First Friday Studio Tour – Myfanwy Hart

This month we travel to England to visit with Myfanwy Hart in Fleet.  Myfanwy’s studio renovation has been interrupted by some health problems, but she has graciously offered to show us her current workspace, and share her ideas for her future studio and some of her work.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  

At the moment I don’t have a specific place to work. My ‘studio’ is no more, and, until I can continue with the details for the renovation, it will remain like that. I have had severe back problems since last summer which have severely curtailed my creative activities. However, I’m still having fun – more about that later.

Myfanwy, sample 3Myfanwy, sample 7

What are you planning to have in the renovated studio?  Anything that might surprise us?

Well, this is the theory…… I need room for all my machines. All? I have two computerised sewing machines, one little basic sewing machine that I use for machine embroidery workshops and 13 Embellisher machines. No, that isn’t a typing error – I have 13! I had the first Embellisher machine in the UK and have written a book and made DVDs on the subject, so 7 of my machines are for lending to students when I teach. The others are examples of all the machines on the market that I trust. (I don’t trust all makes of these machines). I use most of them from time to time – take the examples around when I give my talks – but most of all I USE my Janome machine. This hasn’t given me as much trouble as some of the others. There will be storage space par excellence too – eventually – and water for dyeing and mixed media work. The way things are going it might be a while, though…..

Myfanwy, sample 2

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

Almost all my fabric is hand-dyed. I also teach dyeing and dye a range of threads and fibres for sale – so I can always squirrel away the ones I don’t want to leave home yet! I have mountains and mountains of thread samples – all catalogued with recipe references and books of details of the dye recipes. I use a number of different dye methods, and very little leaves here having only seen one dyebath.

Myfanwy, Just a few of my helpful dyeing instruments....Just a few of my helpful dyeing instruments

Myfanwy, My very reduced outside dyeing area

My very reduced outside dyeing area

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.   If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

Currently our ENTIRE HOUSE is overtaken with bits and pieces! I have even had to move some dye bits and pieces into our almost outside bathroom! I sometimes use this for dyeing. My husband takes great delight in saying to telephone callers “I’m sorry, she can’t come to the phone at the moment, she’s dyeing in the bath.”

We also have a small supply business – called Winifred Cottage – and we sell machine embroidery mixed media supplies as well as my own hand-dyes. We don’t have a shop but move around visiting specialist courses, colleges and groups. There are very few supply shops in the UK; many quilting suppliers, but not many that specialise in my sort of creativity.  My first studio, shown below, hasn’t been used as a studio since about 1990, but it is current filled to overflowing with boxes of stock.

Myfanwy, My first studio

My first studio

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

If I need to cut anything I do it on a bed! I have a board that I place on top and use that as a base. My current working space is very small – you will see that in one of the pictures. It’s hard to get used to only a small space after having a whole room.

Myfanwy, My current workspace!  Just big enough for a small sewing machineMy current workspace! Just big enough for a  small sewing machine

Myfanwy, Workspace covered and ready for some mixed mediaWorkspace covered and ready for some mixed media

Myfanwy, All set up and ready to playAll set up and ready to play

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I work on many at a time. Almost all my work is Mixed Media – apart from the Embellisher I love working with paper. I also use odd bits and pieces as I find them. I try to be methodical – starting with an idea – sketching and note-taking then on to sampling and finally the piece. I am currently working on a series based on Alzheimers. I’m investigating the feelings and thoughts of the family carers of sufferers, if anyone has anything to contribute I’d love to hear from them. Obviously anything that is said is held in the strictest confidence.

Myfanwy, sample 1

I am very careful to keep projects ‘filed’ in an orderly manner. I use storage boxes of various sizes. At the moment  EVERYTHING is filed in boxes! The studio was being planned when our severe wet weather hit – suddenly the storage place was damp and not suitable at all so our ideas had to change. We had a winter of wet weather, but you probably all know about that. Dampness is the terror of textiles!

Myfanwy, Everything is filed in boxesEverything is filed in boxes

Myfanwy, just some of the damage caused by the recent stormsSome of the damage caused by the recent storms

Myfanwy, Some of my equipment for dyeing - safe, but now stored in a moss covered area until it is all cleared.Some of my equipment for dyeing – safe, but now stored in a moss covered area until it is all cleared.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

I’m also delighted at how popular my recent introduction of the Facebook group ‘Be Creative’ has become. We have just had our third weekend session and some lovely interesting work was produced. Some of the Postmark’d Group are taking part and it’s been wonderful to get to know them in a new way.

Until I can sit for longer at my sewing machine I am concentrating on mixed media – I have to stand to use any of the machines, and that isn’t comfortable for long.

Myfanwy, sample 4 Myfanwy, sample 5 Myfanwy, sample 6

 

Thank you Myfanwy for sharing your ideas for your renovated studio and letting us see some of your work.

