HAVING a studio space is a real luxury and I escape to mine most days.
When I first started working as an artist I used a desk in the corner of a downstairs room but I soon outgrew that. I don’t really do minimalist!
I dreamt of having a purpose-built studio where I could come and go and leave work out on the desk half-finished without worrying about it. Somewhere I could invite people to come and see my work without having to clear away stuff first. Having a space where you can do your own thing is so important I think. Some of my friends have huge workspaces where they spread out and work on a big scale. Others squeeze in a spot between the tables and chairs in their living room but the main thing is they all have a dedicated place where they can lose themselves for a few hours and get creative.
For me the answer was building a shepherds hut in my garden and it was definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. It took me about two years to work up to it and six months to do it but it has earned its keep in so many ways. Its about six steps from my front door so getting to work in the mornings is really easy! But at the same time its a magical space that’s completely separate from my home life. And it looks pretty.
I wish I could share the timeless smell of wood and paper that you inhale when I unlock the door. Like being in a lovely library. I have heat here and power so it has all mod-cons. I have a radio and I’m usually listening to something while I’m working. But when you first come inside there’s just silence, the clock ticking and birdsong. On wet days like today I sit inside, dry and cosy, while the rain pats onto the roof and count my lucky stars.
At the back of my hut is a day bed — this puzzles people but there’s a reason for it. I have three sons and when I splashed out on the hut I knew there was no way I could make myself such a magical place without letting my kids share in it. So occasionally – quite often at Christmas – they camp out here overnight. Its magical (once I’ve made enough space to pull the bottom bed out, sigh). Several times this year I’ve looked at that sofa and thought of all the really useful storage and gallery space I’d have if I took it out of here. But until the kids get too old its staying. If visitors come they can sit on it. And my cat would be very sad if he had nowhere to curl up here in the autumn months.
I love seeing where people work so I’ll try and feature a few of the studios of my artist friends in future blog posts. In the meantime enjoy this virtual tour and if you’re ever in my area come and see me – I’m open to visitors every Tuesday and Thursday morning, 10-12.30, or by appointment at other times (e-mail me at email@example.com). The kettle is always on!