Fiber Art Studio Tour
I don't know about you, but I LOVE looking at photos/videos of other artists' studios just to see how they arrange their creative space, and also for ideas. That being said, there is not much when it comes to fiber art studio inspiration, and especially not if you are looking for ones that deal specifically with wool roving and not how to store their yarn stash (you'll see in the photos below yarn is just one cubby), so I thought I'd share mine. I know that it's an ever-evolving space, depending on what they're working on, but it's a window into their world. Mine has evolved several times, this is the second MAJOR change/arrangement since I moved into the dining room, and the dining room disappeared. Or rather the only piece of dining room furniture we had was just a table and chairs, no china cabinet with expensive dishes that nobody's allowed to use, so that got moved into the kitchen, and the tiny kitchen table that sits 4 comfortably and 6 barely was moved to my fiber art studio. The first set-up, of which I don't think I have photos because I wasn't really loving it, still felt like a dining room pretending to be something else. The new arrangement was to give it its new designated space, and set up as such. There is still one change for which I'll need my husband's help, which will be to add an extension chain and move the light from the center to the corner where the table is located, but as it stands, I'm in love with it.
In case you were wondering, we rarely entertain such large groups where we would need a dining room, and when we have entertained, it was warm enough outside to do a cookout, so altogether I think I could count on two hands how many times we've actually used the dining room AS a dining room in nearly 5 years. I also believe homes should be laid out the way the people in it choose to live, not in preconceived ideas of home layouts. The room designated as a living room in our home (we have a family and living room) has been set up as an office/library from the start. I personally have never seen the point of having two rooms with couches but with one just for show. I'm not paying the mortgage for dust bunnies. We purchased a certain square footage, and I expect to use all of those square feet as efficiently as possible. I absolutely do not live in a Martha Stewart catalog.
The thing I had to do to make it work this time was to de-clutter and prioritize the items in the art space. The piano/guitars are staying, because there really isn't anywhere else to put them for now. I'm thinking they'll move to the family room some-day to take the place the children's kitchen set once they grow out of it, and in its place will likely go my antique drafting table, which is put away for now. The problem was that I was trying too hard to fit all my art supplies in here (I definitely have accumulated quite a bit at this point). My drawing/painting supplies mostly are in the office, next to my computer, and certain things like glues and acrylics and oil mediums are going to get put away for the time being. I did keep my wooden art boxes with built-in easels in the art room though, since they tuck in nicely next to and under the table. The thing is the kids both have full access to this space (not the office, not yet anyway), and toddlers and art supplies, especially oil painting mediums and glues, do not really go well together. They are in tubs that are impossible to open even for me, but I know kids who are more successful at opening child-proof locks than I am (my own not yet, the key word being "yet"). Ultimately it actually feels like a FIBER studio, not just an art studio. My wool is proudly on display and is the first thing you see when you approach the room. My looms (rigid heddle and a DIY frame loom) also have a place, even if that place is leaning against the wall. The drum carder, needle felting machine and blending board all have a place, with the sewing machine tucked away on a shelf. My focus has definitely been on fiber far more than painting in recent years (other than painting on furniture and art journaling, the latter which I do at my desk anyway), so at this point in my life, this is how my creative space is set up.
The other change I made was that I was trying too hard to make it both my AND the kids' art space. What that actually ended up doing was creating just the kids' art space with storage for my stuff, and I spent more time picking up their art supplies that they'd dumped all over the floor than creating art. They are still absolutely welcome to join me in there, which they do spend more time in there than their own designated play spaces (and their sketchbooks/drawing supplies are there), but their craft supplies got put away except for when we have a specific project in mind. They have practically taken over the rest of the house, in addition having their own bedrooms, and I just needed a space where I could work. I'm not kidding, they took over the whole thing, tables, floor, etc. I know once they're older it will likely be more of a combined creative space for them as well, especially since at least one out of the two is interested in fiber art so far, but mommy needs her space.
The hamper next to the piano has my foam pads for when I teach local workshops. The easel will eventually be gone, which is currently listed locally for sale. My kids just don't really use it and prefer to work on a horizontal rather than a vertical surface, most often that being the floor, but for now it has its place in here until it finds a new home. I'm in love with that rag rug which I picked up at 5 Below for five bucks. It's so vibrant and matches the colors on the shelf.
