It’s usually not the easiest thing to do, even when it becomes obvious; there are time constraints, the necessary need for money, and societal standards to “live up to,” but when it comes down to it, you just have to take the plunge. It’s amazing how, when you follow your dreams, things seem to magically fall into place as they should. Life becomes more exciting and also more fulfilling. Suddenly you have more to contribute to the world around you; you meet the right people, or stumble upon the right opportunities at the right time. You may be poor (or not if you are lucky!), but for the most part happier and healthier. For the past few months I’ve been doing just that (what I love), but I’ve been working out of a room in our rented house. Although I have been meeting so many new wonderful people in Savannah, I’ve also been somewhat isolated. And not only that, but I’ve only been working on the half of it. I love screen-printing, but I am very much looking forward to partaking in an artistic community and working on my painting again. I feel the need to be in close proximity to other people who are doing what they love, whatever that may be.
So you can imagine how excited I was to finally see the Wooden Sheep Wood Shop in Savannah today. This space is amazing! You may have heard me mention Wooden Sheep on Facebook, because they also have a beautifully curated shop that promotes local artists and sustainable practices (and happen to be carrying my shirts). The “shop”, opened by two SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) grads with degrees in sustainable architecture, is a two-part operation. Eric makes beautifully crafted furniture out of recycled wood in a warehouse and Ben runs and curates the boutique/gallery on Liberty Street, which features Eric’s furniture along with a whole slew of other amazing artist-made objects — anything from jewelry to art to ceramics and of course clothing. Brian says that I am their target market, because if I had the money I would seriously buy one of everything in there. Anyway I mention them here because I find what these guys are doing quite inspirational (and at a time when I could use some extra inspiration!). Not only are they doing what they love, but they are also giving back to their community. They have developed a sustainable business that takes waste and creates beautiful useful items; they are supporting local artists and small businesses; and they are participating in community fundraisers such as a project to build doghouses out of recycled materials for animal shelters and rescued pups. Can we give them a high five?
Brian and I have been wanting to visit their wood shop since we first got to Savannah, but we’ve just been too darn busy! So today, as we are preparing to move to Charleston, we decided it was the perfect time to run by before it was too late. The space is huge and, as one might expect, filled nearly floor-to-ceiling with random scrapes of mismatched wood. However in addition to all that lovely wood, they found space for all sorts of cool tools and toys. For starters I saw a pool table; couch; part of a skate ramp; I got to experiment with a wood burner; and oh yeah, they share the space with a couple of commercial screen-printers. Of course. Eric tells us how there are some film-makers in the next building over, another wood shop, and a space that they are trying to turn into a garden. Plus they are also working on building more artist studios. Serendipitous? I think so.
This weekend I’ll be moving into a new art studio in Charleston — one with many similarities to what I just described above. Tivoli Studios and Gardens is located on Upper King Street and offers affordable studio space to a large number of emerging and working artists. They, too, have converted a large warehouse space into a functioning artist community centered around a communal space and a garden. Did I mention that they built a geodesic dome inside (I kid you not!)? It sounds like artist heaven to me, especially as I am trying to get out of my shell a little bit more these days — being shy doesn’t get you very far in the world of art and craft! So I am very excited about the prospect of surrounding myself with other artists that are working hard at what they love. I have much to learn about “making it” in this trade, but I know beyond a doubt that I am an artist — I have that need to create — and it is so inspirational to see other people who are doing it too. If there are other artists that can succeed in following their dreams, then so too can I.
So without further ado, I present you with some images of the Wooden Sheep Shop, but you should really check it out for yourself.
[flickr-gallery mode="tag" tags="Wooden Sheep" tag_mode="all"]