Meet my friend Mary in Colorado. We have sewn together in Maryland many times so it was natural to take over her new studio on my recent visit to Colorado. I took some photos and asked her a few questions... enjoy!
1. How long did it take to set up your studio?
We moved into this house on June 7, 2014 and I had my studio set up two days later. However, I’ve rearranged it several times since then.
2. Did you change or tweak it to work better? How?
At first I tried to cram too many pieces of furniture into the room, like the cage for my Bearded Dragon. Then I got selfish and decided nothing but sewing stuff should go into my space. So the Dragon is now in the living room and office supplies are in the guest room.
I’m constantly working to get rid of objects (files, books, magazines, supplies) that don’t need to be in the studio or that I can get rid of all together. For example, last week I got rid of a shelf of books so now I have some space in my bookcase. I got rid of a lot of paper files related to quilting by scanning them and storing them online in Evernote. When I got a new machine I had to get a new table for it. It’s all a work in progress.
3. Music, TV or no noise?
When I’m concentrating, which is often, I have no music. But when I’m doing something mindless I’ll listen to rock music or to musicals, or watch old DVD’s of the Gilmore Girls, since I don’t have to actually watch it to know what’s going on.
4. Do you crave any snacks when working or stuck on a project?
No, thank heavens. I crave enough snacks as it is! When I’m stuck I just quit for a while and do something else.
5. Do you schedule work time or is it according to mood/inspiration more often?
Mostly I work according to mood, but I do find that I respond well to deadlines. Deadlines give me a goal for finishing things, especially hard things. Deadlines are my tool for getting things done.
6. Is there a machine, or tool you would like to have?
I’d like more space; does that count? If I had tons of money and space I might buy a long arm.
7. What kind of sewing machine do you have? Iron? Lights? Satisfied with them??
I have a Bernina 740 which I love and an old Pfaff Tiptronic (1985) for taking to classes and such. I love my $30 Sunbeam irons which are much better than more expensive ones. I have two; one is for fusing, the other is clean. My lighting is nothing fancy, just regular overhead and task lighting, but it’s definitely okay.
Around here (Colorado) there are many opportunities to meet somewhere and sew with other people, so I have a second set of regular sewing supplies all packed up and ready to go to a retreat or sew-day.
|look how nicely she framed the quilt (top one) I made her!!|
8. What do you like best about your studio? Least?
The thing I like the most is that I have a studio! I sewed in the dining room and then in a space shared with the laundry for years, so I am thrilled to have a room of my own. I also love the view from my sewing machine, which is looking at the street and the school beyond the street. There’s a lot going on outside my big windows and I love watching all the action as I do my work.
|gratuitous shot of the countryside!|
The second thing I like best is my daybed. It’s a real splurge having it in the studio but It’s great for taking a break, stacking things on, and having a place for guests, like my husband or son, and of course the cat! The Bearded Dragon often comes in to hang out on the arm of the daybed while he soaks up the morning sun and watches life outside. I love it when they come in to visit and make themselves at home on the daybed.
What I like least? Well, ideally, my space would just have my sewing studio. Currently it also has a desk and bookcase which serves as my office and it would be better not to have that function mixed with my quilting.
I’m also very jealous of people who have big walk-in closets in their studios for storing their rolled up quilts. Mine are in a closet on another floor.
And a bit more room would be wonderful. I have an old Elna press which I love but I have to move it off the surface it sits on to use it. I’d love to have it out and ready to use on demand. Same with the big ironing board. It comes out when I’m doing serious ironing. Otherwise I use a small pressing board. The daybed is taking the place of an ironing station, and that’s a trade off I’m willing to make. But in a perfect world, I’d have room for all of it.
9. Can you think of any other questions you'd ask generally about people's studios?
Clean or messy?
Definitely clean. I can get messy when I’m in the middle of designing or creating something but otherwise I’m definitely one who thinks better in the middle of order, not chaos.
In wire baskets like the Elna system, which can be taken out to use. And not so much fabric. Too much overwhelms me and I have several great quilt shops within an easy drive so I really don’t need to store tons of fabric.
Best tip for organizing supplies?
My Alex rolling storage unit by Ikea sits to the left of my sewing machine and it’s narrow drawers hold all my “use everyday” supplies conveniently at hand.
I use Evernote to save magazine articles, images, patterns, etc. instead of filing the hard copies. I’m pretty ruthless about not keeping old magazines and patterns around. I use Evernote Scanable app to scan articles of interest and patterns, send them to Evernote, and then put the magazines on the “free table” at my local quilt quild.
That's it for our tour today and I hope you enjoyed it. As I get a peek into other artist's studios I'll share them with you on my new "studio tours" page! I want to visit everyone's studio so I hope you say yes when I ask! And remember to stay curious....
|from the exhibit now at NCAR Boulder|