My studio is a mirror of the evolution of my work and of my personal life. What I’ve been able to create along with how my life has changed over the years is a direct reflection of the functionality of my space.
My space first began as a fold out table, chair and cutoff of a wooden beam from one of my dad’s construction sites. I began AyC with mostly my knowledge in beadweaving and tried to figure out how to incorporate metalsmithing into my designs.
I was terrified of a torch for the first two years and decided to explore as many metalsmithing techniques that didn’t require heat. This meant that I stuck with sawing, filing, hammering, and stamping my work. Eventually I felt like I had reached my limitations as to what I could do with those techniques and that’s when I realized I needed my own space to expand and to apply new methods.
I knew this was going to happen and in the meantime I had taken note of which tools and techniques I wanted to apply first. This also determined the design of my space. I was taking metalsmithing classes at my local community college so I had access to a wide range of tools and I knew what I needed and how I wanted to move forward.
If you’ve read my intro post, then you know that at the beginning I was also in the process of applying for a marriage visa with my husband. Visas are not cheap, you have to have some savings and also be prepared for the unpredictability of getting approved, or not. The process was relatively smooth for us, and after a year of waiting and getting paperwork together, he was able to emigrate to New Mexico to be with me. But we really had no idea when any of this was going to happen. I needed the emotional support of my family at this time and I also felt like I couldn’t make any huge financial decisions just in case we needed to reapply or pay for extra fees.
I asked my parents if I could stay with them and they were all for it. They also were supportive of me when I needed more space to create. My dad and I built a room attached to their house and that is where I’ve been working ever since. Thankfully my father is a builder and because I didn’t need anything fancy, we were able to build something that was within my means.
We closed off part of a porch that wasn’t being used much so right through the middle of my studio is wooden post and beam. The room itself is very simple and pretty small but I actually prefer smaller spaces. There’s an intimacy to smaller spaces and I also didn’t want to be overwhelmed by the potential of spreading out and having projects all over the place. I think because the studio is small, I am faced with getting projects done, off my work bench and out into the world.
Over the years, my studio has filled up with more and more tools as I learn new techniques but I think now I’m at a good place with what I have. I don’t have space for the larger metalsmithing tools which does limit what I can do with my designs. For example with enamel, most jewelers will use a kiln which heats the piece evenly and is less prone to error. I have to use a torch for my enamel process which prevents me from doing large-scale pieces. There are a number of tools like that where I have to work around certain methodologies to conform to what my studio is capable of and I think that’s part of the fun.
Here's a photo series to show you the evolution of my studio, including shots of the construction of my current space.
Writing Prompt No. 3
Describe your studio or work space, even if it’s just a table or you’re just starting out. If you have a dream of what you’d like for a studio, talk about that. I know I’m ready to expand but now is not the time and I still love what I’m able to produce in my space. Show photos if you’re comfortable with it and share what parts of your studio feel most ‘you.’
As always, you can use the same title I've used for your blog post, email newsletter, or caption for social media. This content is designed to encourage 'community over competition' and I'd love to read your response to these prompts. You can send me a link or forward me your email newsletter to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I will share my favorites on IG stories and/or right here on my website.
Thanks so much. The next prompt will be posted on February 9th.
Stay tuned and stay well,