On Your Desk

Karen's studio

Today's desk comes from Karen Squire, who lives just up the road in the city of Exeter. "I noticed that Blog_girl and cat in chair you still sometimes run posts about people's workspaces and working methods," she writes, "and as mine have changed quite significantly since the last time I sent a photo for the "On Your Desk" series, I thought I'd update you...

"I have moved house and studio since Christmas; I'm still living in good old Exeter though, and my new workspace is at EVA Studios on the outskirts of the city. There is a lovely community feel to the place, it reminds me a little bit of art college!Studio witch blog I've also started my own blog, Two Little Pigs, which I try to update as often as I can -- but I'd much rather be painting than scanning and formatting pictures. (I'm sure you can appreciate that!)

"I've very recently signed up with an illustration agency specialising in children's books, so hopefully at some point in the future my work may make it into print. I've certainly been getting a wriggle-on in the past few months and hope to spend the rest of the year progressing further still!"

The charming illustrations here are by Karen. Follow the blog link above to see more. (And be sure to take a stroll through her older posts...there's some lovely work on this blog -- and sketchbook pictures too, which I always love.)

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All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photo) in the first post of the series, and you can view the full series here.


On Your Desk

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Today's desk comes from Brian Anker, who writes:

"Here is my submission for On Your Desk. It's put up with a touch of sadness because we've just moved out of our Edwardian home of 13 years, in Eastleigh, Hampshire (UK). I am a graphic designer and stalled artist, but because of illness I'm not working at the moment -- hence the decision to sell up and downsize to a smaller rented house.

"The picture over the fireplace is by Ed Org, who is a favourite artist of mine. The fairy in the globe was bought by my wife, as a Valentine's Day present, to watch over me."

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"The next three photos are from our new house, located on the outskirts of a attractive market town not far from Winchester.  It's amazing how having your favourite things around you can transform a characterless 1980's box into a home.

"As you can see, it's a lot greener here and I have my morning coffee looking at a grand old Oak tree which fills me with joy. Hopefully this will give me the peace and inspiration to get the pens and paint out again."

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Thank you for contributing to this series, Brian. I'm sure everyone here will join me in the wish that your new home be filled with health, joy, and abundant creativity!

________________________________________________________________________

All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photo) in the first post of the series, and you can view the full series here.


On Your Desk

Background

Today we have workspace photographs from different sides of the world: Christchurch, New Zealand and Oxford, England. First up: Joel Le Blanc in Christchurch, who says:

"I am a freelance writer, poet, book reviewer, editor, herbalist, reiki teacher and unofficial dog-sitter. I live with my partner in a hundred year old cottage -- and I don't think the house is haunted, but you never know.

"The photo above shows the oak desk where I work, which is a storm of chaos -- so much so I think I could divine the future from the configuration of receipts, papers, books and mementos that tend to populate it. I keep textbooks on medicinal plants, natural medicine and nutrition close by for my health articles. But if the science and health all gets a bit much for my brain, all I have to do is turn to my left and stare lovingly at the growing collection of fantasy and mythology books accruing on my bookshelves. As you can see in the close-up photo below, I am working towards a full Charles De Lint Collection...."

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"The office I work in doubles as an art studio for my partner, so the room is filled with the delicious smells of oil paint and turps at various times of the month. Amongst all this I write my poetry, stories, blogs and get my freelance work done. Sometimes I sit studiously at the desk, but after a childhood growing up in the empty and wild north of New Zealand it is difficult to stay cooped up in the studio/office all day. Because of this I get out and about as often as possible with a notebook to a library or cafe (one day I dream to be a writer gypsey on the road, like Rima Staines in her wagon!). If it's a rainy day, like today, I will probably just curl up on my sofa with a hot cup of coffee and a blanket and get a bit of my writing done there."

"I wanted to include one photo at least of my dogs -- this one (below) is called Latte. While I am working hard at my laptop he often will curl up on my toes and sleep, hardly ever leaving my side. We have other dogs, but Latte is the one most dedicated to the 'cause'. At some stage I hope to include him as a character in one of my short stories."

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"The newest addition to the team is my Samsung smartphone. I remember quite clearly announcing to my partner in our kitchen that I wanted to disconnect from technology more and distance myself from the online universe. Sometime in the week that followed, it appeared clear that I absolutely needed to spend a week's earnings on a new smartphone. I am not sure how I came to that conclusion, but it's been a great ally to my writing ever since, enabling me to go out to parks and cafe's and get my work done there. I often need the Internet to read medical research or talk with clients, and this little guy helps me do just that and get out of the house at the same time."

Joel is the founder and editor of Wildberries, the online journal of mythic fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art. You can learn more about Joel and his work by visiting his writing blog, The Rabbit Hill.

Next, we go to Oxford to visit the workspace of Dr. Juliette Harrisson, who says:

"I'm a writer, freelance editor, Classics and ancient history lecturer and blogger. My desk is where I edit, write lectures, blog, attempt to write novels, research, mark electronically-submitted essays, etc., etc., etc...."

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"I rent a single room in a friends' house, so the first photo (above) is of the room where I sleep, eat, work and pretty much do everything!"

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"The second photo is a slightly closer view of the desk, during a rare burst of spring cleaning, with my music on."

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"The third photo shows the view from the desk chair, complete with stuffed animals, coffee, fridge magnets."