Next Month:  Some changes in some studios

First Friday Studio Tour – Lauren in Sammamish

This month we are returning to Washington state to visit with Lauren in Sammamish.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I call my quilting space my sewing room because it is actually my dining room!   I think that even if I were lucky enough to have a dedicated room for quilting and sewing, I would still have a hard time calling it a studio.  I see myself as being in the early stages of my quilting adventure, still trying many things. I have not yet discovered what defines my work.  It definitely is still a hobby.
Lauren1What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

Typically I have multiple projects spread out over every available surface: my sewing machine centered on the table, active work area on one side, thread for the projects at hand, books, notes, and project elements spread on the rest of the table and credenza.
Lauren2We have two lovely antique cabinets in the dining room that were originally in the captain’s quarters on a ship.  One has a flat shelf and the other has fabulous cubby-holes where I have my every day sewing supplies stored.  It was originally intended to store wine. Fortunately, my husband decided we needed a dedicated wine cabinet so I got to take this over!  Granite tops on both mean I have a handy place to rest a hot iron.
Lauren3How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

My fabric is in bins in closets throughout the house.  I’ve now accumulated enough that I even have one bin in plain sight in our family room. (I’m not sure if my husband hasn’t noticed or is just being remarkably tolerant.)  I tend to store speciality fabric together:  batiks in one area, Asian fabrics in another, supplies targeted for certain projects in other bins, then several that are sorted by color.  I tend to have an abundance of tone-on-tone fabrics for good blending.
Lauren4My every-day piecing thread is stored in the dining room along with some specialty larger spools that don’t fit in normal thread containers.  The rest of my thread is sorted by 50-weight cotton and specialty in another antique chest I took over in our family room.  If I have enough of one brand/material/weight, I keep that group in a separate container.Lauren5Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

YES.  Just about every room in the house now has some of my supplies.  My husband has actually been encouraging me to turn our living room into a dedicated sewing room.  But I already use the living room for almost every project:  my design wall is often standing for weeks at a time and for larger quilts I use the living room floor as I finish the quilt top, bast and then quilt.  I can’t give up the space for that!
Lauren6I also often use the living room couch to audition large pieces of fabric that are too heavy for my design wall, or when I have a project that is back in the thinking stage as I contemplate what to do next.

Lauren7How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

I’m pretty organized so I use the active working area of my dining room table to cut fabric.  I have also started raising my kitchen table to do all of my cutting for a project at one time.

I tend to have project materials on just about every surface close to my sewing.  As I’ve gotten more into quilting, my interest in giving dinner parties has waned. It takes too much work and time to put away all of my supplies!

My husband built two railings to separate our living room from our foyer.  I have put these to excellent use as storage racks to keep project fabric and quilt tops wrinkle free.  Every time I walk by I think about the project at hand and develop ideas, especially for how to quilt finished tops.
Lauren8Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I have ‘organized messes.’  Cuttings from a project are usually in a general heap, with other project-specific heaps of fabric, embellishments, etc., all together.  But I do organize my fabric as I cut and keep only 1 project at a time in my active work area.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

I bought an ergonomic stool which I use instead of a sewing chair.  It has freed me from back and neck pain and it’s much easier and faster to get in and out of.  I also have cork flooring, cork side up, under my machine foot pedal to stop it from sliding around on the carpet.
Lauren9My grandfather’s antique sewing cabinet is in the living room.  He was an engineer with Western Electric (manufacturer division of the old AT&T) during the depression.  When they had no other work, they built these sewing cabinets.  I have no idea if they sold them or gave them away or if my grandfather made this particular one, but it is a cherished piece of furniture.
Lauren10And lastly, I have an adorable dog, Riley, that particularly enjoys lying in the sun and supervising the drying of my quilts.  There is a little bit of dog hair in every quilt.
Lauren11Thank you, Lauren, for a delightful tour.  I love your use of the antique pieces and the creative use of the spaces in your house.  And we all know that quilts are made warmer by the addition of dog (or cat) hair.

Next Month:  Lisa Alff

First Friday Studio Tour – Colette Herrin

This month we travel to Kennewick, Washington, to visit with Colette Herrin.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

 I call it a STUDIO.  I am an artist and artists work in a studio.  It took me a long time to be able to call myself an artist, so having a studio is like a rite of passage.

Colette Studio 2  Standing in the doorway looking into the studio

The difference between quilting and art is a point of reference and is different for each person.  For me, it was when I allowed myself to be free and think out of the box and just do what I wanted to do, what felt right, what looked good, and what followed the rules of good design essentials

Colette Studio 2To the left of the doorway is my design wall

Colette studio 10Sitting at my work station and looking across the room to the design wall and some more art work above it.

I am continually told that I could make a lot of money selling my art and some of my everyday quilts.  That would be nice, but I don’t want the pressure.  I enjoy sewing and creating so much – I just can’t imagine spoiling that for myself.  For three and a half years, I was a creative consultant for Pfaff sewing machines.  That was a blast.  I traveled all over the United States teaching sewing/quilting classes and had a ball.

