Saturday, October 30, 2010

Studio nests and altars

Some artists work in pristine open spaces or so I hear.
I don't know any such artists. My friends seem to have
studios and work spaces filled with bits and pieces of
work and life. "You work in a nest" is how folks have
described my space. It is true my studios have almost
always been upstairs, perched amidst the trees. Here
is a short photo tour of where I work. You'll notice
I didn't make any attempts to clean up before inviting
you in. You're getting a look at reality. My studio is
in the house where we live. It used to be on the third
floor next door, but there was a house fire, so I moved
the studio into our house. As our children grew up and
moved out, my hubby and I took over their bedrooms.
My main studio is in a room at the top of our stairs which
we divided into 1/3 and 2/3 for three children. I've
left it divided.
So here we go, climb our stairs with me:

and walk in - that is a mirror between the two spaces.

My work table is straight ahead along with shelves,
bins of leather, inventory, and a shore photo titled "the
aesthetics of chaos"...seems appropriate!

This is the wall I face when I work:

The poster is of :"The Tate by Tube" - given
me by one of our daughters when we were visiting
my costume designer brother in London in 1989.
The shelf I face when I work contains this small studio
"altar" - each item has a story and special meaning.
I find that most people and perhaps especially artists
gather small "altars" whether they call them that
or not. My studio walls have some other altar areas.

Below is the right side of the workspace. Upper left
shows the opening to the larger part of the divided room.

I have a fondness for images of older women!

Turn around (carefully it's a small space) and you'll see
my view outside facing the street. I haven't repainted
since our daughter slept here when young.

To demonstrate how long we've lived here. That oak tree
in the background was a tiny seedling that we let grow
instead of pulling it out. Years do fly by!

Walk around the wall, into the larger studio room. There
used to be loft beds in here, but now we just keep a single
bed for extra sleep space for friends and family. The window
straight ahead looks out on our greenhouse where I spray
paint and do felting. Yes, that is a big 4'x5' nest perched by
the window. It is connected to a long mythic folk tale I am

This is the reverse side of the work table wall - The costume
designer figure is a tribute to my brother. He died of AIDS
in 1990 along with so many other creative friends. I like
having photos of him in the studio..spurring me on.

To the right as you walk in is a wall with shelves with beads
and miscellaneous tiny things waiting until their creature or
figure calls them!

The wall is filled with tickets from shows, photos
of friends dear and lost, a favorite redwoods photos,
event buttons and a bit of everything else.

The greenhouse is down the hall. You can see it
is a multi-use space. There is some Swiss chard
growing in there now plus herbs drying.

I use the far end. Someday we might even finish the
space! My husband's business is creating beautiful
wood and glass sunrooms....only he finishes the ones
for other people. Old story of the shoe maker and his
children...Of course I could paint the walls if it
bothered me.

Finally - one last piece of equipment: my
kiln in our basement:

There you have it. The aesthetic chaos from
which my creatures emerge!
Hope you have enjoyed the tour...
Next week...images of new work for NYC!

Journey on! Wendy


  1. holy smokes! what excellent creative chaos! and i bet you know where each and every thing is when you need it! thank you for your hospitality Wendy!

  2. least I know more or less where
    to look..

  3. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to visit your studio and your home -warm, inviting, full of life, creativity and love. Thank you for sharing it on this space.
    Check out for fabulous images and stories of fashionable senior folks. It inspires me weekly.

  4. Hi Wendy I found your blog when looking for info on Casapueblo. i then wanted to know more about your trip but found your studio! Mine is so full of what people may think is junk but I know one day it will come in useful...I am so pleased other people live with the same organized chaos that I do