Over the last few weeks I’ve moved my studio to beyond the beauty of the rammed earth structure it’s been housed in for the last four years. Now the studio is located down a curving brick and cobble pathway at the end of my garden, just a 30 step walk away from home and placed in the heart of the city.
I am delighted by the idea of working in a space that is rent free, close to home and easy on the commute. The Shed, as it was known before becoming my studio, has been full of our junk for years. Exploding in piles, and on jumbled shelves, to a point of being unmanageable, useless objects that I treasured and no longer needed piled in abandoned chaos, hidden behind two large barn doors. Shelves burdened of tins containing a lifetimes worth of nails and screws that had no certain future. Light fixtures, paints, tools, wires, the box of Ikea pieces that never quite made it in their intended piece – the left overs of projects done and gone.
The space was once a potters studio, and since I had always had offices with employees and needed room for the manufacturing of bags, it never occurred to me to reclaim this space as my own. It’s taken a while to adjust to the fact that now, without the burden of manufacturing, I can really work out of anywhere. So long as there is electricity and internet. Admittedly, leaving the beautiful museum quality architecture of my last space at the compound was hard, but the reality of my lease being over, my friend and landlord wanting to claim it back as his high tech conference room for his business in the near future, and the reality of no overhead other than the mortgage I already pay, was just too sweet to ignore.
I have a new creative space and with it a new project I’m birthing. BoxFiftyFour, as it is now called, is a small boutique music production house, offering independent artists a space to utilize digital and physical release of their own recorded projects or artwork through a variety of distribution sources as an outlet. I am just in labor right now – bringing this project to play, and I’ll let you know when the website is up and running.
Why BoxFiftyFour? I went through a lot of different names to start with, but kept coming back to what Wikipedia described as a semiperfect number because – namely – it was given to me – literally.
I signed up for a new PO Box for my new office, and I received Box 54. This is an old post office that houses several thousand PO Boxes, so I imagine I inherited a little bit of history with that low number. Then I dug around on the internet for any other reasons I could find to build on this little gift, and I was surprised by just some of the offerings:
-54 is the number of grains that can have the Chinese rosary originating from the Buddhist.
-The Pentateuch (Torah) is divided into fifty four (54) weekly sections, called Paracha or Sidra. The Paracha is read in the synagogue during the morning office of the Chabbat.
-There are 54 volumes that compose the Tripitaka of Buddhism.
-54 cards to a deck (if you include the two jokers)
-In rare cases the calendar can get 54 weeks in a year. This situation happens in every 28 years when the 1st of January and the 31st of December form separate weeks. Of course, it must be a leap year.
After this research (and there were plenty more magical 54 offerings)…what reason would I have to not name the company BoxFiftyFour. Naming a company is as important as naming a child. I will have to live with it through the good times and the hard times so I better like the name. I love that this is a “semi perfect” number and when anyone asks me where the name comes from I can use any of these reasons!
The concept of the company BoxFiftyFour came about earlier in 2013 when an artist I work with pointed out that there was not a music house in the region for independent musicians to use as a place to turn to release their music, get help with their projects and I’ve been doing this for a while for several artists – so it is more an expansion of my current projects – and for a while there had been a few small houses emerging, but now departed. So I am working on my business plan, understanding the scope of the project and funding.
I’ve unpacked and settled in nicely, and those old and unloved out of sight worldly goods that cluttered up my studio are spread across the community via the large yard sale that we held last weekend. I had no idea how much stuff we were hoarding until we pulled it out of the shed to take inventory, and it was a record breaking yard sale like no other I’ve had! It was as if the past twenty years of my life threw up on my front yard. There were treasures purchased on my travels, antiques bought on a whim (before the great recession), momentos of my first worldly possessions of my life in Tucson, and tactile delights that thrilled any avid yard sale and picker.
I moved to Tucson twenty years ago with two suitcases, two dogs and a down comforter in my old Lincoln Continental (named aptly Connie Lentil) after a trip around America – Connie gave a final sigh outside my trailer door one day and only moved again once I had her towed away.
Already given up all worldly possessions twice before by choice (moving from London to Los Angeles at age 22 and then Los Angeles to Tucson at age 32) and I was surprised just how easy it was to let go again. Perhaps it just takes practice, but once you get a taste for unburdening the weight, a yard sale is a great way to purge. It is almost as vital as hitting the ‘refresh’ button.
I’ve been settling in and making plans, and getting organized. My friends told me I’d spend more time in my kitchen, I’d stop getting dressed and lounge around in my pajamas all day, but I have stuck to routine – as I have for the last twenty years. I get dressed and put my shoes on, comb my hair, and commute the 30 steps into my back yard, and open up those double doors because it would honestly be too weird to go on a 3 mile hike every morning and then come home, shower and get back into my pajamas.
Here’s to new beginnings and BoxFiftyFour. Here’s to the shortest most sustainable commute in my life.