Colette studio 3
Every studio needs a cat

What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

Fabric, lots of fabric.  A must.  There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a creative moment and not having the right color fabric.  I have lots of supplies:  paints for fabric, and paints for silk, watercolor paints for painting, big bin of lace and threads and cording to couch.  Lots of bits of what I call specialty fabrics such as silks, linens, organza, etc.  If there is an acrylic ruler out there, I have one in my studio.  I seem to be an acrylic freak.  I think I have every known gadget for sewing also.

Colette studio 6
My work station showing my tool bar and some of my art

I have my books neatly arranged in a book-case so I can get to the one I want quickly.  Colette studio 4

There is a laptop or two in there and we cannot forget the kitty bed. There are several machines in my studio: one for regular sewing and embroidery work, one for quilting – has a 10 ½ inch throat, one for serging and one for felting.  The one I use to take to retreats and classes is in a tote bag and in another room.  Since I’ve taken up beading, there is also a drawer full of beads and supplies.

I have discharge paste and embossing powder and crystals to add to anything that might need a little bling.  My knitting and cross stitch endeavors are also in the room.

Colette studio 9
In my white cupboard there are many things – patterns, project boxes, supplies …

Anything that might surprise the rest of you?    YES!!!!!  I have a neon sign that is kept on 24/7.  It says “OPEN”.  It’s blue and red and at night when all the lights are out, there is a purple glow from that room.  Neighbors have been known to come over and ask what the purple glow is.  Why the light?  To remind me to keep an OPEN mind while creating.

Colette studio 5
My sewing station with my Open sign

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

My cotton fabrics are sorted by color.  I have separate sections in my shelves for hand painted fabrics, hand dyed fabrics, batiks, collections of fabrics, etc.  I have a stack of novelty prints, a stack of polka dot, a stack of stripes and so on.

Colette Studio 7
My closet where my fabric is stored
Colette studio 8
The fabric

My thread is sorted by type and then by weight since I have so much of it.  I use a tower of drawers  along with sulky see through boxes for my thread.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Thread storage
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMore thread storage

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

I have my retreat/class machine in another room (as I mentioned earlier).  I also store my retreat/class bag with iron, fan, extension cords and Ott light — all ready to travel — there.   A second bag is empty (somewhat) and waiting for projects to be packed into it whether I am going to a class or retreat.  I have not been accused of taking over the house, yet!

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

I have a fair amount of horizontal surface.  As you can see from the pictures, my studio is arranged in such a way that everything is in the middle of the room and I walk around the edge.  The cutting table from Koala  measures 72” x 36”.  I have my ironing board and the extensions on my sewing cabinet to the left and to the right of my machine.  My cutting table was much higher than my sewing cabinet so my husband built a platform for my cabinet so I can use the cutting table for supporting large quilts, etc.   Makes it all very handy.  I can drop my sewing machine to a height below the horizontal level making even more space available for cutting purposes if needed.

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I like to clean up as I go.  I do not put everything away after I have cut something out, but I will fold up the remainder and make a pile of fabric off to the side for the project.  Any specialty tools that I might use will be put away when I am finished with them.  I will work on three or four projects at a time.  I keep them in project bags and have the bags ready on the cutting table for when I might feel like working on them.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

Colette sent a photo of her only grandchild, Luke, for whom she enjoys making quilts, and his first quilt, well as photos of her first two postcards.

Thank you Colette for inviting us into your studio.

Next month: Lauren Calaby.

First Friday Studio Tour – Laurie Dhandapani

This month we are visiting with Laurie Dhandapani in Vernon, Connecticut.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room? To yourself, to friends and family? Why do you think this is so? Difference in starting point between quilting and art? Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I play in many different mediums, so I consider myself a mixed media artist: but I am also a professional quilter and teacher. Since sewing is only a part of what I do, I refer to my work areas as a studio. I also think it makes me take my art more seriously.

What do you have in the room? machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc. Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

I have all the ‘usual’ quilting supplies, rulers, cutting implements, fabric and a sewing machine; but because I like to paint (both on fabric and other surfaces) I have a wide assortment of paints, dyes, inks, markers and pens. I also like to do surface design, so I also have some odd things on the shelf like, rice cereal and boxed mashed potatoes (These make great resists on fabric.)Laurie Dhandapani studio 4

I have a good assortment of stamps and stencils. I have a lightbox, stencil cutter and a heat tool for distressing/distorting things. The best thing I did was put up a 6 foot by 8 foot design wall. Not only can I put things up as I work, but I often hang a project that is ‘stuck’ and after looking at it for a while, the solution comes to me.Laurie Dhandapani studio 3

I love to draw and journal, so I also have lots of paper. I have a longarm machine as well, both for myself and customer quilts.

