Joy Hecht's Workspace

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday January 27, 2021

Before last March, I worked on site.  I didn't have a single place of work because I carried a thick folder of papers for my collages, my substrate, my water bottle and rag to clean my fingers, and my ziplock bag of tools – scissors, glue, pencils, eraser, fine spike for manipulating tiny bits of sticky paper, ruler – in a big backpack, and settled down to create wherever I found a scene worth creating.  

That all changed last March.  When the pandemic hit, I tried to avoid everyone else, which meant I had to work at home.  So the biggest change in my work was not an emotional or personal shift – it was the necessity to work from photographs and not from life.  And instead of having an infinite number of places to work, I now have two – my kitchen and my office.  


My kitchen (above) is warmer, friendlier, and sunnier, and I like it better.  But taking over my kitchen table to create collages leaves me with no place to eat my meals. Perhaps worse, it makes it far too easy to turn to the fridge every time I hit a stopping point, which could too easily lead to a COVID-15 (or 20, or 30!) that I really don't need.

My office is upstairs (top). It's cold. The windows face north and the sun never shines in. But it has a big table, and I store my supplies up there, and there's room to move, so it can be a much better place to work.  And when I'm working upstairs I only think of raiding the refrigerator when I'm actually hungry, which is a good thing.  So sometimes I'm warm, cozy, and cluttered downstairs in the sunny kitchen, and sometimes I'm business-like and efficient at my spacious desk in my cold office.  


The other big change is Zoom. I love Zoom. In the past, I met with New York Urban Sketchers when in New York, and with Lebanon Urban Sketchers when in Lebanon. In the past I didn't go to conferences, or watch presentations on all kinds of art, or take design courses, because I live in Newfoundland and those things don't happen here. Editor’s note: Special NYC/Lebanon Urban Sketchers Event is scheduled for Saturday, January 30, 10:00 am. Registration required Info photo above: @Nick-Hobgood

With the Pandemic, the world went on line, and it no longer matters where we call home. So I meet my Lebanese sketcher friends every Saturday to chat and create art. I took a series of online courses taught by a designer in Delft, with students in India, Minnesota, and Canada. I watch weekly presentations on textile arts from all over the US. I joined 5,000 other people all over the world at a type design conference run by Cooper Union, which otherwise would have been attended by only a few hundred folks who were in New York or could take the time and money to go there. 

Of course I'm as impatient as anyone else for this all to be over, but if the world doesn't stay on line so we can all join it, it will be a terrible loss.



Note from the Editor:
This is the second in a series of stories by DART subscribers about how and where they spend their working hours during this phase of the COVID-19 Pademic. If you have a story, please send it in; the guidelines are simple:

Tell us how has your work and practice changed since last March, in 250-300 words Have you been doing more personal work than you usually do? Have you been engaging with other artists in online drawing meet-ups? How do you diffuse situations of too much togetherness or too much isolation? Send your text along with several horizontal photos of your workspace to choose from [one square detail is ok]. Please don’t feature any specific work; links to your social media/website will be included. Next round deadline: Friday, February 5, Midnight anywhere.