Melanie Rothschild: Welcome to the MTZ

A guest post by Melanie Rothschild

I’m going to perform a marriage between two of my previous posts: one about mistakes and the other about artists treating themselves to a gift.

My proposal is both simple and not so simple. I am suggesting the idea of creating what I’ll call an MTZ, a mistake tolerant zone. Depending upon available resources, this might range from anything like an extra room, an available garage or shed, an empty closet, all the way to something as simple as a plain cardboard box. If using a cardboard box, then maybe it’s something you can keep folded and open up when working as if creating a barricade around yourself.

Paint and Air
(red and cream, 2012)
by Melanie Rothschild

Regardless of the particulars of the physical parameters, the idea is to dedicate a space where you can work without any concern about mistake making. In this hamlet you can proceed carefree from the usual hesitations or cautions that might generally be at your side. This is your world to take, shape and make a mess … even a big ‘ol rotten, stinkin’ mess.

You might use your MTZ for art making exclusively or you could find it a valuable setting for plenty of other things: writing, dancing, cooking, singing … the list could go on pretty much endlessly. The point is to take this edict to heart and free yourself of your own automatic judgments and inhibitors. It’s hard to think of a better gift.

At some point, you’ll take a step back and can evaluate, trim, edit, rework and refine.  The aim is to give yourself the opportunity to branch out before you start “branching in.” This is a deliberate opportunity to see your work and possibly yourself in a whole new light.

Be the CEO of your MTZ asap (and remember to LOL at yourself).

I’d love to hear about your experiences with the MTZ –  both the kinds of spaces you use, as well as how the basic idea works out. Post your thoughts below.


Melanie Rothschild is a self-taught artist whose elaborate interior accessories have been sold in stores throughout the United States including Neiman-Marcus, the shops at the Smithsonian Institution, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and hundreds of others for almost two decades. Her work is shown in fine art galleries and has been licensed to Target. She considers moxie, an irreverent nature, and a respect for mistake-making to be the tools of her trade. Melanie has a master’s degree in the Study of Creativity and an undergrad degree in Anthropology. She is from and lives in Los Angeles.

Click here to see more of Melanie’s artwork and a short preview of her documentary, MISTAKE.


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