• Laura

Coworking: Get Creative in Coös

Posted by Courtney Wrigley

on 03/15/2018, Coös Networks

From the office space looking into the light-filled art studios of Assemble, I decided it was time to put my laptop aside for the day. I made a commitment to myself that at the end of the afternoon I was going to make something tangible. Despite being a key-holding, monthly subscriber at Assemble in Berlin - a new creative space to make, design, experiment, and collaborate - I had limited myself to the workspace in the office. As a hope-to-be creative person, I consider myself lucky to call Assemble my work office away from home. Even when I'm tapping away at my laptop, I imagine I'm soaking up the creativity in clay, metals, and glass via osmosis.

But it's usually wishful thinking. There's nothing like working creatively with your hands to relax a busy brain, de-stress, and feel accomplished. As the project coordinator for North Country Listens, I am often thinking about large-scale community topics that can feel overwhelming and stressful at times. I know that taking time make something with my hands is healthy and fun - the perfect way for me to end a day. If I needed any more convincing, the internet has lots to tell us about how making something creative with your hands decreases cortisol, the stress hormone.

Everyone can be creative and expressive in the visual arts, but a key motivator is a supportive setting to make it happen. Enter Assemble and you're surrounded by friendly faces, tables covered with tools, wet clay, colorful glass, shiny metals, and green sunny plants. I see the clay creations, stained glass window hangings, and artful earrings and jewelry and think - I want to do that. There are many enticing classes to make these things, but because of a tiny toddler and travel distance, I paid a class fee and joined ceramic artist Maria Neal for a brief refresher during open clay studio. I've taken a class from Maria in the past and it is always inspiring. This time I learned how to roll out clay into a large, even slab and set about to create a couple of spoon rests and bowls. Easy, I thought. Immediately there were deep finger prints everywhere; this is harder than it looks. With Maria's encouragement I worked to slow down, making tiny micro-movements to shape the clay into kitchen counter accessories. 

An hour and a half became a pocket of time to both disconnect and reconnect. I let thoughts and stresses go, focused on shaping the clay, and listened to the comfortable chatter coming from the busy studios. I can attest that the space is welcoming to creative newbies and talented artisans, old and new friends alike. Even though I don't exactly remember the next steps for my creations, I know Maria will be there to help guide me in the process of firing and glazing during open studio. I hope to buy my own 25 lb bag of clay for $35 which includes the firing and glazing fees and return to open studio to make more treasures for myself and to give as gifts to family and friends.

I wanted to share the Assemble experience with the near and far Coos region since it is a wonderful community asset. Launched in the fall 2017 to a packed open house and supportive community, Assemble is the collaborative business and brain child of Laura Jamison, Maria Neal, Heather Piche, and Gary Coulombe who each run a studio in metals and jewelry, clay, stained glass, and pool cue repair. Assemble offers many weekly classes, events, and open studio sessions, including guest instructor classes and keyholder subscriptions. Check it all out on their website www.assemblenh.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Get inspired, make the time, and get creative in the studio!