The Making of a Studio Part One

No one really tells you how to do this. Or maybe that was just my experience. #Instagram shows lovely studios by working artists and it seems so effortless and magical. So what really happens when you decide to set up your studio?

First you need to find the space

It happened for me this way. This past summer, I was at an arts conference and happened to mention to a friend and fellow artist that I would love to find an affordable space to make art. You know some kind of space that could be called an artist studio. I was flexible and wasn’t too picky, or so I thought. We chatted about that and a few other issues and said goodbye. A few days later he messaged me and said he had a friend who was leaving their space and would I like to take a peek at the space. He said “oh yeah, it’s also affordable”. I made the call.

My studio wish list

I’m a pretty flexible gal, so at first my wish list looked like this:

  • 10x10 space at a minimum

  • Heat and A/C

  • No more than a 10 minute drive from home

  • Easy access to water

  • Safe

As I investigated the options I came to realize a few things.

If 10x10, my goodness, I needed a window with some natural light. I have a sensitive nose, so the space had to pass the nose test. I didn’t care about the walls or the floors, I figured I would be messing them up anyway. Noise. Ok I had not even thought of this let alone have it on my list! So my updated list now looks like this:

  • 10x10 space at a minimum

  • Heat and A/C

  • No more than a 10 minute drive from home

  • Easy access to water

  • Safe

  • Smells healthy

  • Window

  • Low noise (no industrial drills or loud music)

So back to my investigation for the space, I found the gentleman who was renting a few offices had a few choices. One space had a sink and water, but no window. It felt a bit like a jail cell, so this freaked me out a little. The other space didn’t have a sink or water, but was next to the ladies bathroom, and it had a window! The floor was crappy, ok. And they had painted the walls bright white. OK great! The window needed an updated shade, no biggie. I was pretty satisfied that this space would work for me. Then I heard the drumming.

It turns out the guy down the hall practices with his drums. As in rock band drumming. The agent told me he only came to the office during the evening hours, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Mmmmmm.

Sealing the deal

I was ready to make the deal happen. It took several months before I could officially move in. In that time, the office I thought I was getting, ended up being a different one, which was fine since it had 2 large windows that suited me just fine. They installed some manufactured wood floors, very nice, but yikes, now I had to protect them! And they also installed some very nice vertical blinds. In addition, this office was located next to a storage place, so I also got a 10 x 5 unit to store all my extra art supplies that didn’t fit in my studio space. This is how my final wish list looks now:

  • 10x10 space with 10 x 5 storage unit nearby

  • Heat and A/C

  • A 20 minute drive from home

  • Easy access to water in the ladies room

  • Safe, I have to keep my wits about me

  • Smells great in office. The storage unit has an odd smell, but not that bad

  • 2 Windows

  • New flooring

  • New vertical blinds

  • I have a neighbor who plays the drums during the day. Luckily he is good!

  • A business address

I moved in Nov 30, 2018. This was by far the best action I took in 2018 to move me forward in my work. I love having a special space for making art. I created the space so it can be flexible so I often do the business side of my work in the studio too. So far this little space works for me.

In part two of The Making of a Studio I’ll talk about how I actually set up the space.