The studio build has been consuming my spaghetti brain for well over a year now, and look! I built this! With the help of a few lovely friends, my backyard art studio is finally complete.
Originally I had planned to keep posting detailed progress updates throughout building my new studio, but, oh man, life. It has its own ideas about things.
If you are hoping to build a workspace on your property, I would be happy to give you more step-by-step thoughts and instruction--just shoot me an email email@example.com or comment here. Otherwise, continue reading for process pics and good times.
PERMIT was this monstrous, scary word I had avoided in all of my previous home projects. At our home in Florida, I would research residential code and skate just underneath the requirements for permitting (or, in the case of running electrical to my backyard shed studio, seek help from genius friends and plan to claim official idiocy if the need arose). My permit-avoidance strategy worked until my current big project: designing and building a backyard artist studio from the ground up.
When we bought our lovely little brick home in Arvada, the backyard was outfitted with a rusting metal shed flanked by gnarly tree bushes and lined with diagonally-embedded bricks. Now a spoiled backyard artist, I knew this metal tetanus heap was sitting on the hallowed ground of what would one day be my new den of creative wonders. I also quickly discovered that in order to create this palace of art, I would need to get permits.
Mountainous landscapes come into my works often--doubtlessly due to growing up on the Rocky Mountain foothills in Colorado--and two recent visits back to those familiar peaks greatly inspired my use of texture and composition in my latest work, Ancient Story. I find the stacking of elements in atmospheric perspective so interesting, and it is a beauty wholly missed here in flatland Florida (although there are, of course, other wonders of loveliness). Seeing a valley, then hills, then the clustered monoliths of city architecture, then a mountain range, all staggered up to the sky is such an expansive and finite experience.
November is just around the corner, and I have been madly creating jewelry and thingies and gifts for the 3rd annual handmade sale at Felicitous. A big seller from past years has been my mismatched trinket earrings--I make them from whatever random bits, charms, and dongles I have collected over throughout the year that didn't make it into another project. Pieces from thrifted board games are my favorites, and there are always a handful of Monopoly-piece and Clue-weapon earrings hanging off my laboratory bulletin board ready to be gifted.
Well, apparently everyone in my neighborhood decided Clue is boring, because the thrift store was chock full of the old mystery game. I grabbed a few for $2 each, thinking I would make some earrings out of the weapons like always. When I got home and opened one of the boxes, the game pieces were super detailed characters and the board was in perfect shape. Our Clue game growing up just had colored pawn pieces, and I was totally mesmerized by these miniature people. I couldn't toss them out, so instead I upcycled the game and made coasters out of the game board and wine glass charms from the characters.
This Clue Drink Set for Six makes a fun hostess gift for a murder mystery party, adds flair to board game night, and pairs perfectly with a viewing party for the movie "Clue," which is hilarious. Best of all, it is easy to make yourself and, with some creative adjustments, could be replicated with pretty much any board game.
As you know, we just bought our first house in June. The house had a wooden shed in the backyard which we've been turning into my art studio.
Two months later and the project of transforming the wooden shed into my epic artland is done. DONE. I even made my first project in there tonight (right after I took all these pictures--the studio's cleanliness has been replaced by nylon scraps and rope bits).
So here it is! Bask in the beauty of my wondrous studio. Come visit and sit on the settee from last post. We can make crafts together and laugh and stuff. It will be great.
I wanted a comfy place for people to sit if they were visiting my studio, but the space is so small that the piece of furniture needed to be an odd size and visually lightweight. Figuring out this little conundrum was not on my radar at all--the studio still needed a lot of work, so furnishing the new space seemed far off. BUT THEN I found these gross chairs.
We passed the one-month-in-our-new-home marker!
Everyone is feeling comfortable and finding new favorite spots in the new place. StarFox is fond of staring out the window and watching bikers pass our house on the Pinellas trail, Nemo prefers to cuddle up to anything that was recently laundered, and Dave has been reading/devouring an Orson Scott Card series my mom recommended.
We all know it: Craigslist is awesome. I'm sure there are people who use it to make a good amount of money or sell really expensive things, but I pretty much just use it to sell stuff for cheap, to drool over local puppies and kitties (and pet monkeys), and to get free stuff. I've been combing the free listings obsessively lately.
Since moving, my brain is constantly updating and revising my list of future house projects, and while I realize that things like adding a patio and a chicken house and a pantry and an office and another bedroom are best done slowly over time, I want them to all be done RIGHT NOW.
One of the larger future projects we want to do is a sizable paver patio and walkway (with fire pit) in the backyard. Ignorant me was like, "pavers are probably super cheap, duh." This turned out to be an enormous lie. Since we are in no rush to spend hours a day laying pavers out in the height of Florida's summer sun, my plan is to slowly collect free pavers from craigslist until we have enough to cover the entire area. Then I will fashion a glorious mosaic from the array of variously sized pavers, and we will install the whole patio in the Florida Winter.