Cynthia St. Charles Store

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cynthia's Studio

Saturday, I opened my studio for tours as part of a fundraising drive for Big Sky Quilt Retreat. For this reason, I tidied up quite a bit, deep cleaned and hung some finished work on my design wall. I thought I would share some pictures of my workspace and tell you a bit about my arrangement.

My workspace is not a showplace. Although it is roomy, it has been outfitted with a mishmash of salvaged fixtures that have been cobbled together. While it is not very beautiful - it is extremely functional.
My worktables are Formica laminate - rescued from the dumpster behind TJ Maxx - which was remodeling. The drawers beneath the tables are old Hallmark drawers that Joe found on the curb in front of a store that went out of business. He constructed racks for my thread spools and bead strands out of dowels inset into drilled plywood. These are terrific and I have three large ones - all full, of course.

One 5' x 8' surface is set up to the correct height for me to work comfortably while standing. The other end is lower (just a little smaller), set up for my sewing machine with a big table for machine quilting.

I am currently in the process of switching from a desktop - to a laptop and I have a computer station at each end of the room.

My Janome 6500 has been recessed so that the bed of the machine is flush with the table top and this allows for smooth movement during quilting.

My design wall is large. I have one 8' square wall and another that is 4' square right next to it. This allows me to work on a number of different pieces at once. There is a track lighting system installed on the ceiling above the design wall and the bulbs are super bright - especially for photography. This is where I shoot most of my entry photos.

I picked up these two vintage silk dupioni upholstered chairs at an antique shop that was going out of business. This corner is set up for me to do my journaling, reading, and hand stitching. I love these chairs.

The window along the west wall allows a good view of the trees and sunsets. This sofa is a hide-a-bed, as cast off from another room and there was no place else for it to go. The lighting in the room consists of daylight fluorescent - three fixtures with four tubes in each. The room is very bright. I never have a problem seeing what I am doing.

My ironing surface is 3/4" particle board covered with foil, two layers of cotton batting, and covered with a cotton canvas grid. Joe attached it to the wall with hinges and the two front legs fold up, so if I ever wanted to - I could fold it flat against the wall. Instead, I have used the space beneath it as storage for my flat boxes of fabrics, etc.

I also have a mangle - awesome for ironing dyed fabrics, (not shown) which sits just to the right of my flat ironing table.

I keep a narrow 12' slat hanging above my ironing surface, and this is where I hang finished work - often while it is waiting to be sent off to a show.

In the picture above, at the far left is the doorway into my 9' x 11' wet studio. The picture below starts the tour of my wet studio.

The wet studio is also equipped with salvaged fixtures. Everything from the sink to the shelving to the pegboard on the wall came from somewhere else and was free. I am pleased to have a dedicated washing machine, sink, and microwave in this little workspace. Oh, and a thermofax machine, too! Yay!

I really like this little 4 x 2' folding table. I keep three sheets of 3/8" OSB (fiberboard) stashed behind it and pull them up when I need a portable work surface. The OSB is cut to 3 x 4' sizes and one has heavy plastic stretched over it - I use this when I want to paint fabric or paper. Another is covered with two layers of batting - and this one I use for stamping on fabric. With these multiple portable surfaces - I can easily switch from one task to another, setting one aside to dry while I work on the other one - a system I have used for about 8 years - very efficient.

I don't remember where Joe got these narrow shelves, but they appeared one day and he insisted I needed them. I reluctantly agreed and now I cannot imagine how I stored my dye before I had these!

My studio is also equipped with a woodburning stove and has a door leading directly outdoors. Unfortunately, it is the first door a person sees when approaching our house from the cul de sac so it is used much more often than I would like.


Gerrie said...

Even though I have some of the amenities of your studio, I am drooling over the beauty and organization of yours. Thanks you for this look into your creative environment.

norma said...

Wow! It looks fabulous! When I moved into my house I thought that the bonus room over the two car garage was the studio of my dreams. I'm still so happy to have it, but now I wish it was twice as big!
Thanks for sharing.

KarenF said...

I'm sooo totally jealous!! You are so organized...what a great workspace! I'm blessed with a large space and it's adjacent to the laundry room, but I don't have a sink, and for now it's the 'wash your clothes only' laundry room. My dream is to one day move the family laundry to an upstairs room and take this one over for my dyeing. Of course, somewhere in that dream I get the rest of my stuff organized too... :-)

Cynthia said...

Your workspace has every component I would ask for. It's wonderful! Thanks for showing us around.

Janine Matthews said...

I'm jealous to, I have a shed that I work in but nothing that organized or that big, thanks for the tour, love the arm chairs.
cheers Janine in Australia

PaMdora said...

Isn't it great to have a husband (I assume Joe is yours) who is on the lookout for us! love the narrow shelf idea and everything else looks terrifically organized and efficient.

Vicki said...

I think you might have my dream studio!

Rayna said...

HA HA - this is not a showplace? Compared to MINE, it is. Lucky you!

Cay Denise said...

Great and sizable space!

Judy Sall said...

Wow! What a great workspace! I have some of those features, but about 10% of the space... but it's still better than nothin'! And I do have a rinse sink next to the washer, which is a wonderful thing!
Thanks for the tour...


j.dávila said...

Ooooo, I would love a wet studio or a sink in my dry studio. Right now I have to walk through the living room and the dining room to get to the kitchen which has the nearest sink. You have a beautiful space!


EileenKNY said...

Your studio is beyond words!! It must be like heaven working in there.

Grace said...

Cynthia, splendid! Love your studio....I too would love to have direct access to my wet studio from my dry studio but alas no, they are on different floors.

I just got hubby to plumb our old washing machine next to the sink in the garage and then I run upstairs to finish things in regular studio. So I have count my blessings and be satisfied that I'm getting lots of exercise going up and down those darned stars. Whew!

Laura Krasinski said...

Wow Cynthia.. this is great.. My husband is working on my room as we speak.. I am actually going to have shelves in what was a fruit seller. Everything will be right where I need it after my sewing cabinet comes.. I'm sooo excited.. you must be sooo happy..

Nellie's Needles said...

I'm drooling! Thanks for the tour of your marvelous studio. I'm going to implement your the idea of covered OSB fiberboards. I could find a place to stash them in the limited space of each of my studios.

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

You say your studio is not beautiful, but I disagree. How could it not be with those fantastic quilts on the wall? I admire your thriftiness in using found castoff shelves and furniture. But those silk chairs....mmmmm, would love to sink down in one of those! Thanks for sharing.

Mandi said...

Please could you tell me the size of your room...would love to have something like that as I have nearly the same amount of stuff in a tiny space...would like hubby to build me something like yours..