Saturday, March 22, 2008

New & Bigger Studio / Work Space for 2008

Following in the footsteps of wonderful friends and fellow craftistas, Kathy Cano-Murillo (Crafty Chica) and Yoli Manzo (Sacred Snatch), I open my workspace (the part that isn't scattered throughout the house) to you - in all of its imperfect glory.


When Ron and I purchased our home in 2000, we never thought we'd outgrow it! We have no children, but purchased a 3 bedroom home, thus allowing us to have a spacious home office and a dedicated guest room for friends and family.


Since that Spring day almost eight years ago, we've acquired a lot of stuff - the necessary tools of homeownership: a collection of saws, workbenches, potting benches and yard tools, including a lawnmower and a shop vac; too much furniture (we should have avoided the desire to furnish all at once); more animals: two re-homed macaws and their huge-ass cage and outdoor aviary, and a re-homed king snake with his 6' wide enclosure; and a home art business with enough fabric to open up my own shop.

Just a couple of years later, I was laid off (good job, awful people) and decided I'd do two things: 1) volunteer with animals, and 2) get myself an el cheapo sewing machine and finally learn to do this sewing thing right. At that point, I did most of my work in the classes I was taking and didn't have a "stash" to speak of. So I started out sharing the "guest" room, which we had decorated with fun stuff we found on our biennial Southwest driving trips. I discovered the wonders of pre-colored plaster and purchased some in terracotta and butter colors and went to work eradicating the orange peel textured walls. I bricked the floor with pavers (we've since removed them and Pergoed the whole house). We got rid of the bed and got an inflatable one that we could store for 11 or so months out of the year.

As the years went on, I was learning just about everything I could, starting with garment construction & pattern customization, and then quilting. Pretty soon, my $99 machine was making me nuts, and I splurged on a Janome Memory Craft 4800QC (quilter's companion), which I still love and bicker with regularly. Thanks to some awesome mentors and instructors, I began experimenting with fused art quilts and threadpainting. It didn't take long before Ron and I gave up the idea of even having space for guests on a temporary basis.

Fast forward to 2006 and 2007 when I started exhibiting and selling, and when my fabric stash of prints, hand dyes, batiks and silks reached critical mass and my tools and "toys" were spilling out into the hallway and office ... and bedroom ... and downstairs ....

It was time to relocate. Thanksgiving weekend 2007 was D-Day and I had to be out of my old studio FAST because I was trading spaces with ... our birds! It was not an option to NOT have a sleep cage assembled and ready for use by nightfall, so everything sort of got tossed into plastic storage bins and carried downstairs and out of the way. (Yes, we carried that big-ass bird cage up a flight of stairs. A good reason to powerlift at the gym.)

I made a trip or two to IKEA, thinking that one of their huge storage-shelf-wall-unit thingies with the new drawer/door inserts would be enough to hold my fabric stash.

(Yet another reason for the powerlifting.)

Not even close. I have given away quite a bit to Evie for catnip kitty quilt mats and dog toys, and I still have SIX large storage bins packed with "extra" fabric, and I don't even know what it was for! I have promised Evie's mom, Gale, a "Supermarket Sweep" day with my Asian prints, though, which should bring me down to five bins located in various rooms throughout the house.

Anyway, here is where I stand (it doesn't look nearly as bad as it actually is 'cause most of the mess is still unsorted in bins...):
New Studio New Studio New Studio

As soon as Ron and I recover from the plague that's been going around this year, we'll be moving my cutting/setting table (out of our bedroom) into my space. I'm taking that china cabinet apart and moving it into our dining "room" (nook would be more appropriate) and heading back to IKEA for some open shelves for small supplies I use a lot and don't mind being out in the open like glues, brushes, jars of thread scraps and glitters. Oh yeah, and art too! I'll also use some of that wall space to hang my ironing board when I'm not using it.

Now if I could just figure out a way to kitten-proof an open floorspace like this (yeah. not happening.)