How is your “stuff” organized? How do you organize your fabric? By color? Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)? How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

I try to organize my supplies by medium. One closet holds paints/ dyes and another closet for batting.

Laurie Dhandapani studio 1

Thread is organized by type- the frequent flyers are on a stand and the others are kept in plastic boxes. Generally the things I use frequently are on open shelves or on a pegboard so I can readily get to them.Laurie Dhandapani studio 5

And then there is the fabric. I am a self- proclaimed “collector” of fabric! I gravitate toward batiks and ethnic fabrics, but also have some silk and velvet. I have acquired lots of fabric and know that it will eventually find a way into something I am making. I also collect ribbons, lace, buttons and ephemera, for embellishing.

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house. How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

I manage to contain my ‘stuff’ to two bedrooms…although I did need to convince a couple of kids to move out! One room houses the longarm machine, the equipment pegboard and most of my fabric and the other room is really my working studio.Laurie Dhandapani studio 2

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough? Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?
Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project? How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

My working table is a six foot banquet table on supports to raise it up, so I can stand to work. I do all of my cutting and non-sewing work on this table. My sewing machine is in its own table. In a pinch I work on the ironing board. I try to keep the cutting table cleared off as much as possible. I tend to work on several projects at a time. I keep each one in a basket or bag so I can easily pick up and begin work.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

Making art is personally fulfilling. As a teacher I am thrilled when a student ‘gets it’ and I enjoy quilting for someone to complete their vision. I love what I do!

Thank you, Laurie, for letting us tour your studio.

Next Month:  Colette Herrin

First Friday Studio Tour – Gurli Gregersen

Once again we are visiting with one of our European members.  This month we travel to Tilst, Denmark to see Gurli Gregersen.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

My blog says I have a studio, but it is a virtual studio. To my family and friends it is my sewing room. To me it is not just a sewing room, as I use it for most of my hobby activities: of course sewing but also design, printing, stencilling, painting, felting etc. The room was previously used as bedroom, so it is difficult for me to call it a studio. I just call it “my room.”

It was my home office when working from home until I stopped working a year and a half ago. For working purposes I had 2 height-adjustable tables set up. Well, one for work and the other for sewing machines, work table etc. Today I normally stand up when sewing. It is very nice to be able to decide for yourself whether to stand or sit.

Though I love the old traditional quilt patterns, I have only made two large quilts 30-40 years ago and a little baby quilt 20 years ago. I always want to change patterns and/or make my own – and not in a traditional style, though I have an idea that I sometime in the future will use traditional patterns as inspiration for new quilts. So I believe it is more art than quilting I do as my hobby – not business.Gurli studio 3

What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

I have nearly everything I use for my activities. The room is filled with machines and all sorts of materials. I have an ordinary sewing machine, an embroidery machine, an embellisher, a serger, a thermofax, PC and printer, an old projector, a new digital projector, two laminators (cool and warm), a blender and an iron with a steam station. Gurli studio 9

One wall has a design surface and I have a smaller separate and moveable design board/work table (e.g. on top of the ironing board).Gurli studio 1

Bookcases are filled with books and magazines, buttons, thread, many different kinds of paint, paper, beads, zippers, ribbons etc.Gurli studio 4

In 3 of 4 closets I have fabric: old, new, lace, knit, cotton, polyester, commercial and hand-dyed – and yarn.Gurli studio 2

One of my tables is reserved for sewing and work that needs space. On the other table I have my PC, printer and some archive boxes.Gurli studio 5

Gurli studio 6

In a corner I have cardboard and plastic tubes (plastic tubes for shibori), tripod for my camera and projector, a roll of something like bondaweb, pattern paper, a large ruler (1×1 m), paper and cardboard.Gurli studio 7

Under my sewing machine table are the machines that are not in use on top of the table and some big boxes with little pieces of fabric, tools for painting, dyeing, printing etc.Gurli studio 8

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

My thread is pretty organized by brand and color. I keep some of my fabric organized in hand dyed and commercial but when I start a new project I often have to pull out so many different fabrics that I have to start organizing again afterwards. I find it difficult to organize my fabric to suit my different projects. I must admit that I sometimes know that I have a certain kind of fabric I want to use, but I am unable to find it.

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

I have my MX dye in our laundry room, my finished quilts on top of a closet in our smaller bedroom and some plastic, batting and fabric in the attic. If I have to do some hand embroidery or quilting I often bring that into our living room.

The smaller bedroom was at first my hobby room. I then had my home working PC in our larger bedroom. So my husband suggested that I could have the large room with all my things as I also use my PC for design. Who would not accept that kind of offer?

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

Never enough! And I always have to move piles of stuff before starting a new project. Sometimes I go to a long, narrow table in our bathroom, where I can cut fabric and do some printing.

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I handle this very differently from time to time and project to project, but I tend to use my time up to the last possible minute with my project and save straightening and organizing till later.

