Posts tagged studio space

Studio Furniture


Everyone dreams of having the perfect studio. Lots of room — lots of light — and wide tables. For our sewing machines, we want an inset for the machine with acrylic around the base, and hopefully space to the left and back of the machine to bear the weight of what we are working on.

I set up my first “studio” in the guest room. When I bought my first machine, a Viking — Lilly, I think — I also bought a Koala Cub to hold it in. When a guest would come, I could use the hydraulic lift to lower it into the cabinet and close the lid. For what it cost, I had aspirations for it to last a lifetime. It wasn’t the largest, but it’s what I could afford at the time.

As I began to take over the guest room and realize that it was truly my studio — because really, why keep a guest room when you only have a guest once or twice a year? — I added a few pieces. When my girls had outgrown the changing table, I hauled it in and used it for open shelving. I took an old bookcase and loaded it with books and binders of notes. I even bought a cool craft table from Hancock’s with 2 leaves that fold up.

That craft table. I’ve loved it to death — literally. It’s on its last legs. It’s great because I can fold up the two sides and roll it into a corner when I want to convert the studio to a guest room — on the few occasions a year that company comes.

craft table

The final size is just shy of 36″ x 60″ when fully extended. But wait, isn’t that a screw down there underneath? Yes, several screws can no longer be seated. The table is no longer flat — you can see the top on the right-hand side bends a little lower than the rest — and there’s quite a lean to the entire thing. I think it may fall over soon.

It’s a perfect size because I can place a 36″ wide cutting mat on one end, and it even has an ironing cover I can put on it when I want to iron something bigger than my ironing board.

Looking around the internet, it looks like the best solution for a replacement craft table is going to be 36″ short bookcases with cabinet grade wood over the top. Very permanent and not nearly as versatile as the piece above — but probably more sturdy over time. I’m considering using commercial grade velcro to hold the top in place rather than L brackets so I can move it all aside if I want went company comes. I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep the bookcases at the height they come in or add legs — it depends on what I find on my discovery trip to Ikea.

And the Koala Cub — it’s in bad shape. It did not move well — and that was 7 years ago now. There are several pieces that have just fallen off, and when I upgraded from the Viking Designer I to the Janome 7700 with the 11″ harp, the only way to fit it on the hydraulic lift was to cut out more of the opening. I’ll have to plan to replace the Koala in the long term given how expensive sewing cabinets are. I think mine was $700 and didn’t last 10 years — and other than the move, I hardly ever moved it or closed it up. Disappointing.

The ironing board is another matter. It is covered with a large piece of wood covered with cotton batting and muslin. I use it on the back side of the Koala, and the stand is sagging under the weight of the wood. It’s cabinet grade wood and very heavy, so the good news is that it has stayed flat, but the bad news is that it’s heavy. I may have to replace the stand soon — although ideally, one day I can buy a cabinet with a back piece and put the ironing board somewhere else.

I also added 2 large foldup tables when I moved here. One of them holds my serger and any other machine I might have on hand — and the other one is used in conjunction with the craft table. They can both be raised to counter height which is helpful, but they’re not especially deep.

I don’t think much about the furniture in my studio other than as a passing irritation. The impending collapse of my craft table, however, will force my hand on at least that issue.

I will admit that I’ve been drooling over Kathy Nida‘s very large light table for some time. She inherited it from a glass cutter, and it saves a whole step in the process of construction. If I had a bigger space — or a different room I could use as a guest room — I’d be tempted to try to construct something like that.

We can all build dream studios on Pinterest, but when you’re making do with what you have, sometimes you have to be creative — even with the furniture.



twitter.jpgAnother week in May. My mom was visiting last weekend and stayed through Tuesday — so I didn’t make my weekly goal of studio time. Always depressing — but sometimes life gets in the way. Hopefully, I will finish my small still life this coming week. I shared a pre-quilting shot of it on my Facebook Page a couple of days ago.

This is my weekly Twitter round up. If you want to follow me in real time, I’m @vsgreaves. You can also find me online through my social media icons in the upper right above the menu.

My first Tweet is about a couple that bought a warehouse in DC & decided to rent out space in it to artists for insanely low rents in the name of culture and small business growth.
“Off the Beaten Track provides affordable work space for D.C. artists”

Edward Winkleman gives another delightful read — a review after a Christie’s auction. No one is more painfully honest about the art scene in New York.
“Post-Incipient-Vomiting (or, An Analytical Look at “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday”)” — Artists as brands.

I’ve been told that this has already happened. I suppose once people figured out how to make money on the internet, it was only a matter of time until people developed speed lanes for the giants of industry.
Really really bad changes threaten to put your Internet in the
. Say no at (via )

Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is a professional textile artists group that has recently opened a new exhibit called Earth Stories at the Michigan State University Museum. I have several Facebook friends with pieces in the exhibit who, once the exhibit opened, were able to share how their pieces were created. It’s an extremely inspiring exhibit — not just on the theme of Earth Stories — but on the incredibly high professional talent in the world of textile art today.
SAQA’s Earth Stories exhibit opening Friday MSU Museum — incredible textile works.

