Studio Snapshot – Martha Aleo

by Libby on May 12, 2008

Artist name: Martha Aleo

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Location:  Pennsylvania
Website: Martha Aleo
Blog: Ornamento

Do you have a dedicated studio/artistic space? Yes.
Where is it located? In my basement

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Is it a large or small space? Small on space, large on function. I live in a 930 Sq. foot house that is more than 150 years old.
What medium(s) do you work in? Mixed media consisting of metalsmithing, beading (off loom bead weaving and bead stringing), lampworking, glass fusing, enameling, polymer clay, and some paper crafts. I have to be careful about ventilation, so I do the enameling and lampworking in the months when I can have windows open and fans going. I also have a fire extinguisher and sink nearby.
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Do you have a separate area for each? Yes. I also have a portable photography station that stores under one of the work surfaces.

What one word would you use to describe your studio? Cozy

What do you think is the best feature of your studio? Everything is close at hand and organized. It might not look that way, but I work in several mediums so it has to be organized so I can find things. When I clear away my metal working space, I have room for a friend to join me for polymer claying or beading.

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What would you change if you could? More room and more electrical outlets.

Can you share an organizational tip? Have everything visible or you will forget you have it. Label containers with their contents.

Describe the usual state of your work table?
Cluttered, but when I am finished with a project, I put everything back in its place. This helps me to find it when I need it next and to preserve what few brain cells I still possess.

Does your work table face out into the room or toward the wall?
Both. I have more than one work area. Everything is made from old chopped up furniture, and flea market and sidewalk finds except the watchmaking bench which was my father’s. It is solid oak and I use it to store tools. All the drawers are labeled.

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What’s one drawback of your studio/artistic space?
Aside from space, it’s below stairs so I can’t have an oxy acetylene torch for metal. For lampworking, I am tapped into my house gas and use an oxygen concentrator, so that works out well. If not for that, I could not do lampworking in the basement.

Do you have any studio mascots (pets, mannequin whatever)? Plumpton the Cat used to come down when he was a kitten, play fetch with beads, and warm up the clay by sitting on it. Now, he just comes down when he wants to be fed, or to use the litter box (hidden behind a protective wall).

Do you have an idea wall or inspiration board?
I keep notebooks and have a little inspiration board where I keep some of the color exercises I did in Lindly Haunani’s class. There is not much wall space, and what there is is covered with shelves to store materials.

Do you listen to music in your studio? What kind? Yes. Mostly Jazz or radio.
Do you display your own work in your studio? Some, because when people visit, they like to see what I do.
What’s one quirk or unusual feature of your studio? My washing machine doubles as an impromptu work surface, and is covered with paint. We call it the Jackson Pollack washing machine.

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What can’t you see in my studio? I realized when I took the pictures that the area is so small, it’s hard to get an overall picture of the work space. I also have ovens, kilns and an oxygen concentrator down there, and pull out storage under all the work surfaces.

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