I always have some UFO’s but they are kept in a certain place in the closet. Normally I am sewing on one project but working with design of more projects.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

Apart from all the above mentioned, I have some software I like to use: PS Elements, EQ7, (Electric Quilt for quilt design which I use once in a while), PE Design (machine embroidery) and Collectorz for books (and videos).

Thank you Gurli for a great tour.

Visit Gurli’s blog

Next Month: Laurie Dhandapani

First Friday Studio Tour – Gill Clark

This month we travel to Wales to visit with Gill Clark.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

Until the middle of October it was the dining room! Our youngest daughter flew the nest in May, and her bedroom has now become my studio. It sounds posher than sewing room, but I still call it “Catrin’s Room” most of the time. I guess it’ll be a hard habit to break.

View from the doorway 2

I’ve always been into arts and crafts, everything from painting to card making, knitting and sewing. When my kids were small I made most of their clothes as well as my own. I’ve only been quilting for about four years. It’s something I always fancied putting my hand to but twenty years of teaching put it on hold.

About three years ago I was in a position to start up a small business with some government funding to pay for equipment. So I have two types of sewing going on, the things I make to sell via a local craft shop and the things I do for me. Needless to say the me things tend to be more arty, hence joining up with Postmark’d Art.

What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

Even though I now have a studio, it’s still a very compact space, not much more than a box room really. If I put my folding chair up, I can reach everything I need while still sitting down. I keep as much stuff as possible in there. I have two machines, one just straight stitches and is my workhorse especially for making things that are for the shop, the other is more versatile and I use that for more creative things. I also like to do lots of handwork….but that’s usually in front of the TV.

My workhorse 2

The workhorse lives in a cabinet behind which I can hide loads of batting. Threads in one door and cutting tools in the shelves. An old pine table is the base for my cutting surface.

Batting hidden away behind the cabinet2

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

Because my space is quite small I don’t have bolts and bolts of fabric like I see some have. I tend to buy for specific projects. Larger pieces get stored in my silver mini trunk which doubles a place to keep the iron and my rubbish bin! Smaller pieces are sorted by colour and stored in stacking boxes. The strips and scraps I use a lot are also colour sorted, this time in the old sweet and biscuit tins.

Fabric storage 3 2

Fabric storage 1 2

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

Oh yes! There’s a corner in our living room where the latest handwork lives, stock for fayres and the shop is in stacking boxes in our bedroom, as well as in boxes under the bed. And some quilting stencils and hoops haven’t made it from the study to the studio quite yet. No complaints from my husband though he’s a very patient man.

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

I think the more surface you have the more piles of stuff you end up with so less is good. I tend to be quite methodical when I work and will do lots of cutting at once, helpful as the cutting surface is the base for my second machine.

Number Two machine sat on the cutting table 2

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

Yes I do tend to straighten and organize as I go, otherwise there’s no space to work. It doesn’t mean I do one project at a time though. I store projects in stacking boxes and tins of various sizes, anything with a lid to keep the work clean and dust free.

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Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

You’ve come to visit what is really my blank canvas. Over the next few weeks I’m getting my miniqulits up on the walls along with creating a design wall for all my inspirations. As they say, watch this space…….

Thank you Gill, for letting us tour your space.  Please invite us back for another tour when you have your studio decorated as you want it.

Visit Gill’s website

Next month: Gurli Gregersen

First Friday Studio Tour – Jane Davila’s new studio

When we visited with Jane earlier this year, she ended the tour by showing us the newly rented space she and her husband planned to turn into studio space for both of them.  This month Jane shows us her new space.

In May my husband and I rented a studio in a loft building in Bridgeport Connecticut. We moved in, finally, in July. This is the first time that we have shared space and the first time I’ve had ALL of my art supplies, teaching supplies, vending supplies, etc., in one room for at least 12 years. The past couple of months have been an adventure in sorting, donating, organizing, and letting go.

NestStudioFrontDoor   The front entrance to the Nest – come on in!

The building is called the Nest Arts Factory and is home to about 30 artists working in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, poetry, and music.

NestStudioBeforeA The raw before space. Great big windows and really tall ceilings!

NestStudioBeforeBWe’ll divide the room so that Carlos has the half closest to the windows and I have the half closest to the door.

NestStudioPaintedFloorThe first thing we did before we moved in was to paint the floor.

 NestStudioHall We’ve hung some artwork on the outside wall of our studio.

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 I’ve started an installation project hanging from the ceiling in the hall outside our studio. I’m making giant feathers of Lutradur, stitching them and painting them, and hanging them from white thread at different heights and angles.

NestStudioCuttingJust inside our door is my cutting table and some shelves for storage.

NestStudioPress Just beyond my cutting table to the left is my small etching press. An Ikea kitchen cart makes the perfect base for it.

 NestStudioDoor Looking to the other side of the cutting table you can see the door to my studio and my dress forms.

 NestStudioMirrorMannequins

I’ve hung the mirror that was featured in Modern Patchwork next to the dress forms and added hanging rails for storage below.

NestStudioScissors I reused the ceramic kitchen organizers from my previous studio on the hanging rails for pens and scissors.

NestStudioEpsonI tucked a wireless Epson printer into the corner next to my cutting table for image transfers and general printing.

NestStudioBrushPots  Flower pots make excellent storage containers for paint brushes!

 NestStudioMomiji It’s fun to display art and other collections in my space. I have a collection of one Momiji figure from Japan right now but am on the lookout for more.

NestStudioClassTablesOpposite my cutting table are my working tables. I can use these tables for workshops and for the mentorship group that meets monthly in my studio, as well as for sewing, painting, and printing. And eating lunch or dinner!

NestStudioTable I built the tables from birch plywood and some quirky magenta legs from Ikea (which is dangerously only 15 minutes away now!) I added a pop of color with orange washi tape around the skirt of each table before coating the table tops with polyurethane.

NestStudioPatterns Behind the tables, on the same wall as the door, are shelves holding all of the patterns from my pattern company, The Country Quilter, and the merchandise from my supply company, Flourish http://www.flourish-art.com

NestStudioFarWallAt the far end of my space are the tall bookcases from my previous studio, filled with fabric and books. I added a comfortable and stylish dog bed below the table for my studio mascot.

NestStudioDaisyDaisy comes to the studio with us most days and loves seeing what’s going on.

 NestStudioViewWhen I look into Carlos’ side of the studio, this is what I usually see – most of the time he’s working and sometimes he’s playing his African drum along to whatever music we have playing!

NestStudioCarlosSideCarlos works on his wooden sculptures on his side and it’s pretty cool to see what grows over there.

 NestStudioClock I added a few custom touches to my space to reflect my style and add energy and color. I bought this $2 clock in Ikea, taped off the center and spray-painted the previously white frame a lovely turquoise.

NestStudioPendant After I hung tracklights on the ceiling, I decided that I needed more light in the center of the room and “MacGyvered” some light pendants from heating duct reducers, acrylic paint, light kits, picture wire, and more washi tape. I love the way they turned out.

 We are in our studio most days and if you find yourself driving on route 95 (the major north/south highway that runs from Maine to Florida) in Bridgeport, please let me know and you can come for a tour.

There is an Open Studio event here the weekend of November 8-10, 2013 with many exciting demonstrations and performances taking place. Please join us!!

Thank you Jane for letting us see your new space.  What a bright and cheery place you have created.

Check out Jane’s website see more of her work and learn about her workshops.

Next month: Gill Clark

First Friday Studio Tour – Sara Kelly

This month we are visiting with Sara Kelly in Hanford, California.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

Mostly I call my room (formerly a bedroom) a studio, although occasionally I say sewing room to people who seem as if they don’t quite get “studio” because they know I sew quilts.  It’s like trying to explain “art quilt” when people only relate to quilts as bed coverings their grandmother made.  I would say that I use quilting techniques to create artwork to display as such.  Even so, the fact is I have veered away from developing my art into a business because I don’t want another career.

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What do you have in the room?  Machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

My room contains almost all of the equipment and supplies I need (and a fair amount I don’t).  Whichever of my two Berninas I am using sits in the Koala cabinet I installed about 10 years ago.  It has always been too big for the room, but my husband wanted to buy me the most I could squeeze in there.  It gives me lots more horizontal surface upon and under which to pile assorted projects and stuff.

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The other big piece of furniture is my JoAnn’s cutting table, which I try to keep occupied with only the project du jour, rulers, and cutting tools.  It too provides underneath space for storage.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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My ironing space is atop a small cabinet, although I keep a traditional ironing board around for bigger pressing needs.

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How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color? Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)? How do your organize your thread?

It didn’t take long for me to fill half the closet with fabric.  Smaller chunks are stored, mostly by color, in plastic drawers.  Yardage is stacked on hanging shelves, as well as art fabric I have painted or dyed myself.

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The other half of the closet stores beads, novelty yarns and fibers, rubber stamps, and mixed media ephemera.

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Threads are stored in plastic drawer containers that sit on the right side of my sewing cabinet where I can easily reach them while sewing.

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The cabinets under my ironing surface store paints on one side and unfinished projects on the other.

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Finally, I have big tubs of novelty fabrics (silks, home dec., etc.) stored under the back of the sewing cabinet.  I have to be very motivated to dig into them as their location requires some acrobatic maneuvering.

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Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house?  How many other rooms?  Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? 

My other Bernina resides in its travel case in a corner of our bedroom along with my portable sewing table.  In the living room I always have a hand sewing project along with various knitting/crochet projects and yarns stored in baskets. I use the guest bathroom to rinse brushes, and my fiber arts book collection has almost completely filled a built in cupboard in the hallway.

