Monday, February 16, 2009

Laboratory Sweet Laboratory, pt. 1

Yesterday, the nesting instinct finally took hold of me. Though I love my students and our work here I'll gladly share that it was a phenomenal feeling to close the doors after our last yoga class this Saturday and establish, for the first time in two years, a private and personal space. The live/work aspect of our business is one of the many incredible inventions of necessity that we've discovered. It has been a great blessing and also a challenge. So I breathed a sigh of relief Saturday and then yesterday, with intense vigour, the father aspects of nesting rose up within me. In a day, with the help of some incredible brothers, I recreated the Lab as a sacred space for Aya's birth and as a Home.

Angela spent the majority of the day with girlfriends to avoid the dust of our work. She returned to find the Lab reordered and 'the cave', as we called our hidden bedroom, transformed into a veiled chamber. Upon pulling the veil, she wept to see our bed and birthing pool comfortably nestled in walls draped with lights and the same fabric that wrapped the columns of the Temple we were married under. I draped Aya's bassinet in the same fabric and placed in in the corner under a collection of photos, with a picture of her father Stan at the forefront. The unpainted drywall underneath was hidden by deep greens and blues, gold, and a rich burgundy. I was concerned that she would find it kitch or high school, but she loves it and I have to say that I'm actually pleased with it. My old decorative goth-punk skills and burning man inspired reliance merged and came to great use here yesterday! Great thanks to everyone who has assisted and supported us along the way!

As we move into this new phase of life at the Lab, I thought it would be advantageous to document the story of the space thus far, a bit of it's history and our intentions for it's future. Over the next few days, since I have to keep nesting, I'll post this as a serial.

In Health Joy and Liberation,

Laboratory Sweet Laboratory, pt. 1

We moved into the Lab in June of 2007. We we're drawn to the space by a photograph of an old kitchen sink hung on the back of brick building on Craigslist. The sink, now a planter, was filled with vibrant flowers that set off the turquoise green/blue rustic door next to it. The ad was for an Eastern Market Loft and we knew the Market was perfect for our new venture.

I called and was saddened to discover that there wasn't a dishwasher. No dishwasher meant that, with all the cooking Angela does, we'd be knee deep in dishes. I let the landlord know that we really had to have a dishwasher but asked if we could come by and see the place anyways. We just wanted to check out the area a bit more and when you're a Detroit fanatic you rarely turn down an opportunity to explore local buildings.

We did the exact same thing that the majority of our students and friends did when looking for the Lab for the first time. We walked up and down Gratiot looking desperately for 1434. All the entrances to the building were gated up. I called the landlord and he lead us around the back.

We turned the corner from Russell onto Service Street and knew instantly that we had found something special. I frequented 'underground' parties in the Market in the late 80's and early 90's, and I had a flood of memories return to my awareness. This important connection would deepen and assist in the development of the Lab. We found the door and we're greeted by a man who would become one of our greatest allies and supporters, Ara Howrani.

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