First Friday Studio Tour – Meta Heemskerk

This month we travel to the Netherlands to visit with Meta Heemskerk. Meta gives us some insight into working in a very small space.

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 workplace ‘my corner’ as it’s part of our living room, not a separate room. I started out using just the dining table and gradually my corner got filled up. I got more storage space in the form of cupboards and a room divider. We put another dining table behind this room divider, so our living room got a little smaller, but it’s still big enough. My corner of the room measures four by four meters. Far too small for all my stuff, but I manage. I have boxes underneath the tables, in which I store fabrics and other supplies.

Storage container under computer table

I’ve never done any traditional quilting. I made an attempt three years ago, but I soon found out that it wasn’t for me, working so precisely. I then discovered art quilting and other forms of fiber art. It started out as a hobby but I spend so much time on it, that I could think of it as work now.

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

In my work corner I have a large table and a smaller one. On the large one I do the cutting, designing and sewing. On the smaller table I do my ‘wet work’. I have a Bernina sewing machine, which I love, and an embellisher, which I use occasionally. My computer is also in my work corner; when I’m working at my table and I hear an email come in, all I have to do is turn my chair and I can answer it straight away.

Computer corner

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?

I keep all the ‘messy materials’ in the kitchen and scullery and we recently had an extension roof built, so, weather permitting, I can do the messy work outside, which is great.

We are three of us in our house, my husband, our nineteen year old son and myself. We all have equal amounts of space.

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?

I do have two fairly large tables to work on, but it’s never enough. I must admit I do use the new dining room table now and again, but just for ‘clean’ work. (And the room divider has gradually moved a few inches!)

“Dry” table

“Wet” table

I never have enough space. I would love to have a separate studio, which isn’t part of the living room and could even be a separate building. On the other hand, having part of the living room as my workspace means I can still be in the same room as my family and do some work at the same time.

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 usually work on one project at a time, but this one project usually means that I need my entire work space. I’m not a very organized person and when I’m working it’s quite a mess around me. Whenever this mess becomes too much, even for me, I clean up and sort out all my materials. But it usually isn’t very tidy in my corner.

One of my friends came to visit my house for the first time. She said it was quite an advantage entering our living room via my work corner, as the living area itself looked so tidy, compared to my work corner, which was a nice way to put it!

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

I usually don’t worry what other people think. It’s my house and as long as my husband and son are happy with my ‘mess’ it’s okay! For me being creative and being tidy don’t go together. (I’m always a little jealous, though, when I see those immaculate studios, shown by some of our members). But I always make sure that, whenever someone is coming round, I do make my corner look ‘presentable’.

Check out Meta’s website, greeninthemiddle.nl, or galleribba, the online gallery in which she participates.

Next month:  Rita Summers, whose work can be seen at gonerustic or stitchedupmama

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