Friday, May 28, 2010

A Visit to Beth Curtin's Studio

Welcome to my studio! It is a wonderful, sunny room in an old mill building in New England. The walls are full of my portrait work. These pictures are part of a series called "The Thayer Street Project," portraits of young people posing in front of their favorite shop or restaurant on a busy street in Providence, Rhode Island.

Here is the little corner where I draw. I am working on a contemporary annunciation scene, using a favorite painting by the Flemish primitive Campin for inspiration and help.

I also have colorful abstract pastels laying about, and inspiring collage materials.

I love color, and my studio is messy with it.

A lot of the color comes from my sewing and doll making supplies. This is a quilt my daughter and I are making together.

If you are a waldorf doll maker, you know why I have band-aids in the studio.

I think it is good for me to mix the art and craft sides of me in one place. I used to keep them separate.

It is good to have a place to try things and to make mistakes. These are failed doll experiments,

and doll clothing designs which didn't work.

To be comfortable in my studio, I need toys for when my child is with me.

I need natural things.

I need children's art.

I need a little kitchen area for making warm drinks and lunch.

I need inspiring books and magazines. Here are some of my vintage Threads magazines, which used to belong to my friend Magda.

I need to feel it is clean and cozy so that I can take off my shoes and feel at home.

I need a place to sit comfortably and do hand sewing, and room for visitors, because I love to make art with friends.

I need to feel it is okay to be messy.

I am so lucky to have all these things. I think all of us need a special place to make things. Perhaps it is not a whole room, luxuriously large like this one, my first studio away from home. But we creators need a spot, especially a spot where the mess can be left out. My husband has always helped me make a special place, whether it was in an office shared with him, or a corner of the guest room. Thank you, Sweetie.

Something else which you need in your studio is your energy. I want to share a little story with you told to me by an artist friend. She had a studio away from home, and small children. She would hire a sitter to come watch the children, and before the sitter arrived, she would bustle around her house doing all the chores, the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. By the time she got to the studio, she was so tired she would fall asleep on the cement floor. We must save a part of ourselves for creating. You can do the chores when you are tired and half-awake, but it is hard to either be a mother or create art without a rested mind and spirit, and some physical energy. And it is worth making the space for creating in our lives and in our homes, because we can pour the energy which art gives to us right back into our families.

This is the first in a series about studios for Natural Kids blog, organized by Tonya of naturalearthfarm. I'm looking forward to seeing other people's creative work spaces as this series continues.

If you want to see more of my art, go to, my new website, which is under construction. My waldorf doll etsy shop is


Appleshoe said...

Oh Beth. Bear has been telling me to craft first for so long. This really touched me. Thank you. I will open my store yet!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear dear Beth,

I am on the road today and just pulled out my computer and saw your new posting. OH HOW LUCKY I feel to have shared this moment with you. Wonderful space, but mostly I love the SPARK and GLOW that emanates from it.

I thank you for sharing this with me. I needed to refuel my mental tank, and you did it.


Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island (AND the banks of the Missouri River on a HOT day)

sarah in the woods said...

Wow - my daughter would love it there!

softearthart said...

So wonderful to see the space where you create Beth,it is full of balance and harmony,just the very place for new ideas to enter, love and light, Marie

Mandy said...

wow girl!!!!you are very lucky indeed...what an day!!!xxxzing space to h

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for sharing your colorful space. It seems like the kind of place I'd love to have tea, and watch you work!

June said...

Thank you for sharing Beth, you are so inspirational, and the energy part is so right on. I have a husband too, who re-did our bonus room after my eldest went out on her on and turned it into my dream space, but it won't do much if I'm not in it or I'm too distracted or exhausted! :) Lovely, lovely space for a lovely person.

Salley said...

Thanks for the tour of your studio and the details that make it work for you. You are a hard working woman!

marcia said...

Thank you for sending this link to me.

Do you know the minute I opened it I KNEW I had been here before?(online that is)
I was..but needed to be running out the door that second and couldn't continue.

Beth, from my heart your space takes my breath away. I could live day in and day out in your space and glow from the time I awaken until slumber overtakes me.

You are so fortunate to have a place like that to create in, but then again it was YOU who made it that way!

You are so gifted and your art is outstanding. I so agree with you that we have to make the time for art. It rejuvenates and replenishes us way down to our soul.

We really should get together this summer !

happy day!

Nadja said...

How beautiful your studio is, with its kaleidoscope of colors! Real eye-candy!