Not Finished But Fully Functional

I don’t know if any of you have noticed that since I started blogging, I have shown very little new work. Almost all my posts are about old work. If it is new; it’s a sweater.

The reason I haven’t been producing is because we have been renovating my studio for the last three months.

My first studio, if you could call it that, was our laundry room in Valdez. It was really a glorified closet, but it was mine and all in all the set up was quite good. Where the washer and dryer were originally situated, I had a cutting table and storage. There was also broom closet where Walt built shelves for storing yardage.

I had a little table with my sewing machine and a design wall on the back of the door. The crazy thing was that this little room was also the entrance to our home from the garage. There was constant traffic in and out of the room. But like I said, it was mine. There are no photos of that space–it was too small to photograph.

When we moved from Valdez to Anchorage, we knew we needed room for me to have a long arm quilting machine. Ideally the space would be on the front of the house, so clients could drop off and pick up quilts without having to wade through all of Tripp’s Lego creations.

This studio was highly functional but not particularly glamourous. Everything was labeled and stored on Gorilla Racks. My sewing table was an old desk. My design walls hung from the Gorilla Racks. It worked.

Here is the entrance to my studio version #1. The design walls are mounted on hooks which hung Gorilla Racks.

Here is the entrance to my studio version #1. The design walls are mounted on hooks which hung on Gorilla Racks.

Here is the same area from across the room.

Here is the same area from across the room.

There is no longer a hang for gnomes in my studio. My boys are getting to big for such silliness anyway.

There is no longer a hang out for gnomes in my studio. It makes me sad to say that they are getting to big for such silliness anyway.

The design wall behind my long arm machine is about the only thing that stayed the same.

The design wall behind my long arm machine is about the only thing that stayed the same.

In the old version of my studio, I stored most of my yardage in as flat folds in the  far corner of the room. This system was no longer working for me.

In the old version of my studio, I stored most of my yardage in as flat folds in the far corner of the room. This system was no longer working for me.

This was supposed to be my cutting area, but I was constantly covering it with fabric.

This was supposed to be my cutting area, but I was constantly covering it with you name it.

Here is my old work station.

Here is my old work station.

As my work evolved I needed a larger staging areas for auditioning fabrics, I needed bigger design walls, I needed a new storage system for my fabrics, sweaters and felted wool.

This winter Walt and I started the excruciating process of creating a studio environment that met those needs. This was a long painful experience. I see potential in the smallest scrap of fabric or wool. I have a very difficult time throwing anything away that I might later be able to stitch together.

This what the place looked like when I began to sort and cleaning.

This what the place looked like when I began to sort and clean.

I had been stitching for about two years straight without stopping for a deep cleaning. This irresponsible behavior was finally beginning to wear on me and my creativity. Let's face it. I couldn't find things I needed.

I had been stitching for about two years straight without stopping for a deep cleaning. This irresponsible behavior was finally beginning to wear on me and my creativity. Let’s face it. I couldn’t find things I needed.

And the sweaters were multiplying.

And the sweaters were multiplying.

If I am going to hold on to everything, I need to find a proper way to store it. For the month of December I made sweaters and told Walt I was cleaning. For January, I blogged and made myself work for couple of hours a day on the studio, and of course I made sweaters. February was my reality check. I needed to start making quilts again, and in order to do that I had to get my studio in order.

And now, at the end of the first week in March, I am happy to say that while my studio it is not completely finished, it is once again a fully functioning space.

Here is the new entrance to my studio--a beautiful collection of felted wool.

Here is the new entrance to my studio–a beautiful collection of felted wool.

We removed the Gorilla Racks and exposed the windows, so that I now have a southern exposure.

We removed the Gorilla Racks and exposed the windows, so that I now have a southern exposure.

The far corner of the studio is no longer a jungle gym for kids. It is my office space with all my books and paper supplies.

The far corner of the studio is no longer a jungle gym for kids. It is my office space with all my books and paper supplies.