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"The fourth photo, above, is a close-up on the Latin and Greek books (and chocolates!) that live under the computer."

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"I always have a cup of coffee (sometimes tea) on my desk and, as the final photo demonstrates, in the evening it is sometimes joined by a glass of wine!

"On my blog, Pop Classics, I review all sorts of bits and pieces of modern popular culture that feature anything Greek or Roman -- the 'Mythology' tab is quite over-used! Readers of this blog might also be interest in my Mum's website: she's a fine artist who moved into textiles when serious neurological illness made painting incresingly difficult."

Thank you, Joel and Juliette, for contributing to the "On Your Desk" series! There are more desks & workspaces coming up next week, so stay tuned....

________________________________________________________________________

All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photo) in the first post of the series, and you can view the full series here.


On Your Desk

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Our next set of intriguing "On Your Desk" photographs comes from reader Icarus! Quinn, who says:

"I'm a writer, photographer, musician, shaman and chaos magician from New Jersey, and my creative/sacred space is called The Womb. It's a two room finished attic which houses all of my books and instruments and computers and assorted toys and stimuli.

"The first photo (above) is of my music/Mac desk. Pretty self explanatory. The second photo (below) is a wider shot of my PC/writing/photoshop desk, with a sneak peek into the front room, where the drums live. The light is always bright in the front room, and always muted in the back, which is a wonderful contrast, especially in the winter."

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"There are two websites I'd be happy to share. One is my blog, My Icarus Moment, which features a lot of my photography, the occasional poem and daily reflections. The other one is for The Idirlion Project, a shamanic/magickal initiative I co-founded with my teacher last year, taking the sigilization techniques of Austin Spare and bringing them into the 21st century."

Thank you, Icarus!

________________________________________________________________________

All readers of this blog are welcome to contribute to the "On Your Desk" series. You'll find more information (and the address where you should send your photo) in the first post of the series, and you can view the full series here.


On Your Desk

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Today's photos for the "On Your Desk" series come from two of my favorite people from the younger generation of mythic artists: painter/designer Yoann Lossel and writer/potter Claire Briant. They live in an old stone farmhouse on the edge of the Forest of Broceliande in Brittany, France (a landscape thoroughly steeped in Arthurian and Celtic myth), creating art out of paint, clay, words, ancient legends, symbols, spells, and the mysteries of nature.

In the photograph above, we see Yoann at his desk in the studio room the two artists share. Below is a close-up photograph of Claire's desktop: 

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"This is the place where I write, draw, and dream," she says. "You can see some of the many pictures covering the wall, as well as some quotes. I like to let my eyes wander on this wall; it really does inspire me when I write. At this time, I keep only two books on my desktop: one on pottery (the red one, which is kind of a bible) and the other dealing with ornamentation. I use them to create designs for my pottery."

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"In this next picture (above), you can see both of our desktops and the pictured-covered wall."

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"Here is Yoann's desk. It's twice as large as mine, as he does spend a lot of time here. This desk is dedicated to graphic art, and composing designs for books and websites. Obviously (as you can see from the speakers on his desktop), Yoann likes to listen to music as he works. On the left are some of our books, especially the ones we use as reference for our projects. These include Arthurian legends, myths in general, illustrators we love (like Dulac, Doré, Rackham, Beardsley, and Alan Lee), Oriental philosophy, cosmology, and quantum physics (which is truly Yoann's field)."

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"When you look on the other side of the room you can see Yoann's painting place. The painting on the right is called Imperial Twilight. The other canvas is still white, waiting...for a snowy landscape.... In the middle are all the different preparations and secret recipes of the painter, waiting to be used. What a smell!!"

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"Here is my very filthy pottery workshop. This is what I first see when I enter the place from my house. All the pieces you see here are drying, waiting to be fired."

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"Above, another picture-covered wall, with reproductions you'll surely know, and some of  my creations of patterns. On the work table are more bowls and cups just finished, drying."

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"Here's my wheel, kind of neat for once. The big lazy black cat is Dude. He is forbidden to come inside the workshop, because he is my most demanding art director. Some mornings, I enter the place and see broken pieces of what use to be a pot."

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"Above: more pots, and a sculpture as well. This is my first sculpture, and a second is coming soon."

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"This big blue thing is my kiln. It sits just outside in a shelter made of windows and wood."

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"So, here we step outside the workshop, directly into the garden. You can see six big green bottles of gas, which are here not to blow up the place, but to get my kiln working! Two at a time will be enough."

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"And this is our garden. We spend a lot of time out here, just listening to the birds, watching the sky and clouds. It looks a bit dry these days, however, and those clouds aren't bringing any rain...."

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Yoann Lossel's paintings have been published in L'Univers des Dragons II, Le Chaudron Magique, and The "Sir Lanval" Exhibition Catalog, among other places,; and there is an "Around the Table" interview with the artist forthcoming on the John Barleycorn blog. (I'll post a link to it when it's up.) To see more of Yoann's beautiful paintings and drawings, please visit his website.

Sir Lanval by Yoann Lossel
Claire Briant's pottery is exhibited and sold in Brittany; she is currently at work on a variety of magical writing projects; and she is also associated with the Centre de l'Imaginaire Arthurien in the Forest of Broceliande. The photograph below shows a lovely pot that Claire made for me and Howard, inspired by the lines and lore of swans.

Swan Pot by Claire Briant