Day of the Desk.

In the early morning hours with a messy desk.

It was dark when I began to work this morning. My desk ( above) was a mess and a magnet for kittens. Away across the country Catherine Rayner ( below) was also working early.

Catherine Rayner's desk

Today ( 9 August) writing.

deskchaos officetoday

( Here, where it started, a year or so ago) Intrigued at nosing around this creative chaos I thought to ask others to send in pictures of their desks to make a blog post with links. But meanwhile the sun came up. My desk changed over the day. It begins and ends this posting, which may grow as others send through.

With kittens

Clearer and now the sun is up

Above, a little bit of space on my desk.

Below, Chris Hurst of SkyRavenWolf wonderful bag making desk. She works on a canal boat where she lives, so the view outside is constantly changing. Her facebook page has wonderful images of her fine leatherwork.


Below, Karin Hines from Celestine and the Hare. Desk looking a bit tidy with not much choklit on it!



Below Terri Wilding, artist, writer, editor, living on Dartmoor, travelling through myth.

Terri Wilding's desk, with her muse


Terri's writing studio

Below, Sue’s desks in St Davids.Sue's desk, all colour and material, with lovely cat in book, made from cllage Sue's other desk looking out into winter garden

Below, Mike Harding’s desk from which he launches his wonderful Podcast on Sundays. He keeps me painting through dark evenings and introduces me to music that I am new to and brings back old favorite. Thanks Mike.

Mike Harding's desk, in the shed. Everyone should have a shed.


Below, Kij Johnson, who is not content with one desk, but has to have 2. This first has characters from her current novel and a map of Tashkent, just incase she should get lost, while she is in Cansas. The second is clear of clutter and has a beautiful view.

Kij Johnson Kij Johnson

Will Badger Will Badger

Above, two pictures of Will Badger’s desk. I met him when he brought Kij to my house. This is what he says about his desk:

“As most of the other examples in your blog series picture intimate, domestic work spaces, this may not belong. It’s an accurate representation of my work environment, however. In fact, Kij and I worked at Turl Street during her time here. As a graduate student, my ‘desk’ tends to be transitory space on the tables of local cafes. My current favourite is pictured here, at Turl Street Kitchen, where you can get two eggs and all-you-can-eat toast for £3.”

He organised Kij Johnson’s lecture in Pembroke College Oxford last week. A wonderful lecture on the nature of fantasy and writing.

Below, Anna, from Solva Woollen Mill, working hard processing people’s orders for East of the Sun in a corner of the mill. Usually she has a cat on her desk.

Anna at Solva Woollen Mill. No product placement allowed. Oh, hang on!

Below, Annie from Jali Mali. She has a shop in St Davids and  a Guest House in Nepal and is just a very lovely person.

Annie at JaliMali

Below, Laura Parfitt’s desk. Laura is a radio producer, and whenever I hear a stunning bit of radio I am never surprised to find that she and White pebble Media are behind it. I had the great privilege of working with her once, in 2007. Here is what she said about her desk:

“I am sending you a photo of my desk.  It has been newly tidied for the new year.  Apart from sound gear –  items on it include a spoon bent by Yuri Geller for me – interviewing him  was a highlight of last year (quite eccentric, but somehow very intelligent and kind).  It also has a child’s red tin racing car that belonged to my dad – reminding me that he had very few toys as a child and also  to drive forward (ironically only recently discovered that what I thought was the front of the car was actually the back so have been driving it backwards).  Also, something I love dearly and have had on my desk for  years, a resting block from the Himba tribe in Namibia – used instead of a pillow – to remind me to rest and take it easy and not always drive myself forward.   i’ve got a Cornish tin paperweight  – I love the design on it and it’s from my mother in law and reminds me that in cornwall life is peaceful and history is important.   most of it is taken up with a very lovely Mac computer which is fast and helps me make sound – music and radio in that order.”

laura parfitt's desk.


toy car

Below is Mister Finch’s desk. A textile artist, into moths and hares and folklore and beautifully creative. And here is a link to his blog.

Scissor pot and cat in a box. Perfect desk. Mr Finch Sewing machine. I think someone may have tidied up to take this one! Making a moth. Loving the tools off all the different trades.

Below, Cathy Cooper’s desks: she has looked spirit bears in the eye and breathed the same air as them.

Cathy Cooper's Desk

Below, Erin Keen’s desk, looking busy and interesting.

Erin Keen's desk at uni.


Hannah Stowe ( my daughter), below, with new acrylic inks that she is using.



