Studio a gogo

Finally, my studio is finished. What a long process it has been. At times I felt like I was dragging the garage screaming and kicking from its chaotic unfinished state, and forcing it – seemingly against its will –  to become a functional workspace for me.

There have been dramas and distractions along the way, but now I am through and out the other side and it is done. Admittedly there are a couple of more minor things I would like to do (and I will update you as I do them) but for all intents and purposes, I declare the studio complete!

Last time I posted on studio progress, it was to show you my completed card index project, and the H-U-G-E pile of rubbish that accumulated at the end of my studio awaiting rubbish collection.

Rubbish awaiting collection

Well, I boxed, bundled and stacked everything on the street last Monday.

Rubbish awaiting pick up

And then the nice rubbish men came, waved their magic wands, and it disappeared. Brilliant.

My studio was nearly finished when I completed my loft storage a couple of days ago, but I decided to change the layout.  Using a space can often alter your opinion of it, how it works, where the light is, the flow of the space as you move through it. I often think you should live somewhere for a year before you change anything major.

I really liked the layout I originally had for a number of reasons, but once my studio was ‘done enough’ for me to start working in it a couple of weeks ago, I quickly realized a major limitation.

The studio has one window, which I love, it has a pretty view out onto trees and the neighborhood, and it makes my studio much lighter than it would otherwise have been.

Originally, I had my desk under that window.

Original location of desk

Which was lovely because it meant I could look out at the view while I was working on my laptop. Lovely in the morning, that is. This window faces due west, which means it gets the full blast of the afternoon sun, and trying to work on your laptop, with the sun glaring in your eyes is the best recipe for a headache that I know of (apart from too much wine, allegedly).

So the desk had to move. Which meant the whole space had to be rethought.

It was tricky because I didn’t want to move the big shelves at the end of the room; it would be like setting up the whole studio from scratch again, and I just couldn’t quite face that having already moved each thing in there a gazillion times.

We didn’t have the luxury of space in the rest of the house that would allow me to move everything out and remodel the space empty, so I have spent weeks shuffling my studio stuff around the space as I worked on it in sections in a game I called Garage Tetris (you can read about it here, here, here and here).

The thought of taking everything off the shelves, unbolting them from the walls, moving them, rebolting them and then restacking them was too much. So my new layout had to assume that they were immovable.

Those shelves had to stay

Another wall of the studio has spill-over kitchen storage. Our kitchen is minute, and we had to steal some garage space, repurposing a china cabinet we dubbed The Ugly Duckling, in order to make it work. Moving the ugly duckling away from the door to the kitchen made no sense at all, so I had to assume that this was also immovable.

I had set the studio up to have two distinct work zones. A dirty zone for messy, glue-y dusty, griming, saw-dusty, paint-y, generally eeewww work; and a clean zone for using my laptop, sewing, and anything else I didn’t want to get messed up.

Wanting to maintain these two separate zones was also a decision factor. That and minor things, like: where to put my kiln, and keeping a big piece of wall empty for when I want to do large drawings, or hang a piece of work to see how it looks.

I puzzled over this for a few days, mentally shifting stuff around until I came up with the current layout.  And here is my studio, completed, as seen from the attic.

The final layout

The area closest to you is the dirty zone, then hidden away behind my card index is my desk, filing cabinet, books and general clean zone stuff.

Let me take you on a tour of my studio, interspersed with some before images, to remind you (and me) as you look at them, just what a task the whole business has been.

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

All my lovely art books at my fingertips

Tools close to hand

Before

Card index tool storage divides clean and dirty zones

Peeking through from my desk

Before

Kiln almost ready to go. Just need some wiring now.

Easel set up

Loft storage operational

Before

A blend of studio and kitchen storage

Work boots ready

Whose work bench? Treadwell's, of course!

My thinking chair

Looking down

And there you have it. Unlikely to win any major design awards anytime soon, but clean, organized and functional.

Which is exactly as it should be.

4 responses to “Studio a gogo

  1. Wow, great job, Clare!!!
    The ‘thinking chair can also double as a guest hanging out chair …. 🙂

  2. Ah yes, it has doubled as one in the past, and I have no doubt it will again in the future! You’re welcome to come sit in it any time! 🙂

  3. Perfectly written articles, Really enjoyed reading.

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