I do love the fact that there always is a part of the day when we play music in here too. The kids will do what I can best describe as interpretive dance while I strum on the guitar (less so the piano), or we'll sing songs, or I'll just make up tunes while my daughter improvises her own song. Today she sang "Moon in my hand" and something about a pink heart.
If you remember a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about storing wool. Here is how I store mine! That wool used to be rolled into balls, but the problem was that they kept rolling off the shelves. So I unraveled each ball of wool and re-wrapped it to be shaped more like a skein of yarn (perusing those fiber studio ideas really did help). Batting gets rolled up much the same way when I take it off the carder. The antique dynamite wood crate on the second shelf from the top holds bags of fiber, including silks, camel top, locks, etc. Core wool has its place too (well, more like a few places), and the yarn is in the vintage picnic basket, and my jewelry/beading supplies are to the right of that. The shelf on the bottom still needs to be reworked a bit, but behind one door is my shipping supplies and created objects that are listed for sale in my etsy shop, the one next to it is my work in progress tub. The other two are things that don't need to be down here. I still have lots of wool that needs to be processed and will eventually make their way onto these shelves. I haven't decided yet if I will be separating my alpaca from the sheep's wool. The jars on top have my merinos and silk blends. I really need to find a better way to store those massive embroidery hoops. Either that or I should just make something to go in them so they can go on the wall. I have one more ikea shelf (a 2x4) that would easily fit on top of this one horizontally, and I keep going back and forth on whether or not I want to do that. Currently it's in my son's room, which he does not keep his toys on it and just uses it for climbing purposes. I have a feeling that once I'm done processing the rest of the wool, I'm likely going to need it, but then there is a question of what to do with my jars on top?
In the other corner is the other shelf, my little file cabinet with blending board on top and drifwood lamp with one of those vintage Edison bulbs (those last a LONG time, this one is going on 2 years now), and my looms. Some of the wool paintings I've needle felted hang on the wall, and at some point I hope to have the wall covered in them. The windows have two sets of blinds, a sheer with a bamboo print that my mom bought me when I was still living in an apartment, and over that I have some vintage lace drapes which I found while rummaging through my mom's boxes. I don't know if they were something she picked up herself decades ago or passed down in the family, but either way they're fairly old. I thought that they would look perfect in a fiber studio. The cushion on the floor is a foldout Thai triangle cushion (like this one) that I picked up a few years ago at a local international market, and it's one of the most loved cushions in our home. The kids like to pretend it's a slide, and it folds out so I can have a comfy seat to work on the floor if I want to. I need to pick up some kapok and add some more stuffing at some point, since it's flattened out a bit over the years. Actually, I kindof want to try felting with it too...
Here you can see where I store my felt for wool paintings. The fabric covered box has remnants, iron-on stabilizers and scrap wool. The mesh bin with the bamboo mat has most of my wet felting supplies, then there's my sewing machine, Polish accordion folding notion box, my used sari silks and the drawers have things like sewing needles, scissors, felting needles, ribbon, baker's twine, and more thread. On top of the shelf is my dye pot as well as a bluetooth speaker because no art room is complete without some music (at least not for me). There is also space for me to put my drum carder away should I need to use the entire table or run out of stuff to card.
And here is my workspace! The problem right now is the corner gets a bit dark after the sun goes down, so I really need to get the lamp moved over. The drum carder is clamped to the table with a kitchen towel underneath, which believe it or not actually keeps it from shifting the way it did when I just clamped it by itself. The felting machine is on the table, plugged in and ready to go. There is also storage inside the table, which is a vintage table/bench convertible piece of furniture. It currently stores all my smaller embroidery hoops, though considering the length of it, I'll likely be putting my wet felting supplies, such as the wider shelf liner roll, inside there. On the wall is a tapestry that my husband has had long since before I met him, and I'm not quite sure the story behind it (but occasionally do a google search to see if I can figure it out).
I keep going back and forth on teaching workshops directly out of my home. The kids are free to come and go in the room (there are no doors), so they can be a distraction, especially for those who were thinking they might take a workshop to get away from the kids only to be surrounded by mine. It will probably be better for one-on-one classes if someone wants to take private lessons rather than a large group, though there's plenty of space to put a folding table in the middle (maybe once the kids are a bit older). For the time being, I'll likely bring it up with the library 5 minutes from my home and see if they want to offer a class.