20 April 2007

tar & daisies

I have had a love hate relationship with my studio ever since I moved into it eight years ago. I once had a garage space studio in the lovely San Francisco neighbourhood of Potrero Hill complete with a backyard garden, a fig tree that had doves nesting in it and Java, the neighbors dog, to keep me company. Then the dot com boom hit and I (like so many other people) was forced out by a doubled rent that I could not afford. I put my studio in storage for about a year until my good friend Maggie offered to rent me a corner of her warehouse space in the Bayview District of San Francisco. I remember very well the first time I drove out to look at the space. It was a rainy gray day and as I drove closer to the warehouse I became increasingly depressed. It did not resemble my fig tree studio one bit. Push came to shove and I took Maggie up on her offer and moved in. I was spoiled by my Potrero Hill studio and now had to settle for the urban tangle of the Bayview.

Since I moved into the building I have occupied three different spaces. I moved with Maggie twice as her business grew and then she went out of business in 2002 and then Beni , a potter down the hall offered me a space in his studio.
As the years have passed my distaste for my studio and the neighborhood has turned into affection and appriciation. The building mostly houses businesses, including everything from fortune cookie makers, harpsichord builders, motorcycle mechanics, popcorn poppers, cheese distributors, model makers, shippers, purse manufacturers, the odd painter, screen printers and the most interesting of all...a dildo maker. Oh yes, I have a piano builder on one side of me and a dildo maker on the other side. A girls dream indeed...music and well...eh hem, you get it... To top it off there is a French bakery downstairs so the smell of fresh bread baking greets me when I come into the building. Pleasure indeed! These things have succeeded in distracting me from the piles of garbage everywhere, the drug users and vagrants that hang out in the back of the building and the enormous field that stretches to the bay that is oh so beautiful and oh so toxic (it was once a navy shipyard and is contaminated with all kinds of toxic waste). There are even a couple of dogs named Ginger and Zed that greet me with barks and wagging tails when I drive into the parking lot.

There is beauty there too though sometimes I have to look for it through the muck. I was taking photographs today along the fence that divides the warehouse parking lot from the toxic field. I was admiring all the wild flowers in bloom, picking yellow daisies and then I stepped on something very strange only to realize it was an old glove stuck to an oozing blob of black tar. That is kind of how it is out there, tar and daisies... All mixed together. I like the fact that it a place where people work and are creative but it is not just artists. I like the mix of professional and eccentric. I like the guy who regularly walks through the parking lot and hollers out to me "Hey Girrrrl!" I holler back, How ya doin' ?! Then I head up to my studio betwixt the dildo maker and the piano builder and get to work.


lisa s said...

sometimes the tar makes the daisies look sweeter....

hope to see you soon!

sulu-design said...

Gorgeous photos. Tar and daises sums up the environment where I live... so much beauty, so much yuck. Sometimes, though, that yuck has a way of looking pretty darn good itself.

Sarah said...

Hey - I found you on The Purl Bee and your blog caught my eye because I am looking for a studio myself! In NYC. *sigh* Right now I wish I could have one with a parking lot and a toxic feild! A few weeds would be lovely. Your pictures are gorgeous. Looking forward to reading more.

Ron said...

Diana, I have wondered about your studio, it's location, and what it's like. It sounds like a great place in it's own unique way. Thanks for the insight.

Listoria said...

My what an interesting mix in your building! I really like how you describe it; I can see it in my minds eye.

At least it's not boring where your studio is!

:^) Tiffany