Saturday, May 26, 2012

Studio tour

Hey there! Remember me? I used to come here and blog all the time? I know. I have been remiss. But I am back now and I thought you might like to see where I have been hanging out. I had lunch with Curry in a Hurry Queen Nisha Katona today ( check out her videos especially this one touring the Indian food shop where she encouraged me to drop some money today). I tried to show her my studio on the ipad and realised that I never did post finished photos.

I was going to tidy up and give you arty detailed shots like these wonderful african baskets from The African Fabric Shop
But I didn't. So this is what it all looked like today. We have blazing sunshine today so excuse the odd line of light on the pictures. I try to keep it sort of vaguely tidy. When I am mid creating it gets lots worse than this. Sometimes it gets a bit better. Mostly this is about it.  The whole area as you see below is 26 1/2 feet by 24 1/2 feet.

The studio is a loft conversion so you enter by these stairs, at the top of which is a silver magnetic dry wipe board for  inspirational photos and scribbled reminders. although on the photos the wall in the studio look white in fact only the ceiling ( including the eaves) are, the rest are Farrow and Ball Pavillion Grey and Crown Mojito.

You turn right at the top to enter my reading nook. I am pleased that I have room on the bookshelves to grow into! The stair bannisters makes a handy storeage/ display area for some of my older semi-traditional quilts. I still need to find a good rug for this area. Chocolate is kept in the drawers under the kettle along with silk, abacca tissue and hand sewing threads.
Walking with the bannisters on your right you enter the main part of the studio.So as you walk from the reading nook you are walking towards the gap between the desk and the cutting surface you see here.
The design wall is not as high as this quilt so I have the desk temporarily pulled out a little. The only real compromise in ths studio is the size of the design wall as being a loft there are only two walls on which it could go. This one is the one you can walk back further from so I chose to put the design wall here and the bookcases on the other as seen in the next photo. The design wall is insulation board wrapped in white wadding and screwed to the wall. ( Thanks Dad!!)  It is 80 x 48 inches.

The black drawers you see everywhere are incredibly cheap and versatile. You can build any combination of depth drawers and stacks you like ( they are all the same width and come in a variety of colours) and they are from Really Useful Products. You can also put lidded boxes in the same stacks should you prefer that. I like them because they all match and you can take the whole drawer out and put it on your work surface. The drawers behind the desk are full of fabric and threads. My A3 Epson printer sits on the drawers to the left.  The light over the sewing machine is a Triple Bright Light from the Daylight Company and I highly recommend it. I am thinking abut getting a blind for this velxu window now it is getting summer. The light comes from this side in the the morning and the dormer window in the evening (where this photo was taken from)  so I get light all day long.

This is looking from the desk towards the dormer window. Under the window seat is lots of storage - spare machines, rolls of PDF fabric,wadding etc. The little face on the bookcases was a gift from art quilter Pat Dicker  and it reminds me of the great time I when I was at retreat in California. The sewing desk above and these bookcases where the furniture I had in my room in Chambers when I was still practising as a barrister before my current day job. The cutting surface you see is made of black high gloss kitchen cabinets on castors with a platinum lamiate top. ( Howdens, if anyone in the UK cares). The black drawers on the right hold papers, some backing fabrics and some commercial fabrics.

So is my pressing station on which I have a piece of MDF covered with two layers of wadding and a cotton top.  I store my rulers on the island to the left of the pressing surface.The two freestanding islands (which are each 35 x 64 inches) can be pushed together to make a bigger surface if I so desire. Inside are lots of Really Useful boxes and, well, stuff! Putting the iron on the wall was, if I say so myself, a stroke of genuis design. I also bought an iron which turns itself off after a certain time ( you can reactiviate it quickly with just a shake) so no worries anymore about leaving it on all night which I was known to do! The african basket on the floor is my waste basket. The lime quilt on the wall was a gift from Diane Perin Hock and reminds me of our wonderful friendship everyday. The cross stitch is of three African Women and was a kit I bought and did about a square inch of and my Mum finished for me! Hidden behind the bar stool are more black drawers with art equipment in. You can see the flourescent tubes which have daylight bulbs in.  there are also inset lights in the low beams over the reading nook and the sewing desk/ office desk.

From the reading nook and the dormer I look out over fields. Beyond the fields is a Safari Park and I can hear elephants and tigers roar from time to time as well as the bleating of sheep and twittering of birds nearer by.

Over by the sewing desk is my office desk.The photo is one Diane Perin Hock took from the Bishops Ranch where the retreat I mentioned was held and, again reminds me of good times and gives me hope for a return trip. I still need to buy a new desk chair. I bought a glass desk so that with a lamp under it the whole thing becomes a light box. The floor in the studio is laminate. The phone on the glass shelf has an intercom and my husband frequently uses it to ring me and tell me that my meals are ready! You can see some of my filofax collection on the desk.

Behind the green wall you see there is 'my' bathroom. I am lucky. My husband insists that the main family bathroom downstairs, in which we have a huge shower cubicle but no bath, is 'ours' but this one is 'mine'.

(Ooops. I left my acrylic paint sheet propped up by the sink! ) It is not the pink Dennis says makes it a girl bathroom, or even the airbath,  but the position of the toilet, which is absolutely fine if you sit down.... :)
If I push the door back more I can see the design board from the bath which is great for thinking through a design issue!

The bathroom gives me a water source so I can dye/ paint up here but as you can see the sink is designed for beauty not functionality and whilst its fine for teeth brushing it is not good for washing our paint laden brayers. Opposite the sink but not shown on these photos is a large storage area built into the eves in which I keep screens dyeing equippment etc at the moment. I use Really Useful Boxes put into the sink to wash things up in and pour the water down the loo. I keep a printing surface (MDF covered with acrylic felt and broadcloth) under the pressing station island and have drop cloths to cover the islands. So messy work is doable. I've packed up much of my tools in this photo - I was scraping and stamping fabric with screen inks.

But its not ideal. This is not a design flaw as the plan always was to convert the garage downstairs to a 'wet' studio/ utility room combined and we are just saving up now to do 'Phase Two'.

So this is where I am if you want me.


Brenda said...

How wonderful to see your sanctuary, i mean studio, now that it isall set up. I can just imagine you happily esconced and not evena trip to the bathoom need distract your creative task. An intercom system is a great idea. David uses the phone to summon me to dinner but there have been a couple of awkward monents when people have called at dinner time and I've picked up the phone (which rarely rubgs) and said "I'll be there in a moment"...

Jenny Bowker said...

Just beautiful. I am so jealous of what looks like a lot of space.

Brenda said...

What a great space. I bet you could work out how to fit all the Twelves in.

Deborah Boschert said...

So fun to see your studio! It's beautifully designed and I am so eager to see all the work you'll create in it.

Martha Ginn said...

Helen, what a treat to be invited into your creative space! Thanks for showing us. Martha Ginn

Sue Dennis said...

Love it Helen! Yes, you do need a better set up for wet work, this area looks too beautiful for dye splashes!

Eileen said...

What a beautiful studio! I love the windows and your reading nook.

Sarah Ann Smith said...

Thanks so much for sharing!

Working Mum said...

Beautiful. And I love that there is a drawer for chocolate!

Joyce said...

Just catching up with your blog.
What absolutely fantastic workspaces. Really beautiful. Your previous set up showed great ingenuity but this has got style and panache as well as the space you need.
Joyce F