“The artist is not a different kind of person,
but every person is a different kind of artist.”
— Eric Gill
I never considered myself ‘artistic’ as a child — others could draw so much more skillfully than I, and that was the standard by which I dismissed my efforts. Further, I naively conflated artistry with creativity, consistently thinking myself also ‘uncreative,’ and I was well into my young adulthood before I recognized that I am indeed a very creative person at core (and maybe even an occasionally ‘artistic’ creative person). In fact, I live to create: children, gardens, a home, memories . . . meaning. Throughout my life, creating things has been my way of bringing purpose to my existence. From smocking dresses for my daughter to conjuring interior and exterior designs for our homes and gardens over the years to practicing kitchen chemistry in service of producing meals both festive and quotidian, creating is my raison d’être. So, while my concept for Acorn Lodge is informed by the design style and ideals of the English Arts & Crafts movement, I am also determined that each of the structures, and indeed the property itself, will provide opportunity and support for the pursuit of arts and crafts, small ‘a’ and ‘c’ as well.
In particular, the design for the Barn includes what we’re calling a ‘craft kitchen.’ My husband and son (and father, and brother-in-law) have developed an interest in brewing their own beer. I don’t drink beer, but I’m happy to have them develop this interest and begin to acknowledge their own creative instincts, especially as retirement nears for my husband. I just don’t want to have to share my kitchen! The brewing process is hours long — happy, productive hours, but hours nonetheless in which the kitchen is ceded entirely to the brewing process. A dedicated brewing space, though absolutely a luxury, will no doubt prove valuable in terms of giving us each some space, both literally and metaphorically. Furthermore, this second kitchen will lend itself to the pursuit of other crafts (bread-making, preserving, honey-processing, and cheese-making come to mind right off the bat), leaving the Lodge kitchen at my disposal for meeting our needs for daily sustenance.
I’ll have a dedicated work area in the Lodge, upstairs, for the pursuit of fiber crafts: sewing, knitting, felting, smocking, and embroidery. Being able to leave a project out, mid-process, in an out-of-the-way space will be another luxury for me (and a relief to my neatnik hubby). My piano (playing which being a craft I waited half-of-a-lifetime to pursue) will be placed in the Cottage, awaiting frequent practice sessions away from ears that do not necessarily appreciate the requisite repetitions of rehearsal(!). The plans for the kitchen garden include a greenhouse, so I’ll be able to grow year-round, and create menus from the ‘field’ to the table for every season. All in all, there should be plenty of well-supported opportunity at Acorn Lodge to sustain meaning in our lives, to allow us to experience a sense of purpose: each of these crafts, with enough practice, will allow for the possibility of achieving some level of artistry, we hope, but at the very least, we’ll have plenty of good reasons to get up and going each day!