Sunday, January 27, 2013

Home Stretch


... and a Giveaway! (Sorry, all the items I had to give away have been claimed! Thanks for reading, everyone!)

Back in September, we moved out of our little house next to the Magical Forest, and into near-urban nirvana when we got relocated from the Texas Gulf Coast, to the city of Houston. I left behind my beloved studio and embarked on building a new one- bigger, brighter, and with lots more storage.


This is how my new three-and-a-half car garage began its journey from a plain, cluttered space on move-in day...



... to a temporary creative space thrown together on the fly so I could prepare for the IQF last October...





... to the almost-complete, organized, permanant space I'm revealing for the first time, today...


This weekend, my husband, daughter, and I worked until we were ready to drop building two new tables and positioning them once they were finished. Today, I spent the day moving storage units into place, and generally reorganizing the entire space. Let's take a tour!

The above photo is what I see when I enter from the house. In front are two tables, each measuring 4' x 8'. The one towards the back of the photo is an industrial packing table I purchased from Uline. It is steel construction, stands 36 1/2" tall, and has a 3/4" oak plywood top. It is the most luxurious print table I've ever had, and I can't wait to use it! Currently, there is another piece of 4'x8' plywood laying on top of it that will become, over the next couple of weeks, a piece of art for my front entryway. I promise to blog that process from start to finish!

The table towards the front of the photo is 27" tall, so I can sit at it, and was created using six telescoping legs from Ikea and another piece of 3/4" oak plywood. A heavy canvas tarp has been thrown over it- my preferred surface to work on.

A couple of other views from various positions in the studio: the bank of cabinets, with a generous 11 foot long, 36 inch deep counter top...



... and looking back towards the back door and the sink. Back there is also another small table that currently holds a leather chair I'm about to begin rehabbing. More about that in a moment.


When I'm sitting down at the lower table, this is what I see on my right...



... an Alex cabinet (also from Ikea) that holds many of my paints and supplies and provides excellent horizontal space to hold paper and more paints. On the side, I've stuck a 3M Command hook to hold my dust mask and safety glasses; no doubt I will add more hooks in the future as needed.

To my left as I'm sitting at my desk, I see this view...


... two beat-up but still very functional drawer units that came from the Container Store some years back. On top of them (they sit back to back so all the drawers are accessible) are sturdy cardboard "cell packs", normally used for packing your drinking glasses when you move. They are inexpensive, and I find them incredibly handy for holding every kind of tool I need to keep close at hand. I slip a plastic cup down into each cell and fill it with everything from paint brushes, to scissors, to markers.

Behind me, tucked under the large print table, are more units holding more essential tools and materials. To my left, one of my wooden stamp storage chests, a small microwave, a plastic 3-drawer bin, and (barely visible) my electric skillet filled with soy wax. Tucked in between those units are cutting mats, and two 24" x 24" sheets of plywood I use to stretch water color paper, weight down glued collages until they dry, and press water from hand-made paper sheets.


Behind me and to my right...


... the second of my stamp storage chests, and stacked on top of it, my oil paints and some random tools and materials. As on the Alex chest, I used more hooks to hold paint roller handles.

Towards the back of the studio, near the sinks, is a smaller table which may or may not stay once I'm finished with it. On it, sits this leather chair, found for an amazing 11.00$ (US) at my local Goodwill store...


The chair is heavy, incredibly sturdy, and was obviously well-built.


It was loved nearly to death, but despite the poor condition of the leather, the seat cushion still has all the support it must have had when new. This beauty will be painted (yes, painted!) and will be installed in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I will be blogging more about the process I use in rehabbing this chair, along with some photos for eye candy, as I dive into working with it!

Several things still remain undone in the studio, and will be completed over the next few months. Each of the large tables needs power, which we plan to install over them with retractable cords and plugs that I can just reach up and grab whenever I need to plug something in.

A design wall will be built on this wall, currently cluttered with spare plywood and a water cooler.


We will use the exact same method we used when installing the design wall in my last studio. You can see how we did that here.

Something that will be new to me, and that I am very excited about, will be a "painting wall"...


This is the empty wall space (there are boxes stacked here now but they will be moved) between my paper and canvas hanging unit...

 

... and the sink. In this space, we will build a down-and-dirty system that will allow me to hang canvases of various sizes vertically and paint on them while they're on the wall. I'm really excited about painting in this way, as I've always in the past painted on flat, horizontal surfaces, and I think that working on a surface hanging vertically with allow for more gestural techniques.

And yes, I am still planning on creating and posting video tutorials. Unfortunately, I've hit a snag- my camera keeps turning itself off at unexpected moments, despite 1) having enough space on the memory card, 2) having a fully-charged battery and, 3) having all sleep modes and energy saving modes turned off. Once I overcome this hurdle, I will most definitely be posting videos; I'm still very passionate about doing it! It just may take me longer than I expected.

In the meantime, now that my studio is fully functional, I will begin rehabbing old furniture, creating new furniture pieces, and painting new work for the walls and rooms of my home. It's a big space and I'm anxious to fill it with fun, colorful things!

Happy creating!
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