With a bit of active imagination, it's quite easy to imagine that everything you've ever misplaced has not been lost, but instead has fallen through a crack in reality only to land in a great collection of junk in some subterranean room. It turns out the entrance to that room was through a door in my kitchen, down a flight of bare wood stairs, and into a dank cinder cap walled basement. At least it was until 2009, when we decided "medieval dungeon storage room" was not the right design direction for the basement. If this were a tv show, there'd be an awesome time lapse montage showing stacks of 2 x 4's turning into framed walls while contractors flash in and out of frame, ladders appearing with electricians installing lights, panels of drywall coloring themselves in rolled on swathes of paint, and the final reveal of the basement turned studio. Since it's just a blog point, though, I'll show the start:
and the end:
Four years of me at my table drawing and Kiersten at her loom weaving have given us our money's worth for the space, but now in 2013 the room has hit another evolutionary branch. Each day as we navigate the Wipeout style baby toy obstacle course that our living room has become, we think how great it would be to have a little more space, or, at the very least, a playroom. After a flurry of consolidating and baby proofing, we've started updating the studio to have a play area.
Emma's hit the stage where she loves crayons, and we're always trying to intercept her as she takes one and heads towards a wall. This is why it was a particularly great idea of Kiersten's to paint a chalk board panel on one of the walls. A trip to Lowe's readily found the can of chalkboard paint, a roll of Frog tape and some rollers, and we were good to go. This past Saturday I masked out the space and put pigment to wall.
Chalkboard paint looks like a slightly thicker than normal bluish black paint. You roll it on with a roller, discover it doesn't really stick the same way as paint, then get artistic with your application patterns trying to move around heavier blobs to cover swiss cheese splotches, and finally let the first coat dry enough that you can hit it with a second coat. All of this was happening during the magical time to get things done known as Emma's Afternoon Nap. 1.5 hours into it I had finished the second coat and was starting the clean up, with hands filled with paint covered pieces of Bounty, paint can lids, mixing sticks, and a roller and paint tray. Glancing at the baby monitor to see Emma still snoozing, I thought, hmmm....this went smoother than expected - glad the cat was also napping the whole time.
Almost on cue I felt something furry brush past my ankle. I looked down at Iggly. He looked up at me, then looked over at the black wall and you could just see him thinking, hey, what's this now? and swooshed his tail into the paint. Suddenly alarmed that it was both wet and sticky, Iggly turned into an orange streak in an apparent attempt to outrun the paint that was stuck on his tail. This resulted in his tail acting like a paint brush, leaving black curved lines of paint on the floor randomly as I chased him with my armful of paint supplies.
There's a internet meme named "Pink Shirt Guy" which I love. Words won't do it justice, so here it is:
I'd love to know the story behind this photo. I've seen it posted in inspirational poster format with the caption, "Curiosity: Whatcha doin?". I'm pretty sure if Iggly were human, he'd be Pink Shirt guy.
Kiersten arrives home with the groceries to find me circling our now black tailed cat around the dining room table in a strangely choreographed dance, and after some joint tackling we thoroughly soap his tail clean. A few hours later I head back downstairs to peel off the Frog tape and check out the final result:
Cool. Now we just need to wait a few days for it to completely dry, rub it with some chalk the first time to prime it, and start doodling. We've got a toddler height section for Emma, and a higher section for her parents. The remainder of the studio is still available for us to do our hobbies while Emma is playing in her area: