This month's Establish member focus puts the spotlight on studio spaces. Our
Establish consultant Ruth Singer has asked three members to write their own questions to
ask their partner, about their home or shared studio spaces, the benefits, and how these spaces inform their work.
WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire's year-long professional development programme for creative businesses. Our Establish members are experienced in the industry and benefit from supportive peer mentoring alongside a whole host of live online events and resources.
Click here to find out more about the WebinArt Programme. WebinArt 2020/21 is generously + kindly subsidised by our funding partners - Leicestershire County Council, Arts Council England, Derbyshire County Council, Hinckley + Bosworth Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, Blaby District Council + Rutland County Council.
Alys Power interviewed by Kelly McRobie
You have two studio spaces one for teaching and another for your own work. Which space do you like the best or is it both for different reasons?
I'm not sure I have a favourite. Having both is such a luxury. I love having my own private space. I'm very comfortable with my own company and I can really just relax into making when I am there. However, I know that working on my own from home full time isn't great for my mental health so having a more public space where I can welcome students and have a more social side to my work is wonderful. It was quite terrifying to commit to taking on another space but I am really proud of it.
How long did it take for you to get both?
I have had a studio for my own work for the last fifteen years. Over that time I have had eight different studios and my current one has been my creative home since 2017. When we moved house it was partly to set up my creative business with a dedicated workspace and for two years it was also a teaching space. I also taught classes in a shared space in an art gallery. When the gallery closed in 2019 I opened my own dedicated teaching space.
Which space do you feel the most creative in? And why?
I am definitely more creative in my own studio. It's a more private and personal space which allows me to spread out and make a mess. I can leave work half finished and try new things. It's peaceful and overlooks the garden. During lockdown I have had to be more flexible as my partner has been working from my home studio so have spent more time making at my teaching space and finding other spaces to draw and design.
Do you have the dream studio you always wanted. Would you like to change it in any way in the future?
I think I am actually pretty close to having my dream studio – I am certainly very lucky to have my own creative space. My home studio is warm, light and a decent size and was designed from scratch to suit my needs and although it is always evolving it is absolutely my favourite part of the house. My teaching space is still becoming itself. It's in an old factory building and overlooks a sandstone cliff face. It has an industrial charm to it but it would be nice to have somewhere with a view and perhaps even central heating one day.
You can see Alys' work and the Nottingham Jewellery school here -
Kelly McRobie interviewed by Karen Logan
What are the main benefits of a home studio for you and your practice?
The main benefits of having a home studio are I can work all hours and not have to travel far to get to my space, it’s easy to nip to my studio if I have a deadline or I'm feeling creative and want to do some making. I know I’m safe to get home as it’s just a short hop back from the bottom of the garden. Having a home studio during lockdown saved my soul, I think. I feel very lucky to have such an amazing space my partner built for me. It’s taken a few years of sharing spaces, using spare bedrooms to get my workspace I have now. It still hasn’t got any fancy flooring but I do love it.
Having a home studio which is not in the house is also great as you can leave your space in a mess when you’ve had a day being creative which happens a lot with me when experimenting with different fabrics.
Does your mindset shift when entering your studio and do you have any rituals to help you begin the creative day?
I hadn’t really thought I had any rituals but I guess I take my dog Dave and his bed then make sure he has a comfortable place to sit to keep me company. Then I grab coffee, water and switch on 6 music or listen to a podcast. I tidy up occasionally from my last creative session however I think this sometimes feels like me procrastinating or maybe a process of sorting out my ideas physically. I work much better to a deadline so this often means my most creative mind-set is when I’m in this space working. However, having much more time on my hands during the last few months I found myself spending more time in my studio and growing to enjoy it more just to be able to be creative again instead of just using the space to make items to sell or for deadlines.
Has the space enabled new ideas/leaps in thinking that would not have been possible without the studio? Tell us about that.
I will always be creative in whatever space I have. Having a studio space makes life easier as both my partner and I are practical people so need the space. I can’t imagine not having my own space to be creative in but would make do with the kitchen table if I had to. I try not to take it for granted but it’s nice to have a space you can use just the other day I was helping a friend with wedding flowers and we used my space to find all sorts of gems - maybe an idea for a new workshop. I like to re-use whenever materials possible this means you need lots of space to store things you’ve collected over the years. Before lockdown I used my space for workshops and to teach people how to sew. I would love the opportunity to build on this from my home studio. The space has helped me to reflect on my practice over the last few months and like I have said before I feel very lucky to have it.
You can see Kelly's work here -
Karen Logan interviewed by Alys Power
What is it like having creative studio neighbours? Positives/negatives of a shared location.
It is great. So good to be around artists and creatives who ‘get it’. The mix at Haarlem Artspace is interesting, there is no set path to a creative life so it’s inspirational to see how others negotiate this. As I write I’m alone on my floor of the studio (there are 3 floors), so have peace and quiet to think. The spaces are partitioned, so the floor has an open feel while also being ‘contained’. I’ve been longing for space to pin work up from my decades of practice and let it breathe, to recognise connections, overlaps, relationships. 'Breathing space' is such a big deal as I’ve moved a lot and my work and art materials have been boxed up for many years.
Do you have a routine for going to 'work'? I'm interested in your journey, how you plan/ organise time there.
I catch the bus to the studio, it’s a wiggly route so I get to look at the landscape and pinch myself that I live in Derbyshire. I love walking towards Haarlem Artspace, it is such a solid building, hunkered down in the landscape and I feel very fortunate to have a key to the door. As most self-employed people, I’m motivated and keep a diary of self-imposed deadlines as (like many) all the opportunities I had coming up have vanished… so keeping on keeping on. I’m currently working through ideas I’ve had in my head/jotted in notebooks and bringing them into the world. My studio time tends to follow a pattern of emails/social media, then cracking on with making work.
Is it your only workspace?
I’ve spent most of my creative life without a studio so have chosen to (mostly) make work that is portable/foldable, so can be made on public transport/while traveling and I can work anywhere with my laptop. I see workspace as wherever I am.
I have dreams of a large home space one day with a huge table and storage space, so when I achieve that my work may change in response.
You can see more of Karen's work here -