This month we are visiting with Suzanna Bond of Fullerton, California. Suzanna has returned from Kenya just in time to give us this tour.
Do you call it a Studio or sewing room? Do you think of it as a business or a hobby?
It’s called my Sewing Room because it’s an inviting word. I think it’s a comfortable word for my family too: Mom’s place. I like that. I have a lovely portrait of my Aunt Mary Alice by the window and I always have her smiling face to see. She taught me to sew and I often think about what we talked about and how much fun we had.
When I’m away I say it’s a Studio. It makes me feel like a Grown-Up with Grown-Up work to do. I am in the nice time of life where I can work on my art freely without interruption. I can concentrate on my goals and keep a schedule. It’s not a business, but I think of it as work. It’s not a hobby to me because it absorbs most of my thought and time. The work has given me the ability to teach and train others. I go to Nairobi often to assist in skill development at a women’s workshop. This room is where all of it starts or ends; the dressmaking, the batik dying, oil portraits, beading, knitting and quilting happen here.
What do you have in the room?
I have 4 small tables for individual uses. 3 rolling cabinets, 2 chairs, 1 printer, 2 bookshelves and an easel. I have quite a few sewing machines, the number of which could only be guessed, as they’re not all in this room!
Almost all my work is here, but not all my stuff.
My new thing is oil painting though I’ve always been an artist. I knew it would make all the difference in my art quilts and it has given me a lot of confidence and freedom. So I had to clear out a hide-a-bed to make room for an easel, lighting, cabinet and chair. Should have done that way sooner!
My favorite thing is my Singer 301 table. Ironically it has the Bernina 807 on it now, but taking out the removable insert for the machine to rest in has been a real pleasure for me. I got a black 301 at the Long Beach Swap Meet for $35 and I’m still telling that tale.
How do you store and organize your supplies?
I keep stuff in baskets and shelves and closets and under things and on top of things. I weed through stuff all the time and don’t have any trouble getting rid of it. Through the years I’ve had to scale back several times. I understand I don’t need it all to make what I want. I’m getting picky about what new techniques I try.
I arrange everything visually. I group things together because they look good that way or by the way it inspires me. You name it, I got it. No unusual supplies. The thing that makes this a special place for me creatively are my toys. Here and there are little dolls or objects that are special and go beyond a paint brush or spool. That’s what I’d like to point out.
I have a Carither’s Department Store Butterick flyer from my hometown framed in black as you see there. I love kitchen clocks and look for them in colors that match my walls and floors.
I have a small phonograph and records that I play, especially at Christmas. I also set up my iPad to watch Netflix and PBS. So great when I am moving around the room and see every scene of Sherlock Holmes. The iPad has been my second greatest sewing room tool!
I enjoy collage. I have a heap of snippets and wrappers, art supplies and tools. I’ll use it when it ferments and gets “just right.” I don’t nearly have as much fabric as I used to but you could never tell by looking. I’m a good little squirrel. Squirrels like yarn.
I have been using Tsukineko Ink lately on everything, so I keep that handy. The last few years of making postcards has helped me hone down what works for me – what I really enjoy. I can’t have everything out or it paralyzes me. I get all “Martha Stewart” about notions and tools. I tend to “go after” the room between big projects. I just finished a portrait quilt before going to Nairobi this month. I had a few garments I wanted to make so I needed to clear out the stuff to clear my head. Going from one discipline to another means I have to be organized. I LOVE different tools. I like taking care of them too. I like my stuff and that’s how I enjoy it even more.
Fabrics separated by type, by project, then by color. Threads are separated by colors and uses, some hidden and some out for inspiration. Lots of labels on things. My friend Kristen Evans has me sharp on those. An organized person has to have an Organizational Mentor. I keep a daily schedule and calendar, a new thing for me, but I can sure see how much more I get done!
Do you have any particular thing you’d like to share?
When we moved into this house a few years ago I was able to get Pergo flooring, extra canister lighting and custom closet shelving.
As a young mommy Tim found me crying late one night about not having a place to sew! I do not take my space for granted.
Never enough closet space right? That’s why I make good use of every closet. In every room.
We gladly welcomed our son back for a stay. The room that kept all my bed quilts clean and pretty is better used now. I have the organizational gene. One per family.
Thank you Suzanna. I love the clocks and the knitting needle storage.
Next month: Franki Kohler