Finding a creative space that works

May 5, 2014

Home studio of ceramic artist Shelley Martin, Vitrified Studio.
I love seeing the work spaces of artists, particularly those who work from home like myself.  Last Fall, I visited a few artist studios in town as part of Portland Open Studios.  My first stop was the studio of ceramist Shelley Martin of Vitrified Studio.

Shelley's work space is a converted garage. One section houses the kiln, and the other, her pottery wheels.  For the studio event, the garage was stocked with her current collection and sample pieces. As you can see from the photo below, I snatched some beautiful wares. 

My work space is in our renovated basement.  I like that it's open, heated, and a short walk to work in the morning. I don't have to worry about parking fees, noisy studio neighbors, or even brushing my hair.

where I paint
In the last four years, I have slowly taken over most of the basement. There are four different work stations- one for painting, packaging, printing, and weaving. And, with the purchase of a floor loom last month, I now have two weaving corners. 

weaving corner
The past six months have been some of my busiest, and I've realized that my creative business is outgrowing my creative space.  I tend to spread out my stuff when I work, and I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to find sufficient table space and storage.  There's also the issue of natural light.  And, as a painter, working in a cave (i.e. basement) is less than ideal. 

So, for the past few months, I have been casually looking for a new studio space.  I do love the character of converted warehouse spaces (especially with a view of downtown Portland!).  But, the monthly lease is often times equal to a mortgage payment!

After touring a few spaces around town, I'm now leaning towards building a studio in our backyard.  As we meet with a team of folks over the next few weeks to discuss this possibility, I'm getting very excited about the idea of designing my own studio space. But, I'm trying not to get ahead of myself.

Until then, I've been rearranging my current space to better serve my needs.  I've added a bit more storage, which you can never have enough of as an artist.  For me, my physical surroundings has a pretty big impact on my creative rhythm and production.  So having an organized studio space creates a more positive work environment.

The past few weeks, I have also been quite busy adding new items to my Etsy shop, including more mini mountain paintings on cedar and larger eco-friendly prints.

Through tomorrow, I'm running a special promotion on the new prints.  For details, visit my Etsy shop here.

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