Last week many of my internet friends working in the fiber arts showed pictures of their studios on their blogs. I found it so much fun to see the places that were the beginning spaces for so much exciting art. It was fun to imagine my friends in their spaces working diligently. Some of these were even videos with explanations of where their stashes and supplies were kept and how the storage spaces were made to order for each artist.
So I decided that maybe you might also like to know how I use my space to work. Above is a photo of my drawing table and my major work table behind it. My studio space takes up a little over half of a huge heated sunroom off the back of our house. There are three sets of windows like the one pictured along one long wall. At the ends of the room are two sets of sliders leading to two decks. Above is a slanting vaulted ceiling with three skylights. The room faces the southern exposure and is extremely sunny during the day. In the summer I always pull the blinds to offer a bit of shade and keep the temperature down.
My drawing table faces out the middle set of windows and my butterfly garden. This garden is full of the flowers I love to draw. Sometimes if it is too hot in the studio I just take myself out to the decks with a sketchbook and a lawn chair and draw near the gardens.
Most of the fabrics I use for my quilts are cottons and silks. I use a very deep and large armoire to house most of my fabrics, cottons arranged by color and silks on the second shelf left. Many of my specialty fabrics are in tubs on shelves in the basement. I also have three large containers arranged by color in the cabinets under my work table of scraps too small to fold, ultrasuede, tulle and organzas. The table cabinets also hold all my batting, fusible web, buttons, trims, ribbons, beads and some of my projects. There are four deep drawers in the cabinet which hold all the pins, scissors, and small tools. My threads are in plastic containers kept in a center shelf in the cabinet and also in the drawers of my sewing cabinet.
My workspace is such a wonderful piece of furniture. I used to work full time for a local chain of a fabric store. They closed doors a few years back about the same time we bought this house, so I purchased one of their cutting tables with the cabinets below. You can see that I have a retractable extension to the table which I fold down on occasion to make more room in the space but often I use this space to lay out my quilts and I cut closer to the wall. There is a metal cutting guide on the side closest to the wall which is great for cutting batting straight.
Above the table are two covered cork boards that I use as a place to pin up ideas, cards, photos and whatnots. On one of these boards I have a small piece that I bought from Susan Shie when taking her workshop. Her St. Quilta keeps watch over my space. In this photo you can see the second window that I sew in front of. My Bernina is housed in a standard sewing machine table under the window which also came from the unfortunate closing of the fabric store. To the far left you can just get a glimpse of my work board. It is an 8' x 4' piece of sound insulation covered twice over with white felt. I have yet to screw it into the wall because it is so heavy that it will take three of us to hold it and one to screw it to the wall. To it's left is one of the sliders.
Well, it was not as comprehensive a tour as some of the ones I saw last week but at least you get an idea of where the work I love to do comes from. For most of my time sewing my quilts I have not had the luxury of this room. In my first house, a tenement, I used part of my living space and the dining room table. My second house was a single family but I really didn't have any space for me there either. I used the dining table, which was at that time our major eating table. I had to put up and take down the machine every time I sewed. I got a lot of work done in both of these places and sometimes I wonder how in the world I did it. The two years that I owned my loft space were the most wonderful and expanding years for me to find the artist inside. They planted the seed within me for the desire to continue to value my work space in my life. So when Tony and I were looking for a new home outside the city, a place just for my studio was the most important priority to me.
As I get older, I wonder how long we are going to be able to stay here in this high maintenance home. My biggest fear is the possibility of losing my space again. But I try to take it a day at a time and each day I am in the studio, I consider it a true gift. It's late but I think I'll go sew in the studio now. Hope you enjoyed the tour.