yoga. 😉

    • Gisele! So great to see you here. :0) I think of you often.

      Glad to hear you are taking care of yourself. I should heal fine, but it evidently takes forever. I’ll also have to heed my own advice and regularly stretch, watch posture, etc. etc. :0! You know, this move over the past year involved countless solo trips (about 6 hours each way) with my schlepping way too many boxes, furniture items, etc. while hubby was already working here; that kind of thing can catch up with you! Thanks again for stopping by, & enjoy your yoga.

  2. Love those Italian wallpaper backgrounds! I saw the blog post where you introduce us to your studio, also — fantastic! How wonderful to have all those little drawers 🙂

    I’m sorry that recovery from your injury has been so slow and painful. I’m sure “take frequent breaks” is good advice for us all.

  3. I feel for your pain. I’m glad you were lucky enough to find someone to help get you back in shape. I think your desk looks surprisingly organized, especially since you have such limited time working in it. I also hope to see those projects you are working on now when they are finished. I can remember when some of the big box home improvement stores gave samples of that paper away. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore.

    • Thanks so much for clicking over! I loved “visiting” your studio. Appreciate the kind wishes, too. And – I remember loving to pour over those sample books growing up. Didn’t know I’d be tracking them down to buy and use many years later!

  4. So sorry about all of this, so happy that you’ve made progress. It must be so frustrating, Robyn. And in the midst of it, you’re still creating fabulous art. I’m happy to see what you’re doing, & of course, wish you improvement every day!

    • Thank you, Eric – definitely not as neat as yours. (And I did NOT pan to the rest of the studio, you notice…) ;0)
      Great to discover your blog through Seth’s project! Thanks for coming by.

  5. WOW! The project you are sharing here looks FABULOUS! And I like the studio table with your banner draped over it – very cool!
    Sorry to learn about your muscle issues, but glad you DID find a trained and qualified person to help you regain your strength, even though it might be a slog to get back to where you were. I suffered some leg injuries. This summer and it’s been a drag to not be able to do what I usually do, so I feel for you, and I will certainly take your advice to heart to take breaks, watch my posture and BREATHE 🙂
    Thanks for stopping my own ‘studio table’ – I’m off to check out your other studio link now!

    • Monica, Hi – and thanks for coming over! I’m loving getting to know other artists and their spaces (real and virtual) through Seth’s blog. Hope your health continues to improve so you can create, create, create :0)

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