This is such a vulnerable post to type. But I'm a big fan of vulnerability and authenticity, even though it's uncomfortable. I really believe people need to hear other people's stories as a source of encouragement. So I hope this is somewhat encouraging to hear whats going on in my journey.
I took a big leap in 2013 by opening up a photography studio. It all came together so well, from finding the perfect house close by son's elementary school to immediately having friends who wanted to share it with me. I was never as nervous as I was standing before the county board to present the business and have it approved for opening. My husband and I prayed about it and felt good about moving forward. We walked in together to that meeting to stand before a board of people, and we walked out excited as it was approved and we were ready for the next step of my business journey.
Fast forward one year and two creative workshops later to October 2014. My two friends (Latetia of Junebird Photography and Mattie of Green Tie Studio) were no longer sharing the studio space with me (for different reasons, including moving!!) and I started to wonder what shape the space would take as it was just me in this house called Canvas Studio. I emailed friends about sharing the space, came up with some ideas on hosting workshops to create community and revenue, and thought through other ways to keep it alive. I was pretty resistant to the idea of shutting it down and not ready to give up on it yet. But one night I stayed up late to re-work our budget, and something became incredibly clear: the studio needed to go. It was really an amazingly clear moment. I don't normally feel like God is speaking to me or giving me super clear direction (hence faith is needed!) but there was a strange moment on the couch with my laptop in front of me that I'll never forget. I felt like God was saying in a short sentence, "you don't need to keep the studio." I was looking at essentially two mortgage payments (our home and the studio) and yet painfully aware of my inability to keep up my own home, laundry, etc.
My whole guiding principal with work has been that it must be done in a way that is a blessing to my family and doesn't compete with love and attention I am called to give my husband and kiddos. It became UBER clear that a second mortgage was not a blessing to my family, and even if I could come up with all sorts of ways to keep it via workshops or shared space it was still complicating life and adding more work and stress to an already stressed schedule. It became clear that I don't need to rent this house anymore and I need to let it go. Because Frozen is such a part of family life, "Let it Go" is often sung in our house, and quickly becomes a go-to saying for everything. Thank you, Elsa. Let it (the studio) go.
So there it is. I am officially moving out and taking down the Canvas Studio sign with a bit of sadness but a lot of clarity. I love that it was perfect for a season. It was a space where I got to become very close to some of my dearest friends. It was a space where community was built and ideas were exchanged. God showed me so much about myself through it. I realized I am entrepreneurial to the core, which means trying things out and letting them go just as quickly when needed. I got to photograph more studio work and practice with lighting, and realize that a really good photography studio needs to have LOTS of room (go for a warehouse if you ever dream of setting up shop). And I became a different person than I was a year ago, and this space was the vehicle God used to bring that about. And now its clear that God is done with that vehicle and is moving on with other tools to change me.
Just in case your wondering, we are still really, really excited to continue our Gather workshops. After talking with Amanda and Mattie it became clear that Gather is less about the space and more about the people. Stay tuned to hear what direction our Winter Gather will take!!
To celebrate this new season of life and the work and love that has been put into the studio, I want to have a sort-of closing doors party. We have a Flower + Garland Workshop on Dec. 3 for the studio (and it's still on!!) and I thought to combine that with some yummy food, drinks, and holiday cheer as a way of saying goodbye to the space. It's going to be a laid back atmosphere making some pretty garlands and learning about flower arranging, but for me it will also be a time to be thankful for a space that has meant a lot to me. Come and help me say goodbye, get some yummy food and make something beautiful for your house.
Thanks for reading and sharing life in this strange but powerful online way. I am very hopeful that me and my family are on the road towards greater simplicity, but also having more freedom to pursue other creative paths that are on the horizon. Grateful for it all (somedays and parts more than others) but most grateful that I have a personal and loving God who leads each step of the way. He is so faithful.
ps- I am going to be selling a bunch of stuff from the studio and posting it on Instagram- check out my IG feed if you're interested in some fun home and office things!