Every morning, I go out to the studio and light a little fire to take the morning chill off. The studio has regular heat in the form of individual electric wall heaters, linked together and controlled with a common thermostat. The studio also has a wood burning stove. If I had to give it a name, I’d call it Stove, after Betty MacDonald’s “Stove” in The Egg and I because of their similarities in fussiness.
To be honest, it’s really more that I like the idea of making a fire to keep warm than it is about actually keeping warm. (Seriously, it’s not that cold here.) I like fires and consider myself a better than average fire maker – I was a boy scout, plus I did a lot of wilderness camping back when it was ok to just make a fire from the wood you found in the forest. However, Stove is very particular about how the fire starts, how big the fire is, and how much ventilation it gets at what stage of the fire. So far, it has kind of gone like this: Start fire. Close door. Stove fills with smoke, smothering the fire. Open door to give it a little more air. Smoke billows into the studio. Add another stick. Repeat. Once it gets going enough, it burns on its own – slow, clean, and not too hot.
Now that I’ve spent all this time fussing with Stove and smoking up the place, I kind of feel obligated to spend the time here until the fire dies out. Usually I just stare at various items wondering just where the hell that or this thing is going to go. Eventually, I know that I have to measure things out and get serious about the studio layout. So yesterday I brought my favorite tape measure along with my morning routine and that’s what I did. Starting with some givens – yarn can’t be too near Stove, computer next to stereo next to in-wall speaker wire outlets, that big thing only fits in the far corner – I started to get some ideas based on lighting and work flow. I realize that my scribbles might not look like much, but the layout is pretty close to scale and I think it might work.
Far from Betty’s often cantankerous Stove I, Stove II encouraged me to do some actual work and I am happy for that. In return, one day I’ll figure out what Stove’s levers and knobs do and how to make a fire that makes Stove happy. It’s the least I can do.