I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

I Miss My Cave

man cave
noun Informal .
a room or oth­er area in a home that is pri­mar­i­ly a male sanc­tu­ary, designed and fur­nished to accom­mo­date the man’s recre­ation­al activ­i­ties, hob­bies, etc.

Dur­ing my lat­ter years at school while study­ing my GCSEs and A Lev­els I began to under­stand the need for a cave. Of course still being at school and liv­ing at home I had a ready made one — my bedroom.
As a teenag­er in the ear­ly days of devel­op­ing an inter­est in design, that cave allowed me to cre­ate the atmos­phere I need­ed to work. I had a draw­ing table set up where I would work on cre­ative pieces and study for my exams. It had a light that bent over me shin­ing a focused beam on my work space and plung­ing the rest of the room into dark­ness. I had some of my most pro­duc­tive evenings at that table. In fact I have long stand­ing mem­o­ries of work­ing on my graph­ics course­work close to a dead­line with the mas­ters snook­er on my lit­tle tv and that light beam­ing a zone of cre­ativ­i­ty onto my table.
Mov­ing to uni I again had my own ready made cave. The room in my halls of res­i­dence quick­ly became the place for all my cre­ative work. Angle poise shin­ing on my desk, lap­top on, a dark room and momen­tum build­ing music on late in to the night. Then the bed­room in my shared house in the final two years at uni and the first year in employ­ment had a sim­i­lar feel, but replac­ing my lap­top with my iMac.

I miss those caves.

Since I’ve been liv­ing on my own I’ve not real­ly had a cave. A flat with a liv­ing room, kitchen, bath­room and bed­room does­n’t real­ly lend itself to cre­at­ing one. The liv­ing room is a place for relax­ing, eat­ing and host­ing vis­i­tors. The bed­room is for sleep­ing and relax­ing, I need it to be pure­ly for that else I’ll nev­er shut down prop­er­ly to sleep.

The quest for a cave

Since I’ve no space for a desk and no clos­et I could con­vert into a cave I’ve been explor­ing ways to cre­ate an envi­ron­ment that can be quick­ly and eas­i­ly set up, then eas­i­ly removed when I have visitors.
I’ve always tried to zone my liv­ing room so that I have a lounge area and a din­ing area. The din­ing area is the only bit of my flat that I can sit down and do work at and so it’s become the cen­tre of my quest for a cave.
The table lamp which used to sit on my din­ing table has been removed and replaced with my angle poise. My lap­top now has a home on the table and my wired Apple key­board and Log­itech mouse have come out of stor­age. All of them can be quick­ly packed away when vis­i­tors are around and for the first time in a few years I’ve been able to begin cre­at­ing that cave like atmos­phere as I work by the light of my angle poise. I can even do it with my iPad instead of the lap­top should I wish.
Whilst it’s not quite the same as a per­ma­nent cave, it’s a step in the right direc­tion until I’m able to afford a place with room for a per­ma­nent cave. Most impor­tant­ly it’s already hav­ing an impact on the way I’m work­ing in the evenings on my own projects as well as on per­son­al free­lance clients.
But the les­son that I’ve learnt, in this lit­tle exer­cise is that actu­al­ly it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly about hav­ing a phys­i­cal space, it’s about atmos­phere. In order to fos­ter cre­ativ­i­ty I need the right atmos­phere, a per­ma­nent place makes that easy to cre­ate but the quest for my cave isn’t real­ly for a phys­i­cal space at the moment. It’s about a way for me to recre­ate the atmos­phere of my ear­ly and orig­i­nal caves. It’s about devel­op­ing a method that allows me to quick­ly set up at my din­ing table and focus. Events over the last few weeks have caused me to realise specif­i­cal­ly that by my very nature I’m a night owl and not an ear­ly bird. Maybe that has some­thing to do with my atmosphere…