All my studios

  1. The unoccupied attic of the house my parents rented in Pittsburgh PA where as a high school student I set up a table with some paint and paper. Where I could look out at the top of the buckeye tree, watching rain and wind and squirrels, while sitting and churning alone in that space, trying to capture my dream of working as an artist.
  2. A room in Robbie's Apartment above a beer distributor in Pittsburgh, Pa. when I was a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University before we married and moved in together; where I had to force myself to go and work because it was my first real studio and so strange and empty. I didn't even realize that I had almost no light until a professor visited my studio and mentioned that the one bare bulb hanging from the center of the room wasn't sufficient to see my work.
  3. One of the rooms in the big Victorian San Francisco Apartment that Robbie and I moved to when he graduated and became a chemical engineer instead of the dedicated musician and student I had known in college; where the wildness of the Haight Ashbury was just beginning and our next door neighbors lured Robbie into years of methadrine use.
  4. Storefront in North Beach, San Francisco, where I set up a workspace after realizing I couldn't work in our apartment and I was on my way out the door. Where people from the street could watch me work which is why the owners of the Coffee Gallery next door gave me such a good deal on the rent.
  5. The second floor room on the corner of Bleeker Street and the Bowery that I rented when I finally ran away from home and San Francisco to New York; where I wasn't supposed to live, but I did anyway, where the only water was a sink and toilet down the hall, and the only other tenants were grungy designers who left for the weekend locking the main door from the outside and locking me in by mistake. There was no phone to call for help so I had to yell from the mail slot to a kind bum walking by and trust that his drunken fingers could open the outside lock with my only key which I passed to him through the slot and he did and I gave him all the money I had in my pockets for saving me.
  6. Broome Street loft on the corner of Wooster in what is now SOHO in New York where Dean and I would stay up until the sun rose and awake after noon to see the sweat shop across the street from our 4th floor windows where women sewed endless piles of sheets and I could smell cracked pepper on the corner as I rode my bike to get groceries; where the roof became our garden with metal flakes from the tar paper floating in the puddles.
  7. The House on the bridge over the North Fork of the Purgatory River in Vigil, Colorado. Where Dean and I lived after leaving New York while we were looking for land to start Libre. Icicles hung like giant teeth the entire distance from the roof to the roaring stream below all winter and we froze while painting local barns and buildings at Drop City and planning our new community.
  8. 40' Geodesic dome that was one of the first two buildings we built at Libre. I made a model from scrap paper instructions given to me by Clark Richert from Drop City then spent all our money buying 2x4 boards and cut them up based on my calculations. I was only 22. It worked! The space was completely open inside and the strangest things about it were that there was no linear perspective and you could hear a whisper from the other side of the room as if it were right next to you.
  9. John Hammond's loft on the corner of Bleeker and Broadway in New York where we began dividing our time between the serenity of the mountains and the intensity of the city; where the 2000 sq foot studio was luxurious but there was an after hours club on the floor below us that fired up the music at 3 in the morning every Sunday and the whole building vibrated enough to rattle the windows and two pillows on my head didn't block out the sound. John was away on tour most of the time but we would wake up occasional mornings to find him with some famous and beautiful songstress snuggled in his bed.
  10. The Raw loft on Chambers Street in Tribecca that had been a toy factory abandoned for 30 years before fellow artists talked the ancient landlords into renting us the entire gutted building. It was raw brick with broken windows at both ends and howling wind from the Hudson River roaring through; where a fellow tenant went to the sub, sub basement and out under the street tapping into the electricity main providing a windfall of free utilities. Where fellow residents Gene Highstine and Suzanne Harris modeled safari outfits and told tales of projects they were doing with Count Ponza.
  11. My very own studio at Libre that I built after 10 years of living in the dome so I could have my own place after I again ran away from home. It was the first studio that was really mine. I built it myself starting to dig the postholes for the foundation pilings on the first day of 1977 with my 3 year old son delightfully helping me measure out the site. Luckily it was a warm winter and the ground wasn't frozen. I had a floor by easter and a house by summer that I made just the way I wanted it to be in spite of the fact that I had almost no money and was not very big. I learned how to frame walls, build roof trusses, hang doors, make insulated windows, do plumbing, electrical, and drywall, I even made my own furniture.
