Bamboo mats and Evil Plans

I woke up, opened the door to the closet where I store my art supplies, files, boxes of books, 20 years or so of journals, sketchbooks, early paintings, teaching supplies and my bicycle, pulled out one of the boxes I've been tripping over and began sorting through papers, magazines, art show catalogs, and relics from my former married life. Keep, toss, keep, toss, keep, keep, toss toss toss.

"I'll just finish this box then have something to eat," I told myself. But emptying it was so satisfying I grabbed another, this one the temporary repository for some music paraphernalia I'd moved one day, intending to move it back: Folders of lyrics, the Bob Dylan Songbook with his sketches and doodles, a Rounder Records catalog I apparently acquired in 2000, recorders, drumsticks and envelopes stuffed with Post-its chickenscratched with songs and band names. It was past noon when I emerged triumphantly with another empty box.

Days later I am still sorting, but what started as mucking out, to borrow a horsey term, has turned into completely reconfiguring and refitting my place in preparation for the coming year of teaching, making art, and living - all of which I do mostly in the same space.

These bamboo mats are too pretty to be used as dropcloths, but that's what they're going to be. They're a near-perfect solution to the problem of canvas that bunches up under peoples' feet and nicer to live with than, say, industrial grade garage flooring. Though the coin and diamond nonskid patterns have a definite appeal, I'd rather not import yards of off-gassing plastic into my living space.

I sound like a yoga-loving "save the earth" catalog, but my bamboo mats are sustainably harvested, natural products that lie flat, feel great on bare feet and smell good when you lie down on them, which I do to stretch every morning.

The exciting thing is, they are part of a plan to allow me to have more students at once in my space than previously and even better, that will allow me more easily to make my own work throughout the year without having to pack things up when a class comes in. The lid comes off! The worst part is going to be getting the first splotch of paint on them. I can't freaking wait.

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Hugh McLeod's Evil Plans