New Studio, very much in progress

I have made a lot of progress getting my new studio set up, but it still has a ways to go. Less than two weeks ago it looked like this:

Then it looked like this:

And today it looks like this:

I’m sort of at a stopping point right now. I am pretty sure that the major pieces of furniture are where they are going to stay. I have always had a corner for my main work area, but when I started setting up in my new space I discovered I did not have any available corners. Two of the corners are entry/exit points. One corner has a sink (or it will have one when the plumber comes Monday to reattach the sink and its pump). The final corner has a return vent for the HVAC system. It doesn’t matter though because I like looking across at my window.

Everyone who has seen my studio has suggested that I put some sort of plants out there, but I’m thinking I should do something more like Rachel Gourley’s bamboo like tubes or stones, or maybe some kind of playful totem. That’s a project for the future.
So here are a few photos I’ve marked up with some of the changes and additions I’ve got planned.
My main work area and oven wall:

The back wall/metalworking area:

The bookcase and window wall:


The sink wall: (I really don’t know quite how I’m going to arrange this area. It’s hard to get a handle on it while the sink is not in its working position)

And finally the area in front of my work table:

I don’t think I will put the bead storage there. It was just a thought when I was first marking up these photos. I need to get to Ikea and make a decision about which drawer units to get.

It’s going to be a Home Depot and Ikea weekend.  Also, looking at all these photos, one of the most striking things to me is how empty the walls are.  I think I need to get to work fixing that.


A Tour of My Previous Studios

Setting up my studio in our new home got me thinking about the other creative spaces I’ve had.  For your basic rectangle in the basement, it is surprisingly different from all my other spaces.

My new studio, will be my fourth dedicated creative space.  The first one came about when I commandeered a craft table in our finished basement that the kids just weren’t using.  (They preferred to be crafty at the coffee table in front of the tv or upstairs in the kitchen with me.)  I bought a cheap set of base cabinets from Home Depot, added another folding table, and filled the wall shelves with plastic containers.  I had a pretty great corner.


The walls were painted a soft blue, and the light was not ideal.  I only had a tiny casement window. But it was so wonderful to have my own space! And at the time I was only working in polymer clay and doing a bit of bead stringing.


Studio #2:  The house we moved to in New Jersey had a perfect 9″ X 13″  room in the finished basement that the previous owners had used as an exercise area.  We replaced the carpet with VCT and painted the walls bright white and the trim a bright blue.  You can see in the picture that I had two casement windows this time. The ceilings were also quite high and the bright white walls made the space see bright and airy.


My craft book collection was in its early stages and fit into a large Ikea Expedit bookcase with room to spare.


That bookcase, while lovely was not as sturdy as the Ikea Billy bookcases I use now, and its large size meant we had to sell it with the house when we moved back to Connecticut.

Studio #3, my last studio, we built from scratch.  We had the basement finished as soon as we moved in and it was a fantastic large space.  It did not have any natural light, but it did have a sink!  It really was a lot more space than I needed but I my beading had expanded and I had started working in metal as well.


I had my main work area in a corner just as you entered the main part of the studio.



My bench sat in the opposite corner.


I had a spot for soldering, and a handy closet as well.  The rainbow doors were a fun project.




The stairs down to the basement turned and made a perfect corner for a photo tent.



And my craft book and magazine collection grew.


I have really been fortunate to have some great creative spaces.

So, my new studio has a full size window (no view as it is a window well, but some lovely light) and a sink, but it is much smaller than the last studio and it does not have any closets.  The switch is proving a bit challenging, but I think ultimately the space will be just right. I’ll share pictures in a day or two.



Moving, The Great Creative Diversion


We’ve moved!  That is what has taken up all my creative energy this past year.  The short story is: we jumped on an opportunity to downsize and move into a custom home/condo in our favorite part of town.  We had been talking about making a move for years, but had no specific plans.  One weekend we went to an Open House for a brand new development, just for the heck of it, truly not expecting anything and we fell in love. And before we knew it we were building a new town home.


So, I spent the last year getting our home ready to sell and planning the new place.  That process pretty much sucked all the creative energy I had.  Now I am thrilled to say we have finished construction, moved in and sold our last house.   It was a busy year, but it was so very worth it.  We wake up every morning thrilled to be in our new home.   I am still finishing the last details here, unpacking, hanging pictures and figuring out what goes where.  I am itching to get back to making jewelry and I am dying to try out some non-jewelry ideas.

My studio is the last big unfinished detail.  We opted to finish the painting and flooring for the studio after the move.  All of that is almost finished and I hope to start moving things in to the studio later this week.  Right now it looks like a glorious new space full of possibilities.


Now we just have to sort through all of this mess.


The basement ended up in a crazy jumble of boxes and furniture. Items from the studio, E’s boxes from college, excess furniture, etc etc. all piled up together.  It’s going to be quite a project to get the studio set up, and sort and organize the rest of the stuff in the basement.  I can’t wait to get started.  Most of all I can’t wait to start working in the studio.


Ventilation system

The studio mess is under control.  I am so excited I can barely contain myself.  Really.  The tables have been cleared off, and my metals and soldering work areas are all set.  I’ve still got to clear up my polymer clay work area, but it’s okay for now.  As a reward for all my cleaning, I cut out and filed 3 unfinished bezels I found while cleaning, that I had soldered a few weeks ago at the Guilford Art Center.  They were tucked away in a compartment of my metals class tool box, and I had started to wonder if I had imagined soldering them to base sheets.

I am really excited about the new ventilation system I put in at my soldering table.  One of the really nifty things about taking a Rio Grande Education In Motion class, like the Microfold Texture class I took at Bead & Button, is that you get to try out lots of exciting tools from the catalog.  The item that most intrigued me in the class was the ventilation system they had set up at the soldering stations.


(click to enlarge)

It’s a dual filter system designed for fume extraction at a soldering station.  It is fitted with a “Loc-line” hose which is flexible, but will stay where you aim it.  The shorter section at the front of the base unit is a noise dampener which works beautifully to bring the fan noise down to a reasonable level.  It’s a powerful unit and without the dampener, it sounds like an industrial fan.

My basement studio doesn’t have any windows and it was more than time for me to install some kind of ventilation system.  I don’t do tons of soldering here, but I do enough that I needed to address the issue.  What I like about this system is that it is portable.  If I rearrange the studio, I can move it to a new spot.  When we eventually move again, it goes with me.  It’s quite powerful and with the noise dampener, quiet enough that I can still hear my ipod playing (ok, blaring) in the background.  And I am pretty happy that installing it didn’t require cutting a hole in a wall.

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