If you have a dream of getting out of the grind of a nine to five job and fill your days with creativity Her Space is a must read. We often hear about the ‘Man Cave’ or ‘His Shed’ but little had been written about a space for women until Marilyn Jessen took a stroll down the garden path.
The reader is taken on the journey from Northland to Southland as the author steps into the spaces of over 60 artistic, creative and inspirational women to share their passionate stories. Over the course of a year Jessen met, interviewed and photographed jewellers, milliners, painters, sculptors, crafters and collectors to record the creative journeys of many New Zealand women.
Some of the women featured are just starting out, and still working at a day job while creating in their spare time. Others have taken a leap of faith to do what they love, hoping and believing the money will follow, and we meet some who have been creating long enough to know that it is financially sustainable.
Their spaces vary in size, some are just a table in a bedroom, an easel in a lounge while others have found sanctuary in a church or caravan or taken over the basement garage.
In her introduction Jessen says these ordinary women are extraordinary because they follow their passion, despite having faced physical, financial and emotional challenges.
“Some talk of the extraordinary power of creative endeavour to heal and give meaning to life, even in its roughest moments”.
Jessen has included some pages of advice including ‘Getting Started Creatively’, ‘Staying Passionate about Being Creative’, and ‘Creating Your Very Own Her Space’. Turning a creative passion into a full time job is a serious step and Jessen includes a ‘Marketing and Money’ section to assist in navigating the business side of the enterprise.
Her Space is a stunning book, and the photographs are a wonderful accessory to this well-written record of a selection of talented artists in New Zealand. It will sit well on my coffee table to be enjoyed by anyone spending time in my home as each story can be read separately and independently .
Marilyn Jessen carved herself a career in several senior management roles with high profile companies before opening her own successful management consultancy. She has also completed a media arts degree and became a specialist teacher in music, photography and film-making. Her introduction to books came when her husband Don asked her to take photographs for his books.
Reviewed By Lesley McIntosh
Her Space – Kiwi She Sheds, Back Rooms and The Kitchen Table
by Marilyn Jessen
Published by David Bateman Ltd