  12. Mark Di Suvero's 3 story loft on Front Street in New York City which was empty because he had fled to Europe to protest the Vietnam war and didn't return until long after it had ended; where there were accumulated traces of the many artists that Mark sheltered there, where the plaid shirted lumberjacks who removed the 50' tall Christmas trees from the Wall Street area would deliver the wood to me for the sculptures that I built on the top floor that had been a Dutch sail makers loft with 20' ceilings. When it rained the whole slate roof would shed into 55 gallon plastic drums that we would have to bail out with buckets, running to the floor below and dumping the water down the toilet. There was no heat and we would follow the lawyers who lived below us around as they turned up the heat in each part of their loft and it would rise into our space and we could sit above them and read or draw.
  13. The Macaroni Factory in West Oakland, CA. owned by Pete Volkous, where the Black Panthers did maneuvers in the parking lot, around the corner from the Black Stabbers Motorcycle Club, and where the many small earthquakes that year undulated the cinder block walls like rubber and the Vietnam vet who lived next door lent me his tools and when I tried to return them one evening I found him sobbing because of what he had seen and done in the war.
  14. Union Street, Brooklyn, NY in an old storefront in the desolate neighborhood west of the BQE that was abandoned by public services in an early attempt to dislodge the mafia from the neighborhood.
  15. Columbia Street storefront, around the corner from the Union Street space and owned by a Sicilian butcher with his shop a half block away. Where all the abandoned cars on the street were crushed and stacked as if parked with extreme prejudice and my son built rocket ships in the back vacant lot; where the water in the toilet froze solid one winter.
  16. Construct South, Miami, Florida in the old sound stage where the original Startrek was filmed and the pool where Flipper swam was covered over by a sturdy floor that you could drive a semi truck on. There was a Sculpture Park outside the doors and all was provided by a patron who took us sailing on Biscayne Bay in his yacht on warm winter nights.
  17. Shidoni, Santa Fe, NM where I built my show for the Sculpture Park in Miami in a corner of the foundry/fabrication space while I lived in a beautiful apartment owned by a friend that was the only traditional living space I had occupied since leaving home as a teenager. Where I didn't know how to clean the wood and tile and slate floors until I looked under the sink and found all the proper cleaning products with instructions.
  18. Maryland Institute, Baltimore, MD the old Pennsylvania train station that was turned into the Rinehart School of Sculpture where I built my work alongside the students I was invited to teach; where a man rushed in one morning wearing a suit and tie and carrying his bags; a look of horror on his face as he found himself in the twilight zone.
  19. Athena Foundation in Long Island City, NY where I had a residency in the big studio by the river and my studio mate would smoke a ton of dope and jackhammer marble all day; where the East River constantly changed its color and sometimes looked like the back of a shimmering fish.
  20. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, in Minnesota with its extraordinary equipment and bridge crane that no one knew how to use so I was invited to activate the space; where I built a 30 foot long sculpture sponsored by General Mills and installed at their headquarters.
  21. Norfolk Street, San Francisco when I returned to the West Coast after many years and rented a filthy, empty, corrugated metal building on a much graffitied alley where prom night brought convertibles carrying street writers in tuxedos showing their girlfriends in puff pastry dresses the beautiful pieces they criminally created.
  22. Guerrero Street, San Francisco which was huge and leaky with 6000 sq feet of raw torn up space; where I had concrete floors, 12 foot ceilings and a remote controlled rollup door; where the back end of the building collapsed in a construction mishap and Michael and I had to climb a 20' extension ladder to the 2nd floor living space for 3 months while carrying groceries and joking that it was like eloping everyday.
  23. corrugated miner's building was moved up the hill near the main structure and became my studio; where I watched ants tear the wings off of flies caught in the sunlit glass of the windows and a big red mountain lion paced on the next ridge over in mid afternoon looking right at me and my dog onyx all the while growling and roaring while Verdi blared from NPR on the radio.
  24. La vie des Formes, Chalon sur Saone in Burgandy, an artist's residency started by Mark Di Suvero in a shipyard; where the main building was destroyed by an exploding ship just 2 weeks before we came for the summer so we had to live in Di Suvero's river barge and I used a crane and steel from the shipyard to build "Some Models for the Universe" and the workers thought I was crazy because I was a woman who didn't mind getting dirty.
  25. Wall Spring, Nevada where we bought 180 acres of dry sagebrush, drilled 2 artesian, warm water wells, and Michael planted hundreds of trees, and built 3 buildings; where my studio is a prefabricated metal structure constructed in one weekend with friends and finished over several more years; where if you look out the window, you evaporate into the impossibly distant space.
  26. The Brewery in Benicia, CA which was a working bar and restaurant that Michael and I transformed into two studios; mine with a 10' rollup door and an outdoor concrete pad; where patrons still come to the door looking for a beer; where I have built countless large works; and where murals of the history of Benicia line the walls of our library and the former parking lot is our garden where we lunch.