Wednesday, January 30, 2013

my studio

My studio is less than a half block from my house. I live in a quiet, residential neighborhood, and my studio is housed in a row of unexpected storefronts. These storefronts used to serve as neighborhood businesses back in the day. There are people in my neighborhood who have lived here since the 50's and remember when my studio was a hair salon. The giveaway that my place used to be a hair salon are the electrical outlets every 5 feet on one side of the studio, and virtually none on the other side. The storefronts now house specialized businesses. In our storefront "family" are: an interior designer, a baker/bicycle builder (my husband), a massage therapist, a photographer, a photo stylist, and a musician. And me.

my studio is the third one up.
I've been in my space since 1998, which is the longest I've ever been in one place my whole life.  We lived further down the street until about 6 years ago, and then moved into our current place, which shaved 20 seconds off my commute. My studio is 600 square feet, which may sound like a good-sized space, and it was about 10 years ago. Now, it's a constant battle to maximize every square inch without making the studio feel crammed. I like a spacious, uncluttered workplace, and creating that in a room that needs to serve so many purposes is a constant challenge. Pottery is an inherently messy medium, and no matter how neat and tidy I keep things... it's still kind of a mess. I recently moved my packing and shipping station to my husband's studio next door, which has freed up what was a dark, messy corner in the studio. 
click to make bigger

Sometimes, I think I should just move into a warehouse space, where I could have another 1,000 square feet, but I can't bring myself to do it. For one thing, I love my 30 second commute. In the Bay Area, that short commute is worth its weight in gold. And, I have great landlords who know what I do for a living, and have raised my rent only nominally in the past 15 years. I won't tell you my rent bill because it will only make you jealous. (Thank you, Chris and Rebecca.)

And finally, I just love my space. I've grown a business in it, I've grown as an artist in it, and the very walls seem to be a part of me now. I have dreams about my studio, and in the dreams there are whole other floors, and warrens, rooms and levels to it. I think that's not just a dream of desire-- how I would love another room-- but a representation of what my studio means to me.  A complex, multi-faceted, sometimes mysterious place where I live, and that lives inside me.
click to make bigger