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Finally, I have a closet in the garage filled with equipment for dyeing fabric.  Apparently my “oozing” into other places in the house isn’t too obnoxious because my DH has never complained.

How much horizontal surface do you have and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

Between the machine cabinet, the cutting table, and floor space I should have enough horizontal surface.  Every pile of stuff has its rationale—usually something along the lines of “I think I might use this for…….”  Oh, and let’s not forget the “PIGS”, a.k.a. “projects in grocery sacks” scattered about the floor.  Needless to say there is a fair amount of shuffling.

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Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting away each fabric as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I tend to pull out absolutely everything I think I might use for a given project, and I always have to go back for more.  It can get pretty chaotic.  I work best if I have a deadline keeping me on task.  Unfinished projects with no finish-by dates I keep sorted in plastic cases or those cool eco-friendly shopping bags. It’s probably better for my sanity if I don’t enumerate them here.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

While my studio certainly will never qualify for a spread in Studios Magazine, I hope that the caliber of my work excuses the mess  ;-)

Thank you Sara for a great tour.  I don’t think it’s ever possible to have enough horizontal space.

See Sara’s work on her blog.

Next month:  A peek at  Jane Davila’s new studio.

First Friday Studio Tour – Lynn Woll

This month we are visiting with Lynn Woll in Tacoma, Washington.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I call it ‘upstairs’. It was originally a ‘bonus room’ or extra living space upstairs so that my daughter could ‘hang’ with her friends. I had a little corner space with my sewing machine, and didn’t use it very much. When she went to college, I started to expand my ‘space’ in the room – a little bit at a time, and, as you can tell, I pretty much have taken over the entire room!

Lynn Woll View from door into roomView from the door into my room

My sewing is a hobby for me. I have a more-than-full-time job that helps me collect fabric for someday in the future. For the past three years I’ve had a fun job that required me to travel around the world. It’s been fun, but exhausting. I have spent more time collecting recently, than creating. But each piece and each notion has a memory of a great place in the world. Being a part of Postmark’d Art has allowed me to continue to be creative – on little pieces, and given me deadlines so I actually get some creative time for me.

Lynn Woll View out windowMy view out the window from my sewing machine . I keep an eye on the cul-de-sac!

What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

What do I have in the room? Too much!  Machines, supplies and books are handy in the room; fabrics are stored in a closet off the room. We built the house and the bonus room was huge (we were moving from a house just over 1000 sq ft). We took 10’ off the length of the room and made a storage closet. It is a mess right now, but my fabric and notions are stored in the closet.

Lynn Woll Serger, felting machine and messy bulletin boardSerger, felting machine and messy bulletin board! 

Lynn Woll BookcasesBookcases

I do share the room with my treadmill. It is the perfect place to contemplate a piece on the design wall. I should use it more often! But it isn’t used to hang clothes! As you can see in the pic – garments I’m working on are hung from the wall unit.

Lynn Woll View from sewing machine to doorView from my sewing machine to the door. My design wall is 8′ wide and 10′ tall. 

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

I’m working on organizing (again). It seems like an ongoing chore. My quilt fabrics are stored by color in cubbies in the closet. In the past few years I’ve gotten into more garment sewing and that fabric is harder to store since it is more yardage. The collection of garment fabrics are in piles and bins in the closet, the corner of the room, the under-eves attic and in my daughter’s room closet – everywhere.

Lynn Woll Quilting fabrics sorted by colorQuilting fabrics sorted by color along one wall of the closet . . .with piles of garment fabrics collected stacking up against the shelved. Top ones are wovens I picked up in Mexico for less than $1 yard. Who could leave them behind? 10 yards of each, please. 

Lynn Woll Other wall in closetThe other wall in the closet. Garment fabrics below, shelves above hold plastic shoe boxes with notions and ‘stuff’.

I do a lot of beading on my quilts, and like to make beaded jewelry. The beads (and findings and more) are organized by color in the plastic drawers on the desk in the corner of the room. I can pull out my beads, pull up a chair and work right there. The desk is special to me, as my Dad had made it for his computer desk about 25 years ago. It is perfect for my bead storage!

Lynn Woll Computer deskThe computer desk my Dad made, with my beading supplies.

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

Uh, yes . . . my husband has accused me of ‘taking over’ the entire house. I have fabric tucked in my daughter’s bedroom, I do some of my handwork downstairs in our living room, so always seem to have a project or two next to my chair. The office has a mix of paper and scrapbooking supplies (most of which can be used in a quilt), and two bookshelves filled with more books. So, I’m often going back and forth between the two rooms when I’m creating.

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

Not enough – can you ever have enough? You can see I’m working on some postcards on my horizontal surface in my room. When I need more, like cutting out a garment, or layering a quilt, I use my dining room table.

Lynn Woll Cutting areaMy cutting area

Lynn Woll Postcards in progresss on horizontal spaceSome postcards in progress on my ‘horizontal’ space.

