Monday, October 26, 2009

Studio 4.0, an evolution (lots of pics)

Done! I haven't tried doing any work yet, but from the looks of things the new studio ought to be up and running. I do plan on buying another chair but unless I simply can't deal with the height of the old chair, that purchase will wait a little while.

So today I will entertain you with the tale of the ever-evolving studio.

Between about 2001 and early 2007, I had only a drafting table, and two sets of storage drawers. I worked only in colored pencil and graphite, and kept my pencils right on the table top. The piano used to be against the wall to the right of the window. There was a tall bookcase to the left of my drafting table, out of the frame of the photograph:

As time went on, I decided I'd like to start painting in addition to drawing, plus I also needed some storage shelves for paper and finished prints, etc. The drafting table didn't change much, except the pencils moved from the desktop into some small wooden drawers on top of the plastic drawers to the left of the table itself. The piano and bookcase switched places. I placed an easel in the corner to the right of the drafting table, and refinished an old set of shelves (the thing with the draped canvas sides) for holding paper. This is from March 2007:

That summer, I started doing scrimshaw, but was working across the field in my neighbors' barn, since they had a microscope and I did not at that time. It worked well for starting out, but wasn't the best work space since I had to tote everything back and forth every day, plus I wasn't able to put in any hours late at night or any time when they weren't home. By March 2008 I had my own scope, and got a second drafting table on which to set all that stuff up. So, the drawing table didn't move. I put in an area rug to kind of contain the space and keep the good carpet in good condition. The easel moved right behind my drawing table, and got its own little set of drawers for paint storage. I placed a new drafting table against the wall to the right of the window, and turned the bookcase out away from the wall. The large storage shelves and a set of flat files were (and still are) located in a different part of the room. There were a few gradual changes after this, like adding another small set of drawers to hold some scrimshaw equipment, but it stayed this way until this weekend! So here's March 2008:

And then I wanted to get into engraving metal, and this setup didn't work. Major changes were needed. I needed a stronger engraving bench, and most importantly some sort of stand on which to place the engraving vise so that there would be no wobble whatsoever (if you're working on something under a microscope, and it moves at all, it's horrible to look at). Sooooo, I took a bunch of photographs of what transpired in the last few days.

We start out with absolute chaos, the "between projects and I know I'm going to change all of this so who cares if I make a big mess" kind of chaos. I'm a little embarrassed by this, but I'll get over it.

Painting stuff and storage drawers moved out of the way:

Old drafting table removed (I'm standing in a mass of clutter taking these pics):

New drafting table cleaned off (what I was using for scrimshaw) and ready to be moved into position as new drawing table:

New drafting table in place, new engraving bench assembled:

Rod working on installing the drill press stand:

Drill press stand installed, but there are too many layers of stuff on the floor, that area rug needs to come out:

Rod had gone home by this point, so it was just me and the power tools. Floor boards cut and installed, extending under new drawing table:

Had to move all the furniture off the wood floor. So tired...

First coat of stain/varnish down. I finished the second coat around 12:30am Saturday night.

Furniture back in place:

Getting the lights and storage back into place:

Uh, where is all this stuff going to go?

I decided to pack up the painting supplies. The easel now is in the garage, but can be brought in as needed (probably not going to be needed much, I don't do much painting). And I decided to keep the old drafting table. All my paints and brushes are underneath it. It's coming along:

Done! As you can see, it's a long narrow space, definitely a studio made for one!

I love it!

Old drafting table finds a new job as a permanent home for the papercutter and cutting mat, and can be used as a general work surface as needed. This all does stick out a bit farther into the room than Studio 3.0, but there wasn't really any way around that.

New drawing table, bigger and better!:

New engraving bench with a cut off drill press stand holding the vise. There will eventually be another set of drawers and a new chair here:

The drill press stand becomes a vise stand:

And of course I had to do something girlie to it, so I stuck a flower in the top of the cut-off pipe. :-)

So that's it! It was way more work than I anticipated (mostly because of putting in a new floor). But it actually came together much more quickly than I had expected. Sure, there will be some changes as I work in the new space and get a feel for it, but I don't expect anything major to change. Let's hope not anyway!

I am toying with the idea of doing an "open studio" event, like an open house. Has anyone ever done something like that? [EDIT: I'm not considering that anymore, it was a passing notion, and it passed.]


Jim said...

Looks great! Looking forward to seeing the great stuff that will surely come out of "Studio 4.o."

Anonymous said...

Hi! I finally got a chance to see the studio looks great! I love the floor..I will have to ask how you did that. Can't wait to see the whole set-up in person!

Anonymous said...

open studio event is a nice idea, but first check any jeweler site ( is probably largest) and see their horror stories about burglaries and tool theft from studios. Not good to set yourself up as a target.

Also, depending on your location, a studio tour can start a zoning/association proceeding that will shut you down until you move.

Katherine Plumer said...

FYI, I decided long ago that I'm not doing any open studio thing. Nice idea, but ain't gonna happen...