In the early spring of 2020 the possibility of a personal creative space on the Isle of Iona was a distant spark. Thus, it is with utmost pleasure that I am introducing The Whale Bone Studio to you now.
With the help of Pret a Voyager‘s Mapping Your Path course, I began to sketch out the dream: a pencil outline, where the desk, the chair and the plan chest would go, lists of wants (No.1. Anglepoise Lamp.) needs (A reasonable distance from the back door, with a cup of tea in hand.) and desires (Wood-burning stove. An arm chair. A square window looking West. etc.)
The pros and cons of building were debated, different companies researched, sums added up and crossed out. Plankbridge came out top. After much deliberation the specifications for a custom built shepherd’s hut were decided, and the deposit put down. Then months of waiting, with a blustery winter of storms and cancelled ferries. Every now and then, photos of the build would appear in my inbox, and I’d try to picture how it might look.
Finally the stars of makers, hauliers and weather aligned. It took three hours to manoeuvre in to position. All I could do was ooh and ahh and shriek at the wobbly bumpy bits. You can watch the speeded up film of it here.
Then there it was, in place, with a long picture window looking out at Dun I.
And that square window of my dreams, where I can see silver lines of sea, punctuated by islands.
At the moment there is a chair, a blanket, a stack of wood, and matches for the stove. A space potent with becoming. An open book.
A place to read, write, think, look and imagine.
The plinth where the hut sits had become a place where bones that washed up on the beach were gathered to rest, so the studio found its name.
The Whale Bone Studio has electricity, but I prefer to watch stars in the dark.
While mostly solitary, I hope Snuffy might come and keep me company sometimes.
Over the next couple of months, the plan is ‘reverse productivity’, to do as little online work as possible .
It’s time to put the ‘Paper’ back in @PaperHazell – to set out paper, bone folder, ink, a needle and thread to see what happens.
Thanks to the Johns Maclean and Cockburn, Meg (for the name,) Anne Ditmeyer, Plankbridge and all those of you who have attended a workshop, bought Bound or signed up for MapLove or WrapLove – You have brought this dream to life. Thank you.