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I like to straighten and organize as I go, but generally don’t.  Believe it or not, the room is looking pretty good right now! I’m sure it would drive some people crazy with the mess I have. I usually have many projects in the works at the same time, and have another great idea I want to try.

Lynn Woll View of sewing UView of my messy sewing ‘U’ . . . have my cutting area, primary sewing machine, and then the other side is my serger and felting machine.

In the past few years I have been working long hours and travel a lot for work. When I have a few minutes to create, I don’t want to spend the time cleaning up and organizing. I want to create something.  My goal for this year was to get a bit better organized, and have been attacking a little bit at a time so it isn’t overwhelming. You know it is bad when you can’t find something, and you go buy it again. I’ve done that too many times in the past year! Someday I’ll find it all, get it organized and have more than a lifetime of stash!

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

My working method is to come up with an idea in my head. I think about it for a while and then I just dig in. I don’t plan out on paper very much – maybe just a very rough sketch. As my friend and mentor Lorraine Torrence taught me, I make ‘visual decisions visually’. I will work on a piece, put it on my design wall and force myself to spend time on the treadmill (with me actually walking) and look at the piece and make decisions. I probably spend more time exercising when I’m working on a piece that excites me, because I want to have the time to really look at it and tweak values and scale on the piece.

Quilt on wall

One of my quilts on the wall as I leave ‘my room’.

This was fun! Now, if I just had more time!

Thank you Lynn for sharing your space.  I love the idea of a treadmill facing the design wall.  

Next month: Sara Kelly

First Friday Studio Tour – Heather Long

This month we are traveling to Singapore to visit with Heather Long

I moved from New Zealand back to Singapore just over one year ago but this time we came without our house load of “things”.  This meant I was allowed a small shipment of the “I-cannot-live-without” things. Of course these were my crafting and sewing items!  I then went through the many boxes of fabrics and realized I was never going to get close to using a lot of the fabrics I had collected over the many years. It was a tough decision but necessary, so I sold off a lot of my stash and arrived in Singapore with the essentials, and the knowledge that we had good shops to pick up the bits I really needed.

Do you call it a Studio of a Sewing Room?

Interesting that this is my first question to answer, since I needed to call my blog Heather’s Sewing Room as the name Heather’s Studio was already taken. I grew up in a home that had a place designated for sewing and as I entered the clothing trade as a profession I always had a sewing room. As my crafting skills branched out into other crafts, the room has become more than just a sewing room; so I now consider it a Studio.

How did you go about setting up your Studio?

Thankfully our apartment was not short on space, so I was able to take a room all to myself. I went to Ikea and purchased 2 tables with adjustable legs so that I could have one at a standing height and another at a lower height for my sewing machine. I positioned these lengthways in front of the window so my sewing machine gets the most natural light.

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I can then also glance out the window from time to time at the view of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.

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The room had a double and a small single wardrobe built in so I removed the hanging rail and inserted extra shelves to hold my supplies of batting, fabric, patterns, ribbons, beads, glues, paints, pens, cutting tools, brushes, and so on.Heather4

In the drawers I have papers, a selection of plain and hand dyed fabrics and elastics, tapes and haberdashery.

I found a drawer set in a hardware store that was perfect for holding my sewing threads — organized by colour — so this hides in the single wardrobe along with the few books I was able to bring with me.

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How much horizontal space do you have?

I have managed to fit 3 tables into the studio. This gives me a good amount of horizontal space, which I love. The long table is great for cutting garments on and a place to put “stuff”.  Sometimes with all that space I still end up working in a space the size of my cutting mat!

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By putting all the furniture in the centre of the room I freed up the wall space so I could make a design wall. I bought 4 large sheets of core board from the art shop and with sticky Velcro I attached them to the wall and covered it with cotton batting. It is so great to work on.

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In this corner I have my book binding cloth, papers and also some card stock for making boxes and bookbinding. My iron and ironing board also live in this space.

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Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?

As I have a separate room to create in I like to leave everything out as I work on a project. Once the project is finished I will then do a clean up before starting on the next project.

How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I usually have more than one project happening at once. I will try to get a project to a level where I can pack it away for a time. If the time involved in one project is short then I like to finish it off completely. With making quilts the timing can be long, so I tend to pack it away to finish a more urgent project.  In other words, I juggle! My goal is to finish all projects.

Where do you feel the difference is in the starting point between quilting and art?

I feel that you cannot totally separate Quilting and Art as quilting is a form of art. Years ago a quilt was something that was made for the purpose of keeping you warm in bed. Quilts are still designed and made for this reason by sewing and quilting fabric and batting together. Once you hang designs made from fabric on the wall or use it for other purposes, it enters into the world of Art and they become Art Quilts.

Thanks for the visit to my studio.

Thank you Heather for the delightful tour.  I think we will all be a little envious  of the view from your window.

Next Month:  Lynn Woll