Okay, I will admit that I need to sort all of my paper work. I did not get that done, but with tax season up next, I will have to. Walt also needs to hang a small design wall on the back wall.

Okay, I will admit that I need to sort all of my paper work. I did not get that done, but with tax season up next, I will have to. Walt also needs to hang a small design wall on the back wall.

All my fabric is now stored like this. I can easily slide these tubs in and out and look for fabric as if I were going through a rolodex.

All my fabric is now stored like this. I can easily slide these tubs in and out and look for fabric as if I were going through a rolodex.

Here is the same old design wall that was there before, but now all of my thread storage is next to the long arm instead of across the room.

Here is the same old design wall that was there before, but now all of my thread storage is next to the long arm instead of across the room.

All my thread, rulers, and magazines are stored here behind the long arm.

All my thread, rulers, and magazines are stored here behind the long arm.

I have the same type of fabric storage all the way around the room.

I have the same type of fabric storage all the way around the room.

On the back wall I have this amazing new design wall. Love it.

On the back wall I have this amazing new design wall. Love it.

The new design wall is actually a pair of doors and when you open them up- Viola! You have sweater storage.

The new design wall is actually a pair of doors and when you open them up- Viola! You have sweater storage.

Here is my new work station.   Walt put the old desk on wheels so that I can move it around, and he added another really nice large design wall.

Here is my new work station. Walt put the old desk on wheels so that I can move it around, and he added another really nice large design wall.

I am sure that the studio will not be this clean again until the next remodel!

I am sure that the studio will not be this clean again until the next remodel!

I can’t wait to get back into my studio and start making things!

I shared this post on Nina Marie’s Blog as part of her year long look into other artist’s studios. It’s a great way to see what other artist’s spaces look like.

This entry was published on March 7, 2013 at 5:24 PM and is filed under History. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

36 thoughts on “Not Finished But Fully Functional

  1. mark on said:

    Take a spring break, looks like you’re ready to roll out some more fine product.

    Like

    • Nark-

      It feels weird that yes I have this great space but no I can’t use it for a week because I am going away, but I will be stitching sweaters in McCarthy. At least that is the plan!

      Like

  2. Nysha on said:

    THere is nothing like a newly cleaned and organized space — makes me feel like a creative genius! Congratulations. I know it was a ton of work!

    Like

  3. WOW; great space and organization! I know that feeling where you just can’t work anymore until you put things AWAY! My cutting table is buried under stuff right now. Good thing I am not ready to cut anything for a few days.

    Like

  4. Looks great,Maria! Wish I could claim to be so organized..:-)

    Like

  5. Great work space!!!!! Looks like it was well worth the effort….ENJOY!!!!

    Like

  6. I love seeing other’s studios. Thanks for letting us have a look around. It looks like you will be able to be very busy with the new arrangement!

    Like

  7. gma patt on said:

    Great work. How about a Walt? Can you duplicate a guy like that and make him more age appropriate for a grey haired ole lady? grandma patt

    Like

  8. Very inspiring. Congratulations on a big accomplishment. I need to do likewise….

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  9. What a lovely, bright, functional space! And what a good idea having the thread storage at 90 degrees to the wall. It all looks very welcoming and comfortable – well done!

    Like

  10. Rita Cruz on said:

    I want to trade my room from for yours and yes I will move to get it! WOW it is awesome!

    Like

  11. I’m so impressed! I love looking at organized studios. It shows all the potential art that can be made with all the fabric, threads, paint and stuff ready for your inspiration.

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  12. Thank you Jeanne and Rita! I’m glad you stopped by.

    Like

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  15. Beautiful space, Maria!

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  16. Julianne on said:

    You have a lovely space…well organised..I love your storage..

    Like

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  18. Sounds like you and Sue are all set to continue your fabulous creations. Her remodel is coming along great. Can’t wait to see it. The pics of yours were a perfect replacement for the real thing. Thanks!

    Like

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