Self-care is on my mind. You?

I’m a week into the Christmas ‘break’. But a break implies taking it easy, restfulness, getting away from the normal day-to-day. And while some of this is true, it’s also been busy - much meal prep, running around doing errands, taking care of a lot of needs (mostly not mine), flipping over the spare bedroom for our next round of visitors, socializing, late nights and early mornings. My kids are calling out to me from one room and my husband from another. The doorbell is ringing at the same time as the timer on the oven. And where the heck did my daughter’s hacking cough come from? 

If this sounds all too familiar, none of us are alone. And hence my pre-occupation with self-care - for all of us. Have you taken some time out for yourself over this season? 

I'm taking some time right now to reflect on the year 2019. I'd like to share with you my reflection on the past year in order to set the stage for the exciting year to come. And to introduce you to Ply Studio (a much anticipated haven for self-care in all its forms). 

A little over a year ago I was in a state of restless impatience. I was coming to the end of a 2.5 month sabbatical from my day job and feeling uncertain about my creative direction and next steps. Outside my day job, I have been exploring my artistic side and stretching my (albeit limited) entrepreneurial muscles for what seems like my entire adult life. And then 2 things changed my trajectory: I had a conversation with my now business coach, and I went to a cool crafty workshop. Things started to crystallize. Why not start a studio/makery that specializes in great learning experiences (my professional forte) spanning all artistic genres here in Ottawa?

Fast forward one year. Through coaching calls every 2 to 3 weeks, a ton of planning and, indeed, confidence building, I am on the verge of opening Ply Studio - a place for creative connection in the heart of my community of New Edinburgh in Ottawa. 

This process has been a little like getting through pregnancy with the birth of one’s precious babe (and only just a little longer). From idea to almost full term, the construction of my ‘non-denominational’ studio is nearing completion. I’m simultaneously taking a big sigh of relief and a gulp of nervous apprehension. This is a leap for me and one I have been navigating while continuing to work my full time day job. 

It’s no coincidence that much of what I am planning hinges on the need to create a space that feels good, relaxing, inviting, colourful, fun and happy.

Here's what else I'd like to share with you before I open my doors, hopefully sometime in March. My manifesto, if you will: 

Ply Studio is a place for makers and would-be makers, friends and those that will be friends, experiments (both wildly successful and splendidly failed), craft and art and the debate about what is what, good coffee or good wine depending on the time of day, and that song that sets the perfect soundtrack for the workshop you didn’t know you’d take and can’t believe you love.

Ply Studio is about handmade living, creative practice as the pause button for a too-fast/too-stressful/too screen-filled life, mindfulness (or ‘craftfulness’ as was coined by Davidson and Tahsin, 2018), beauty, texture, curiosity.

The atmosphere in the studio is relaxing and yet exciting; joyful and calm; meditative and festive - all at the same time. This is a place where you will marvel at the small touches that create an overall peacefulness, but with an interesting and remarkable edge. This is a place where you will want to come back and bring friends. This is a place you will want to book for your small group meetings or your next ‘girls/boys night out’. A place you will want to sit by the fireplace on a snowy winter afternoon. And in the landscaped dye garden on a warm summer morning. 

This is a place devoted to self-care.

Today, I wish it was open so that I could escape the busy for a few hours of craftfulness - to regroup, slow down and take some time for myself.  And when the time comes, you’re going to want to be here, too. Spread the word and watch for a a full slate of creative programming, from tapestry weaving to mixed media collage; indigo dyeing to creative writing and everything in between. 

I hope 2020 brings you joy and magic in many forms. I look forward to seeing you at the Studio soon.

Happy New Year!

- Carmen xo

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