Malachy Doyle ( writer) below, and his desk in Ireland. He says : “just took an untidied pic of my desk for you.  features a card from Jac Jones, two little sculptures of me and Liz made by my son Liam (presents for Christmas), and a bronze hare.  it’s a big old leather-topped lawyer’s desk, and I love it!” I spy a big pile of papers and The Snow Queen illustrated by Errol LeCain. Always wanted a rhyming dictionary.

Malachy Doyle's desk in Ireland.


catherine hyde

Catherine Hyde’s ‘desk’, ( above) working on so many paintings at the same.

A musical desk, below, belonging to Helen Morris. I have known Helen since we were 6 years old. She has always played the piano.

Helen's piano in Gosport

Emma Coode’s desk ( below). Emma is one of the editors at Harper Collins for Voyager books so gets to read the Games of Thrones books before the rest of us, and edits Robin Hobb and  Peter Brett and Mark Lawrence.

Emma Coode's desk

Leslie Sowden’s desk is a riot of colour and business.



June Pearson, teacher at Ennerdale primary school and a couple of the children’s desks there. Wonderful school. They have red squirrels in the playground and the children smile a great deal. There were only 64 children in the school when I visited last year.

June Pearson

Child's desk in Ennerdale School in Cumbria

Child's desk in Ennedale shcool in Cumbrial



September 12 014

Above, one of the best pictures for a good nose around, from Joy Williams. Loads of interesting books and a desk dog. And her website is a joy tooLove the paintings especially.


Above, Jennifer Crook.

Nicky Desk DSC_6616



 Harusami Is: looking peacefully cluttered. She can also be found here.

Cheryl Lloyd’s desk is largely dominated by a beautiful cat.

Cheryl Lloyd's desk, with cat

Hilary's desk in Broadhaven

Hilary Brookes’s office, above, over-looking the sea at Broadhaven. She sells books with Barefoot Books and has a website.

Louise McClarey

Above, colourful, Loiuse McClary, table with a very interesting array of bamboo pens and a lurking glass pen on the right. Beautiful.

desk with clay creatures

Above: Tracy McNicoll. Below: Diane Patmore.

tidy desk

 Chris Ruston says of her desk ( below), ”

It is looking relatively tidy today as everything had been cleared away for Christmas. On the left a current project – a painted book which is in the final stages of being finished. The book is a response to a Shakespeare quote, where he describes how everything eventually “turns to dust”. I have used  the idea of the seasons/cycles and autumnal colours to suggest the closing of summer when seeds are dispersed waiting for springs renewal.

Next to the book are the tools of the trade- a Stanley knife/scissors, pencil, and a trusty old paint brush (which has really earned its keep over the years!), and the book makers “must have” a bone folder. All this is resting on another essential item a large cutting mat.

The small pieces of paper on the plastic sheet are waiting for another layer of ink, and will eventually become seeds in the centre of the book. Above these you can glimpse one piece of the folio cover which will contain the book when it is finished.  An image of a dried seed head can just be seen.

The obligatory jam jar with water sits next to the cover panel, complete with rubber and pencil shavings.

To the left of this lies a stack of painted pages covered in inky  marks which are awaiting a direction/structure. I frequently start projects by painting and mark making, then respond to the marks. I like to be open to where the work takes me. This book is more of an exception having been specifically commissioned. Once it has been completed viewers will be able to see it on my website.

Finally in the top left hand corner is another stack of “beginnings” waiting for a bit of space to emerge on the table!!


Denise Gary from Kids Need to Read, looking a bit tidy, despite a small tower of books and a wobbly headed Yoda.

Denise at Kids Need to Read

And then there is Hannah Willow who gets two pictures, because she has entered into the spirit and not tidied up, and because it makes me laugh so much that someone, somewhere has a messier desk than mine! Nothing like anything you might see in Country Living and yet she lives on a farm, surrounded by hares and owls and makes beautiful things that are like silver dreams.

Hannah Willow

Hannah Willow

Tamsin Abbott makes glass of superb and excellent designs. Her tables are below. Her workshop is a beautiful building in itself, so I might just cheat and put a picture of the workshop in too.

Tamsin Abbott's work table



Tamsin’s studio looks suitably like something from a fairy tale!

Next, Mary Baker, who once gave me a beautiful stone age tool when we were out walking and I still carry it in my pocket. She runs Archaeotours from a house near the beautiful woods in Mathry.

