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…