Creative Workspaces

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where do our affiliates harness their talents and artistic energies to write, create and publish? Where do they feel creative and inspired?

We were thinking about these questions when we asked our affiliates in the fall of 2013 to send us a photo of their creative workspace: that special place or space where their muse can run free. We wanted to turn something intangible (as surely creativity is) into something to see.

Over 300 writers, artists and publishers responded to our call.

The diverse range of photos we received was stunning.

A desk overseeing a cityscape. A comfy coach surrounded by plush cushions, a four-legged friend and rows upon rows of books. A converted van. A hammock in the backyard. A porch with a whiff of the ocean in the air. A cabin far away from the distractions of everyday life.


Accompanying these photos were often very thoughtful notes. Powerful testaments to those spots where our affiliates are most in tune with their creative impulses. Illustrative of the care, the hard work (though hard work it may not feel to be) and the love they put into their craft.

These spaces are important. They are incubators of inspiration where creators and publishers simply don't put words down on a page, or splash a colour on a canvas or print and ship out books. They are where they express a deep desire, an unending need to take a thought, shape it, mould it and fashion it into something that can connect and reach an audience on an emotional level.

The photos that we received from our affiliates form the visual look of our website. They show the scene of creativity and the special care that is taken to construct a workspace that suits the needs and desires of creators and publishers.


Take, for instance, a photo sent in by writer and designer Leanne Prain (based in Vancouver). The note that Leanne sent with her photo points to several telling details that makes her writing spot her writing spot: a desk straight from the-man-in-the-gray-flannel-suit era salvaged from a Victoria shipyard, a desk that faces a window, something she describes as "essential."

The small details also are prominent in the photo that St. John's author Stan Dragland sent to us. The photo is of Stan's study in Champney's East, Nfld., a two-story house he heads to each summer to write. The desk and bookshelves are handmade, as befits a writer who enjoys building things with this own two hands.

"I like having a room that pleases me, and in that room I like having plenty of surfaces on which to place various sorts of works-in-progress, because I'm seldom going at one thing at a time," writes Dragland.


"Almost anything might trigger some activity in my [study]. Currently I'm digging a hole in stony ground for an outhouse. I'm almost three and a half feet down, and after I haul out another load of rock and gravel, I feel like doing something entirely different. Could be writing. Could be reading, especially of books that may or may not have anything to do with the current project(s) [I'm working on]. I'm dedicated but not systematic. Up I come, whether from a hole in the ground or anywhere else, and back out I go into various complementary activities that always, eventually, bring me back around to my desk."