Mary Baker of Archeotours

Natasha Hoffman’s desk, with corvidae.

natasha hoffman

Amy Blaza’s desk has interesting things like a quill and a rather large book on Ottoline and a Latin dictionary and some books I recognize and others I don’t. And I want to know what is in the leather journal in front of the laptop.

amy blaza

Jennifer Crook’s desk is portable. On the day she took the photo it was the corner of the sofa. ( There is music from The Shed on her blog).

jennifer crook's desk, a sofa corner

Jane Elliot’s is a stitching desk, complete with a Singer sewing machine.

jane elliot's desk


Below are two of  desks, one more recognizable as a ‘desk’ that the other.

piano desk, Cea Vulliamy More conventional desk, Cea Vulliamy

A desk that looks more like an ‘office’ desk from Roberta Zanasi.

Roberta Zanasi

Karine Polwart’s desk with ” Chief rogue items today? A suitable for 5-12 year olds box with lego police car, handcuffs and sour-faced “bad guy”. Two cassette tapes (what are they?). Earrings as sent to me (and received today) by the gorgeous Matafirska Katarina (thanks Kat!!). An incomplete jigsaw of myself aged 2 (don’t ask/not symbolic). A tax reminder. A CD of British bird song.”

Karine Polwart's desk

Judy Dyble’s desk in a lovely house surrounded by honeysuckle.

Judy Dyble's desk

Tabitha Suzama promises that she didn’t tidy up. Very much a ‘writer’s desk’. Interesting for me to see how other writer’s work.

tabitha suzama's desk, tidy, ordered.

My writing desk is elsewhere. My writing desk is outside as I write when I am walking. I usually find a high place, in the shadow of the wind. Sometimes a cat comes with me.

One of the places I use as a 'desk' when I am writing

And my studio desk again, with lighter fluid!

My desk with lighter fluid ( which is for cleaning woodblocks after printing)


This page will continue to grow. Please feel free to post on your own blog and link back and leave comments. Email pictures of your desk with links to your website. And DON”T tidy up first!

More desks here at Terri Wilding’s blog.

15 Responses to Day of the Desk.

  1. Pingback: International desk day: or, nosing around other people’s spaces. | Jackie Morris Artist

  2. Manda Scott says:

    Very impressed by all the arty desks…. I’ll take a better picture of mine and post it asap….

    Happy working, everyone…


    • Jackie says:

      No tidying up now. I wish more writers would send desk shots. I love the way they are so different. Often nothing on them. Everything is happening inside the writers head. Nothing there to distract.

  3. Francesca says:

    Wonderful desks all of them and to know that all this creativity bursts out of each and every one of them is so inspiring..thanks for this Jackie, I’m only a crafty old housewife but I might send you a photo of my desk anyway ; )

    • Jackie says:

      There is no ‘only’ about any of this. All desks are interesting and lovely to see what everyone is doing. It grew so much I made it a page of its own. And will keep adding.

  4. Pingback: Writer's notebooks in pictures.

  5. dinahmow says:

    I , too, love seeing what others have around them as they work. Few changes in my little corner, just the addition of industrial ear muffs (neighbours have leaf blowers and yappy dogs!), and I see “The Meaning of Liff” is now to the fore.I must have needed to look up one of their words! But I’m about to commandeer the dining table again for a sewing project…maybe I’ll send a pic of that?

  6. eva gamsboel says:

    I just red that a messy desk made people more kreative. I dont know if it is true, but it seems like:) It allways looks like there is no more place for the work acctually, or the worker, but.. it is proberly harder to find the place if there is only an empty space..

  7. Polly Morris says:

    Really enjoyed this blog, Jackie. It is a real privilege to see where the magic really happens. So intimate. Glad you included Helen’s red salon, too.

  8. I have only just found your wonderful blog, because of the blind date with a book project. Your post on notebooks thrilled me and this one has been fun. I wonder if you have ever asked for photos of people’s mugs – as I have liked seeing some on this post.

  9. I enjoyed this so much!!! I looked at every single photo. I am a ballet master/coach/consultant/author/sometimes choreographer that sews and dabbles in bookmaking and calligraphy…I have three desks: one in two bedrooms and now the kitchen…The first two were so messy that I tidied up and now the kitchen table is a mess; the dining room was taken over but also managed to tidy that up! (where does anyone eat?) There was one photo that I’ve decided is my dream space: Denise Gary’s desk with the wraparound desk so that I have my stuff surrounding me when I’m writing. I also like the shelves in front like Amy Blaza’s desk and love, love the workspace of Leslie Sowden. It made my heart peaceful to see creative people have messy desks too! Thank you for this!!!

  10. Donatella says:

    Oh, how I loved this! Seeing everyone else’s desks just as cluttered and filled with ongoing projects as mine made me feel part of a community. I will never have a sleek, minimalist desk even if I admire their beauty here. Much love to everyone.

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