Thursday, October 16, 2008

Studio 2

I have a second studio of sorts, since I live in the capitol during the workweek in a one-bedroom apartment.   It is sparsely furnished, which is good in some ways (easy to keep clean) but not in others (not particularly cozy.)  Over the two years or so that I have occupied this space, I have consciously avoided adding much in the way of furnishings since I was hoping the arrangement would be more temporary than it has turned out to be.

In any case, here is my apartment work space as it looks at the beginning of the week.  I use the dining table and spread out as much as I want.  If eating becomes necessary while a project is in full swing, I clear a corner of the table for a bit or I eat in the living room. 

My materials are kept in the utility closet just behind the table.  I have a lot of closet space in the apartment, so I removed the clothes bar in the closet and installed some plastic shelving.  The sewing machine and the bucket share the two bottom cubbies, but craft items fill the remaining drawers and boxes.  The top shelf is large enough to store my cutting mat and rulers.  My tiny ironing board hangs in the closet on the wall to the right.

The view from the apartment is spectacular, and from my craft table I can look out and see the city fading into rural spaces.  The following photo was taken in the late afternoon looking northwest.  And yes, those are snakes on the railing and table.  The balcony is not screened so in order to deter the pigeon population of Columbia from calling my balcony home, I asked the previous owner of my unit to please leave his "pets" in place.  This works wonderfully, although it is not a very attractive solution from a human point of view.  If I end up keeping the condo long term, I will enclose the space with screening to keep out both the pigeons and the wasps, who also seem to want to share my unit.

I can't see the city from my craft table, but if I'm sitting on the balcony, this is the view I have at sunset.  I'm only about 2 miles from downtown, so the city is actually a lot closer than it appears in this photo. 

And this is how my workspace looks when a project gets going.  I leave the closet door open, the ironing board is set up on the kitchen counter and I am within  few steps of anything I need to work with fabric.  The chairs serve as temporary shelving.  Since the apartment faces west, it gets the afternoon sun so it is always bright and cheery late in the day and the projects I'm doing are easy on the eyes.  The space is always returned to its blank slate look on Thursday evenings before I return to Aiken.

Sharon asked what our studio space means to us.   For me, the space means a place where I can keep supplies in an orderly fashion without the rest of the family rummaging around in them, where I can retreat to think and plan in quiet, where I can spread out a project.  But I have to confess that I work on projects wherever it happens to suit me.  I don't feel compelled to use just the space I've designated as a studio, although I do happen I suppose to do most of my work there.

I have lived without studio space most of my life, and I can honestly say that I don't think I felt limited in any way.  For me, time has always been the limiting factor.  And while it is nice to have a special spot for fiber work, a special place to display yarns and fabrics and threads, I am wondering if such spaces are over-rated and are a product of our having too much in the way of space and supplies.  I think of the beautiful sweaters which were created in the Aran Islands by women who probably knit them next to the fire in a very small cottage, or the Gee's Bend quilts which were created with scraps by women who owned not much more than the clothes on their backs.  Studio space?  I can hear them laughing.

Would I choose to give up my space now that I have it?  Not a chance!  Has it improved creativity or expanded my horizons?  Perhaps, because the materials are organized and visible.  But I would say that the quiet evenings away from the family during the week have done more to affect creativity and output than having studio space.   I am looking forward to reading what others have to say on this.  It was an illuminating exercise for me because it really did make me think about the impact workspace has on productivity and how I've arranged my space and projects.

As for the teapot blocks, I'll show the progress in my next entry. 

1 comment:

Marjorie said...

Your comments about your two spaces and how you use them are very intersting and thought provoking, especially your comments about the desire for "studio space." Marjorie