Saturday, October 03, 2009

Welcome to An Open Studios Tour

Welcome to my studio!
This post is part of the Open Studios Online tour hosted by Cloth, Paper Scissors Studios Magazine, so be sure and go see all the other artist studio tours posted today.

The room that I use for my art-quilting and collage/mixed-media studio is upstairs in our house and was (when we did our recent remodel) intended to be a family TV room and occasional guest room. It has a door off to a bathroom and a big 8 foot window as well as carpeting. The room that was going to be my studio has turned out to be a music/computer room for my teenagers. So I've been slowly claiming this room as my own, even though eventually I will be moving into the room downstairs when/if my teenagers are no longer using it.

I know this tour through my studio won't look perfectly organized and inspirational and put-together like the studios shown in the magazine, but my room is probably in the most organized and together state ever and I'm really enjoying using what I've got.
First is the main work area of my studio, I have a table with my sewing machine, and a cutting table, as well as a drawer stack with my sewing notions. There is a rolling chair and a plastic mat so that I can zoom around since the room is carpeted. Behind the chair is a closet with no doors where I have most of my fabric in plastic boxes. Under the tables are more plastic boxes with projects and yes, more fabric. I love having everything I use the most close by and together.

Here's a closer up view of my sewing station. The table I'm using is a computer table with a drop-down area intended for your keyboard, of course I've got the sewing machine on there. That way when I'm free-motion quilting, there isn't as much drag on the rest of the big quilt surface as I move it around. Also, I have a small rug underneath my machine, it helps it not vibrate and helps trap the thread scraps that inevitably fly around when sewing.
When I turn around in my work chair I see these stacks of plastic boxes containing fabrics and ongoing projects. I've labeled them all with my P-Touch lable maker which makes it look a little bit more "official" and cohesive to me than random stickers and pieces of paper taped on which is what I used to have.
A funny angle view from the cutting table, this shows the pincushions next to my sewing machine, sitting on top of the box of Sulky threads that I use in my machine quilting all the time. I find the closer I keep the tools to where I use them, the more they get utilized. I'm much more likely to switch thread colors because they are right there. I also keep the plastic box with all the sewing machine feet right there at hand too. Behind them are a rotating tool organizer which has scissors, pens, pencils, glue sticks, erasers , a back scratcher and a sewing stiletto.
That spot is one that my cats like to hang out in, they aren't in danger of getting rotary cut or stitched or pinned there, and they can keep an eye on what is going on outside in the front yard. Next to Spike on the table is a big glass jar where I put broken needles and pins and thread trimmings.Gosh this looks so messy, but you have no idea how it usually looks! On top of the table are an organizer of rulers for rotary cutting, a basket for fabric scraps (this usually gets unmanageable quickly) and a box of collage-y fibery bits that had to be gathered together somewhere. On the wall is a thread rack of colorful rayon thread cones, and a bulletin board with inspiring quotes, images and name tags.

To the right is a stack of plastic drawers that have all my notions like buttons, interfacing, tools, pens, more thread, needles, scissors, etc. On top of that is my spirit station or altar where I keep a 7-day candle going and light incense everyday I'm working in the studio, helps to keep me centered and on track with why I'm doing what I'm doing. To the right is a collection of promotional bags, tassels and an embroidery bag I'm adding to.

Below that is my to-go basket of hand-sewing projects and colored pencils and sketch book that I take when I go on trips. In front of that is the serger that is always at the ready to jump up onto the cutting table to finish some edges. Underneath the table is post office mailing boxes, plastic boxes of ribbons, yarns and fabric.

In the collage zone, here is my milk crate of mostly different types of glue and collage mediums. Yes it used to be a Foremost, but I repainted it. This collage zone has a big box of collage stuff that I can roll over to in my chair and dig through as I'm working.
And in this corner...The rest of my fabric is there behind that curtain on a Gorilla Rack shelf. I found that the cheapo metal shelves you can buy just won't hold heavy boxes of fabric and am really happy with these sturdy shelves, no bending and breaking. Also, I realized that I have to have a curtain on there so that the light from the window doesn't fade all the fabric. I also have several boxes of beads on those shelves.

There on the right is the vintage sectional rattan couch (formerly my grandma's) that my mostly invisible but still incredibly hairy studio cat lives under (long story). To the left of the shelf are three big plastic boxes that contain batting, backing fabric and miscellaneous stuff I really need to sort through at some point but never quite ever get around to it. If I'm looking for something, it usually turns out it is in one of those bottom two boxes.

On top of the big boxes there is my CD player/radio and basket of Cd's, very necessary to keep me going when I'm working. Behind the CD player is a laundry basket filled with clothing that I'm working on Wardrobe Refashioning, t-shirts that need reshaping, pants that need changing or copying, etc. And then there is my beading chair, it is a recliner that I like to sit in when I bead on my quilts, I put my feet up, make sure I have the portable phone near to hand and get my beading done.

