Today, while the snow piles up outside, I'll start in sunny Los Angeles, where my friends James Graham and Julia Latané now live. They are both wonderful artists, fairy tale fans, and founders of the Tooleshed Studios in downtown Tucson (where I had my art studio for many years). Their work and careers are thriving in L.A., but they are still deeply missed in Tucson.
"I am sending this in for Julia," says James (of the photograph above), "who is having way too much of an artgasm to do anything else. This is her dry studio, just outside of our bedroom in Highland Park, Los Angeles. Julia draws in this room and welds and builds in the garage. She is working on a series of drawings about how to protect me from harm. [James has spent much time recovering his strength after two bad accidents.] We do have desks but she is too impatient to see her work on the wall to use them."
James is a photographer and writer (you can read his work in the archives of The Journal of Mythic Arts), and his workspace is below. "My little photo studio," he says, "is in the corner of our front room. Right next to the kitchen and the siren song of the fridge. It is small but perfect for my work, which is all still life color and form studies. Just past that is Julias drawing studio, so there is a lot of: 'c'mere look at this' between the two of us. "
Now we travel to Toronto, Canada with three photographs from Cathy Francis of the legendary Flying Dragon Bookshop. (How I wish we had a branch of that shop right here!)
"My desk is tucked away in the depths of the bookshop," says Cathy, "behind the literary salon and storeroom. At this time of the year, I don't have much time to spend here as I'm on the sales floor. But in the afternoon, I love to sneak down for cup of tea and ponder the future of the store surrounded by the cozy clutter of windows past. After Christmas there will be time enough to go through, stacks of catalogs, order new books and envision wondrous displays. But for now it's back upstairs to find just the right home for each book in the shop."
The fourth photo (below) is of Cathy's desk at her country cottage -- where, she says, "I do my most creative pondering away from the store. There as I gaze out the window at the lake, I'm surrounded by my favorite books, projects on the go and my woolly mammoth of a dog, Calvin (not shown in the picture because he was sound asleep on the bed)."
The next desktop comes Virginia M. Mohlere, a writer and editor who lives on the outskirts of Houston, Texas:
Virginia writes magical, fairy-tale flavored work published in such excellent little journals as Goblin Fruit, Cabinet des Fees, and Mythic Delirium. She says: "I actually do very little work at this desk: I usually write wedged into a corner of the sofa with a notebook perched on my knee. But I'm taking a work-at-home day from The Dreaded Day Job (as a medical editor) - hence the ridiculous pajamas seen in the foreground (which I just had to include). Teacups and knitting are ubiquitous in my life."
(Look closely and you'll spot Jane Yolen at her desk on the computer screen.)
Our last photo of the morning is a delightfully atmospheric one from my friend and neighbor Miriam Boy, a German-born artist who lives just a few houses down from me here in Devon:
I love what Miriam has to say about the space:
"I make and design jewellery in a shed in our garden which I converted into a workshop," she writes. "It is very small, but very cosy, and all I need, since you don't need much space in jewellery-making. My window faces a big tree in the neighbour's garden, where I can somtimes watch a robin sitting in a branch very close...and behind that is the beautiful landscape of the Devon hills and the moor beyond. I have never cleaned the window, partly because I don't like cleaning very much, but partly because I like the cobwebs in the corners...and the fact that when I am working the rest of the world, and my daily busy life, disappear behind a veil of dust and become slightly invisible. (This is worth a lot, considering the fact that I have three lovely, lively children!) My hours in my cosy corner are my refuge, my time to be creative, be calm, listen to classical music (the only station my very old radio wants to play), gather my thoughts and find the inspiration to do what I love doing: creating pieces of jewellery that have meaning, certainly to me and, I hope, to the people who wear them."
Her work definitely has great meaning to Howard and me, for she made our wedding rings (pictured below).
If you'd like to contribute a picture to the "On Your Desk" series, you are very welcome to do so. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photo) in the first post of the series. Click here for the full series so far, and here for our last photo series: "The View from Your Window."