Having a personal space to create in is one of the first needs of any artist. I’ve gone through several incarnations of my studio space over the years. Before my husband and I purchased our house, I was limited as to where I could work. I ran my business from the corner of our bedroom and used the kitchen table as a work surface. Thankfully, once we moved into our present home, I was able to dedicate a room to my creative processes. I still spread out a little at times, but keeping the majority of my tools and projects in a dedicated room has helped promote marital bliss. I’ve kept the walls and flooring white so that when I view the colors of stones or beads, I am getting more of a true sense of their color. Colored walls tend to mask color tones. Sometimes I wish I could have a bit more colorful a place, but I want to keep my studio as functional as possible. One of the features that I love about my studio is that I have a window that faces our backyard. I can look out at our lemon tree or my rose garden during the day.
My Jeweler’s Bench is rather beat up, but it is sturdy and made of solid wood. I had found it on craigslist for sale from a retiring jeweler in the area. It had been burned to a crisp in the front and the table surface was damaged. I took my dremel to it in the backyard and sanded all the char off and cleaned up the goop as best I could. I have a self-healing mat on the top that covers the distressed table top. I get instant measurements that way and don’t have to view the damaged surface. I have a stepped bracelet mandrel clamped to the bench, a foredom flexshaft, a mini-grinder, my torch, bench block with pad and various mandrels on my bench. Additional tools such as my hammers, pliers and saws are in the drawers of the bench or in the red rolling cart under the bench and in the little rolling cart to the side. My bench stool was a great find at Costco. It has a comfortable leather seat and has means to customize the height. It allows me to be at the perfect height when I’m sawing at my bench pin.
One of the problems I had before I set up my current studio was that all my tutorial and reference books were scattered about the house and I could never find them when I needed to look something up. I had a little wall space above my guest chair and decided to attempt a little DIY library. $50 at the home depot and I was in library nirvana. My bottom shelf holds all my jewelery and gemology texts. The second shelf holds my boxes of handmade findings, assorted crystals, seed bead collection and my neck mandrel. The upper shelve which is difficult to get to has my general craft and cookbooks. My guest chair gets plenty of use. When my dog is not sleeping there, my husband likes to come and sit and chat with me while I’m working. Sometimes I think that I could use the space there better, but in the end I continue to keep my plush chair there.
I have more ideas for the future of my studio. I am planning on creating a second bench in the corner of the room that simply holds a small table at present. That bench will hold a drill press, a small rolling mill and a hydraulic jewelry press. These are all expensive tools and I will need time to save up for their purchases, but one can dream.