On the wall is my pitiful excuse for a design wall with several pieces I've been working on this year pinned up. It has been temporary for a year now, but I just haven't made it a priority to make a big permanent more functional one. I have the plans, know what I need to make it, but I just have to get the husband time scheduled to help me out in procuring and cutting up the materials. Maybe I'll ask for it for my birthday. For now, it is a flannel backed vinyl picnic table cloth. It works well for small pieces of fabric, as long as no one walks by quickly, but for larger things, I have to pin them up.
Below the "design wall" is my Flynn Frame, the PVC pipes that go with it, two camera tripods and two bins of upholstery fabrics. On top of those bins are another art quilt I'm working on as well as a stack of some various fabrics that I'm planning to paint, painting papers, a Fiskars paper trimmer and a little step stool so I can reach up to the top of the design wall.
On the back of the door is one of those clear plastic shoe organizers, I have all kinds of stuff in those pockets, mostly just for eye catching views of interesting colors, but also so that I don't forget about this fabulous scarf, or silk flower or deck of cards or pack of Barbie shoes.

Here is the wall of book cases, three in all. The short one on the right has a lamp on top which helps illuminate the design wall to the right and the ironing board area. Also on that top shelf are my water spray bottle which helps in ironing and of course a can of spray starch. In that bookcase there are boxes of my dyed and surface designed fabrics, on the bottom shelf are collection bags. I have a bag of nylon produce bags, quilt binding bit, silk flower petals and leaves, trimmings from bulls eye blocks and other assorted scraps.
Under the ironing board is a three drawer plastic bin of assemblage stuff, plastics, woods, metals and glass, a box of all my batik and handmade stamps and my accordion sewing basket which the legs just broke off of.
The next bookshelf has all my quilting and art books, yearly show binders from my years of art quilting, a whole shelf of blank journals, a shelf of my completed art journals and altered books and collaborative projects, and several shelves of current projects and frequently used tools.
On top of the bookcase are two boxes and a basket of clothing patterns, my photo lights that I use to shoot my quilts with, and a basket of wire and hooks for making hanging bars for my quilts.
The final white bookcase is mostly filled with magazines which I've recently sorted out and gotten organized and labeled. so much easier to find what I want now. The next project is actually going through them one by one and deciding whether I really need to keep them all. There are almost too many to be useful at this point! The top shelf has mailing and office supplies. To the left is the wood supports for my Flynn frame, wood trim for around the two doors and closet in this room, ahem, guess that needs to get done at some point, and a roll of upholstery fabric left over from a previous project.

Here is a short video tour of my studio. A little bit herky-jerky, but you can see how all the parts of the room fit together. I have to say I'm always surprised by what my voice sounds like, do I really sound like this? I don't know, I wouldn't say so, that isn't how I sound to myself from inside my own head! Reality, what a challenging concept,eh?

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to my studio, please come back again and see me some time!


Grace said...

Julie, you are so right about how our voice sounds to us and how it sounds recorded or to others...weird indeed.
Love your space. We quilters are a practical bunch aren't we? Love your red walls.

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I loved it Julie! We both want our stuff labeled and close at hand! It's a real, working room.....not something that is so *plastic* that you'd feel uncomfortable to walk in with shoes on. Those are the studios I long to visit....where there are interesting piles of STUFF and pieces and nooks and crannies!
Good work! Thoroughly enjoyed seeing it.


Cre8Tiva said...

i so loved the tour of your creative space...please come see mine when you have a chance...i am having a the colorful wall..i see you love books too...hugs, rebecca

beadbabe49 said...

Really enjoyed your studio tour and the orange wall gives it such warmth and a welcoming feeling...thanks so much for sharing!

virtuallori said...

It's a nice, bright space. And I love the colorful pincushions. Thanks for sharing.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I like your pumpkin coloured wall (at least it's 'reading' pumpkin on my computer anyway). The clear shoe holder is a great idea too. Thanks for inviting us!
Mary Anne

Judi B said...

Great tour, Julie! I agree, music in my studio is a great muse for creativity. Thanks for the fun visit -- hope you'll come see me too.

Anke Martin said...

HI Julie, looks like a comfi place to create and with such a great company at the window! Enjoy being in there! Smiles, Anke ;)

di from di-did-it said...

I like how so many things you need are stacked in clear plastic bins in a well-lit closet right behind your work station. How handy! My favorite part (besides the lush green view out the window) are the orange walls! Now that's living! :)Thanks for sharing your space with us.

Melly Testa said...

Is that a pretty jar or scraps and thread (in the picture with you cat)? The walls paint is fabulous. Yum. Thank you.

Magpie Sue said...

Love that orange wall!

Karoda said...

this was a treat since i've followed your blog for years now! the videos are so much better than just looking at photos.

Susan said...

you gave me a great idea with that over the door rack on the back of your studio door. Thanks for posting

Gina said...

Great studio and you even managed to fit in a design wall! I need to work on that one. Thanks for the tour!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Those orange...or are they red...walls are Fabulous! LOVE them! Two rooms in our farmhouse are orange...soft, not pumpkin...and they are warm and inviting.
Great use of space, thanks for the studio tour.