Over the last few weeks I have been spending some time decorating and preparing my little studio. I originally introduced my new workspace at Woodend Mill here on my blog some time ago and at that point it was very much a shell.
It has taken me a while to get it ready for action and I’m pretty much there with it now (apart from quite a few finishing touches!) so thought you may be interested in hearing about its development. At the time when I posted that last blog, I had started to create some ideas on pinterest but soon realized that I had enough of a vision in my head to continue without developing the board extensively.
My key criteria for workspace development were:
- Ensuring a feel for the industrial context of the mill, using materials and elements that were in keeping
- Developing a functional space that worked at several levels
- Creating a slightly retro or vintage feel
To be overly prescriptive, when developing the space on a budget seemed unhelpful although I did want to try to stick to my brief!
First things first: the framework
Roughly translated we are talking walls, floor and lighting! As you can see from the ‘before’ shots, the walls are pink plasterboard (with very prominent joints!), the floor is chipboard and the light, whilst OK in the middle of summer with a skylight as well as a window (it’s a North-east-facing space) was limited (only one bulb on the wall of the studio!). Fortunately I had some help with the walls and lighting so the images show my handiwork in association with others! The walls were lined before being painted with white paint to maximize the light in the room and to make it look larger! The door was gloss painted. The light shades were chosen to fit with the industrial setting, using simple rusted metal fittings and Daylight bulbs. There are now 3 lights down the centre of the room (especially important in the winter months and grey days!). Initially, I had thought about using linoleum for the floor but my budget didn’t quite stretch to that. Moreover, given that it is a working studio, a painted floor seemed more appropriate. I have since painted the floor with 2 coats of grey industrial floor paint and it looks great!
Creating the retro/vintage look with some recycled furniture
Existing contents i.e. the ‘stuff’ I already had to bring to the studio included a wonderful shabby chic desk (a birthday present a couple of years ago from my mum and dad), some metal shelving and a collection of books, paper and art materials! Additional furniture needed for the studio included a desk chair, a sofa (it didn’t seem reasonable to expect visitors to stand and how else would anyone admire the ‘pictures’ on the walls!), a store cupboard/draws and small coffee table, oh and a magazine wrack if possible (sadly, I’ve always wanted one!). Fortunately the studio is very near to Emmaus Mossley (close to Mossley train station) and I was able to pick up all of these items at really good prices. A couple of them (the low table and the magazine wrack) needed sanding and waxing. The low table is already done whilst the wrack is in process! The rather wonderful red Chesterfield sofa was taken up on the hoist and swiftly wheeled down the corridors to its new home! Of course there are still a few items I’d like to get like a mirror and retro cushion covers but these can wait!
A warm welcome awaits at the Pidgeon Loft
To acknowledge the start of my studio life I will be having a studio-warming on Saturday 30th September from 10 am until 4 pm. If you are in the area please do pop in to say hello, browse through some prints and originals (Some will be reduced in price!) and perhaps check out the area (there is a café called the flying teapot near the entrance and nice walks along the canal at the rear of the mill). I would love to see you and I will be selling works directly from my studio ongoing. You may be wondering why I am calling it the pidgeon loft-Lots of cooing and pidgeons are always settled on the window ledges outside my studio. From the shape of the ceiling and its history, you can clearly see that it is very much a loft space i.e. the next stop is sky!
Ready for action
Now that I have a functional studio, there are no excuses for not producing more artworks! This is of course is rather daunting as well as exciting and I’m sure it will take me in new directions, working alongside my reportage/urban sketching illustration work which is mostly recorded on site. One key new direction is watercolour, which I hope to combine with other media as well as using alone to create paintings/images. Watch this space, as I will be doing a new series of blogs and videos, as I develop my ideas. You will notice that I don’t appear to have an easel from the pictures and this is an essential piece of kit!: I actually now have 2: a Windsor and Newton Medway desk top easel and a modified tripod easel (lightweight and portable) both of which I can use in the studio. Time will tell as to whether I need another but for now I think they suit my needs.