This is a guest post from one of my sheddies Cath Janes – I have know Cath for a long time (even before sheds took over my life) – so I’m very happy that a shed is making her life better.
I don’t have a shed. I have an extra limb. That’s because my once rat-infested, patio-side, 4 x 3 metre girl cave has become the epicentre of my daily life. Without it I swear I would limp.
The Sewing Shed, as I now call it, is the HQ for Kraken Kreations, my career of sewing home décor and accessories to sell online. Yet it’s more than just a location for my work. It’s become a hub of creativity.
I sew in it every day (my daily commute is approximately 3.5 seconds long in my slippers), stitching shoutily-coloured bags and cushions and embroidering complex anatomical images or feminist slogans. Floor to ceiling shelves house my colour-organised fabrics, patterns, books, and equipment and my cutting table sits in the centre like a tropical island in a sea of colour. I spend seven hours a day in this shed and joyously so. Opening the glass doors in the morning and stepping into its chilly shade (it sits in underneath a sycamore tree) triggers such a sense of promise and achievement that the shed itself has become addictive.
My favourite part of this place, though, is the wall that I’ve decorated with all of the images that have inspired me over the years. I have maps of Paris, Nepalese tin icons of Hindu gods, Moorish images from Spain, scenes from the galleries I’ve visited in Los Angeles, Madrid, San Francisco, London and Paris, prints of work by Van Gough, Yoshimoto Nara and Dali, greetings cards from the 60s and 70s, a poster from the V&A’s Alexander McQueen exhibition, drawings from my daughter, family photos, quotes from Neil Gaiman, Caitlin Moran and Elizabeth Edwards and even an order of service from a friend’s funeral.
That’s why it’s impossible to not be creative in my sewing shed and it does more than provide me with a business. It actually helps keep me alive. Five years ago I had a breakdown caused by PND and PTSD. I’m now largely recovered but when I have bad days, days when I think there’s no point in carrying on or that I’m too worthless for words, I just head for my shed. Stepping inside reminds me that I should carry on, that I’m not worthless, that I can create and achieve and find self-worth in doing so.
So when I say that my shed is a limb, what I’m really being is modest. It’s even more than that. It’s an extension of not just my body but of my mind too. I am my shed.
You can follow Cath on twitter here – she loves a good swear mind!