One night at B-Side I arrived to find all the lights out and three other residents lit up by the glow of their laptops only.  It was quiet and I didn't want to turn on the overhead lights because the ambience was so sweet. I worked in the glow of my desk lamp and imagined Rembrandt working by candlelight. 

Do you know that feeling when you are deeply engaged in a task by yourself - but perhaps with friends - gathering wood for a campfire or preparing a meal or even in a busy office surrounded by colleagues? It's a comforting awareness that you are in easy company but you still manage to shift into a focused zone. That's what it's like in the world of shared creative spaces - perhaps this is not news to you but its been a discovery for me. 

My basement space - wonderful to come home to.

2016 began in my basement. I won't go into the dirty details but I hit a wall and hard. I have always loved my alone time and in fact, found it essential to my creative process. Then quite suddenly 'alone' transformed into 'loneliness' and it was a blow. Now, six months later, after some amazing shared spaces and collaborations I have discovered a much better way to be alone --- it's in the company of others!

This was my first shared space at Vampt Vintage in Brookvale. 

Owners Max and Dave and their great team were all so supportive. Star, my Kelpie pup was even welcome when she was little but now she's a bit bigger - she's not really getting the together alone concept ... its just together, together, together which I love, but is not conducive to getting work done.

When Vampt came to the end of their lease at Brookvale I found B-Side Creative Space (below) - it is just down the road from my old studio and literally a stones throw from my old-other-life job as a textiles designer. Run by a group of creative friends on the northern beaches the space accommodates an illustrator, an origami sculptor, a couple of painters and mural / street artists, a jewellery maker, musicians, a pen and ink artist, a couple of photographers, a lighting designer, web developers, cafe owners, a ceramicist, a motorcycle mechanic and a wallet maker. The team is building a traditional dark room and the studio is equipped with a tool room and a photographic studio - and awesome coffee shop. Everyone is welcome to visit and wander around - it sounds like it might be a whole lot of distraction but I've been able to work really well here. It is the fact that we all have a similar work ethic. Everyone needs to work and pay rent and yet if we need to bounce ideas off anyone - there's always plenty of takers. It was such a gift finding B-Side and 2016 is only half over ;)

And so here we are - Together Alone. The best of both worlds.