A short article by 99U — but it covers the basics about the importance of starting and continuing.
“Vincent van Gogh & the Importance of Doing” Perserverance pays off — get to work!

Having spent a portion of my childhood as a people pleaser, I found Anne Lamott’s words really resonate with me. She also addresses the evils of perfectionism, another of my early faults that I thankfully excommunicated (having children really killed any remaining piece of that I still carried in my personality). “Shoot the moon.” I plan to get a copy of this book soon.
The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters:Anne Lamott on Priorities &How We Keep Ourselves Small by PeoplePleasing

Like many nuggets from Brain Pickings, I was unaware that anyone had ever declined the National Medal of Arts. I found Adrienne Rich’s letter to Bill Clinton interesting. I had a friend tell me that I have truly missed out by not reading her poetry — which I hope to rectify soon.
RT @brainpicker: Why Adrienne Rich, born 85 years ago today, became the only person to decline the prestigious National Medal of Arts

Not to get too political — but I did tweet this link about a Christian woman from Sudan who married a Christian and became pregnant. Because of Sharia law, she is considered Muslim because her father was, and so her marriage isn’t recognized — and after the birth and weaning of her child, she will be given 100 lashes and then  death — unless she recants her Christian beliefs. (There is disagreement about her degree of Christianity — but I’ll let you read the article and draw your own conclusions.)

This is a video about a man who went into the profession of a courtroom sketch artist — and how technology has made his skills increasingly obsolete. It is fascinating to consider the opportunity for an artist to make a living wage — and crushing to see it taken away and the artist morph into a security guard in order to pay his bills.
Watch: The Rise and Fall of a Courtroom Sketch Artist

Irish artist Brian Maguire traveled to Juarez, Mexico and spent four years documenting some of the 1,400 women killed and lost in this area of Mexico. We like to think that this is a remote problem that doesn’t concern us — but I live in Atlanta and it has become a weekly occurrence for teenage girls to disappear into sex trafficking in our city. Maybe it takes the resounding drum of artists to give faces to the missing and exploited.
“Art from Anger: Portraits of Ciudad Juarez’s Lost Women” The importance of social justice art.



twitter.jpgI have been in a state of flow this week — creativity blinding me to the outside world. It’s one of my favorite places to be. My new photography stand came and I took new pics of some older work (which ironically ended up not coming out well at all) — and I started fusing and cutting my latest piece — my favorite part of the process — my zen.

This is my weekly update on my Twitter feed. Admittedly, most all of the Tweets were done today — as I didn’t do much reading until today.

If you would like to follow my Twitter in real time, my handle is @vsgreaves — or hit the Twitter icon in the upper right hand corner above the menu. The FaceBook icon next to it takes you to my FaceBook Page where I post about what I’m doing in the studio during the week.

I posted this week on a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately — how an artist should consider marketing and how it relates to choices in subject matter.
New blog post on Marketable Subject Matter — art marketing is invited into the studio:  #art #marketing

I started many years ago making portraits — and I started the series with “faces in cloth I.” All of my monochromatic portraits had this title and at some point, although I dropped the serial naming, I continued working in portraits and have found that serial work has helped me grow a lot. Elizabeth Barton has a great post on her blog this week about why an artist should consider serial work.
“Serial Work” another good discussion from Elizabeth Barton 

Many people do not understand me — but this article does. It’s a great description of the kind of personality and temperament a lot of artists have.
Definitely describes me — risk & creative flow: 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently 

A lot of people think that creatives sit around and don’t do much — but really, the best way to overcome a block is to move forward with something — really, anything. Movement creates inspiration.
“Content, Creativity, and the Role of Habit” — show up & do the work 

My studio is at home. We have the perfect space for it and it works well in our situation. However, for those artists living in New York — studio space is shrinking.
“Rising Rents Leave New York Artists Out in the Cold” Not everyone has the luxury of studio space at home. 

It’s always frustrating to find an iconic image and realize that it’s all tied up in Getty Images. They have gone from issuing nasty legal threats for the use of their images to realizing the fluidity of pics and replacing threats with social media sharing buttons and a simple request for attribution to the photographer.
“Easing up on Litigation, Getty Images Goes Free for Non-Commercial Use” – Getty recognizes fluidity of pics 

I had not previously heard of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, an American that married Napoleon’s brother — but her journey looks like a fascinating view into a Renaissance woman who catapulted out of the restrictions on women in 1800’s American society into her own independent life.
“Wondrous Beauty: How Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte Pioneered the Ideal of the Independent Woman” 


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