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studio pre cleanseBY JULIE SEYLER

I have been cleaning up and cleaning out the back room. It is the master bedroom of my apartment, but has always functioned as a studio — a place where I had my easel and oils and drawing books and pastels and thread and canvas and stretcher bars and papier-maché and beads.

But I am starting to move stuff out. The house in New Jersey has an attic and the attic is to become a working space of mine. I am organizing and gathering and chucking, and between the dust bunnies and crap, I found a cache of memories.

There are notebooks filled with slides of paintings, and drawing books filled with collages. I have photograph books that hold the two-dimensional representation of my three-dimensional papier-mache sculptures that took over my living room in my old apartment. It was so sad because they were too big to come with me when I moved to this apartment. Rediscovering my stash of work reminded me of the years when I would wake up and paint and come home from work and paint and in-between draw, sew, take classes, make collages, and paint.

I pored through my photograph albums and found forgotten gems like this one:

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I just cracked up. What a poem! What a poet!

I found a two-page photo spread of a 1996 ski trip to Vermont which included pics of Lo and her toddler sons, a dirty sink, a pot of fondue and a kitchen floor carpeted in bubbles. For some reason I have no recollection of that trip, probably because I don’t ski. I tumble and fumble. Best to forget those embarrassing experiences. But Lola had instant recall. She remembered who made the fondue, how the sink got completely clogged and that someone put liquid soap into the dishwasher, thereby leading to a bubble explosion.

So amidst the dreaded chore of cleaning, vacuuming and dusting, I got to “review” some ephemera of my life at this ripe old age of young middle age. (We are only young middle age, still, right?) I am sure when I again look back, the glow of the past will have an even more burnished lustre, but no doubt that, just like this time, I will be enthralled remembering how much fun I’ve had and how many fabulous people I have known and loved for these many years.