ArtFire Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Photo: Andrew Moore, Wired Magazine

Does your hobby area look anything like this? Perhaps it should! The image above is from Jay Walker’s home library, designed to enhance creativity and imagination. The internet entrepreneur’s personal library contains 3,600 square feet and 3 levels of the strange and unusual, according to Wired Magazine.

Rather than simply setting aside a space in his home for the library, Walker designed the house around his library. This is his inspirational center, his artistic haven, his intellectual port. Here, one is surrounded by informational and rare objects which changed the ways people think about the world as they know it.

On one wall, you’ll find a cloth napkin from 1943, on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt sketched out his plan to victory in World War II. On the table is a 300 million-year-old dinosaur eggs, posed next to a surgeon’s tool kit from the Civil War. Across the room sits a tree-bark Indonesian book about cannibalism, with a Middle Eastern goddess figure from 5000 BC sitting on top. And let’s not forget Sputnik, which hangs gracefully overhead.

But Walker doesn’t collect unusual and valuable items just for the sake of doing so. Many of the books in his collection are reprints, and many of the rare artifacts in his library are too unusual to be worth much to other collectors. Walker prefers to collect objects that altered how people think about the world. His mindset is if so many changes can be made in human thought within our time on this planet, then the future holds endless possibilities.

Walker made his riches by founding Walker Digital, a company which comes up with ideas and patents, best known for developing And while a three story craft studio might be a bit out of most artisans’ budget, everyone can learn a thing or two from Walker’s library. Many crafters place their art space in an itsy bitsy corner, pushed away from the rest of the home. What does this communicate about their hobby? That it is just a hobby, rather than an important part of their lives. While people often balance art projects in with family, work, and a social life, generally it is crafts that take the smallest priority. So take a few tips from Walker, don’t shove your interests off to the side. Give them the attention they deserve, and take your art seriously!