For the first time ever, in the entire history of the Universe as I have known it, I have a place outside my house where I can go for no other purpose than to do my own work.
I can't tell you what a thrill this is.
My friend Ana posted on facebook several weeks ago about an upcoming vacancy at Strangeways Academy. Strangeways is a shared studio-workspace in Chinatown that she started with some other graphic designers a few years ago. It's not fancy; it's a small storefront with 6 identical desks, behind each of which is a single Homasote panel for pinning stuff up on the wall. In the front there is a conference table, but that area converts, via some clever moving walls, into a gallery space where they have exhibitions from time to time.
I had gone to some of their gallery openings and events in the past, and had looked longingly at Ana's previous facebook postings of vacancies there. Finally, the timing was perfect. My work has picked up, and and the summer is turning out to be pretty busy for me. In fact, I'm relatively confident that things are even somewhat secure (to whatever extent that word has any meaning at all these days), probably though the end of the year (fingers crossed). So, when Ana posted about the upcoming vacancy, back in May, I expressed interest. Then I had to go out of town and the whole thing was back-burnered for a bit.
After a few weeks went by and the workspace was still available, I met her down in Chinatown for lunch one afternoon and we went over the particulars. The next step was a meet-n-greet lunch with the other studiomates, which happened on Friday, June 8th. The following Monday I moved in.
Some of the Strangeways folk also teach, and some also have other full- or part-time employment or consulting they do elsewhere, so it's rarely a full house. I generally have the place to myself, especially in the mornings.
I'll continue to settle in there over the coming weeks. I plan to bring these shelves that I made for behind my desk, and I'll populate my Homasote panel with some inspiring images and such. Even without those things, having a place without the distractions of home, where I can just focus on my work, is bliss. And, I can walk from my house down to the Highland Park stop on the Gold Line and ride it down to Chinatown, where the station is only a couple blocks from the studio. From there, I can also take the metro to my gym, which is on the other side of Downtown (although I haven't tried that yet).
Another plus is that Strangeways is dog-friendly, although I haven't met any of the other studio dogs (except for Ana's dog Gus, whom I had met previously). Paul and Daisy came here with me one evening last week, and I think that Daisy still needs a bit more civilizing before we make that much of a habit. I found a place in my neighborhood with great Yelp reviews for obedience training, so after I return from OCON (woohoo!) we'll get started on that.
Here it is:
Right next to the herbal foot reflexology joint on Jung Jing Road! Stop by and say Hi!