I posted a photo of a ring of keys to Instagram a few days ago, and I’ve been fielding emails and FB messages since, so I thought I’d just write up a post to talk about what’s going on. I’ve been negotiating with an artists’ cooperative for about a month now, regarding a small space in an older building which houses several other artists. It’s been a bit of a mess, in the way that negotiating with artists sort of always is: friendly, everyone incredibly solicitous and interested in each other’s work- as far as welcomes go, it’s hard to beat entering a makerspace. The big concern was using a stove in an old, primarily wood building, and that seemed pretty reasonable to me, so we spent most of January waiting for board meetings and conversations to happen. Meanwhile, I stopped in periodically, explained my various processes to folks who wanted to know, told them who I was and how long I’d been doing what I do, etc.
I got an email on the 1st letting me know that everything was approved, and now I’ve got a small new ring of keys in my bag, which is pretty exciting, and a new security code to remember. It’s a small space with a nice big window, and I’m very happy to have it. I’ve started accumulating lists- I do so love a good, well-ordered list- and drafting out which supplies I need now vs which I’ll want for down the road.
To get to the question that I’ve been hearing the most: yes, the studio is for dyeing, in part- but only in part, and not on a production level. As I told the co-op director, these days I am dyeing to teach and to please myself. I’ve been working in my kitchen, and it’s just not practical any longer- not to film, which I want to do sometimes, not for the amount of dyeing I want to be doing, and not for some of the sorts of dyeing I want to do in the future, either. Drying has been a problem in our small space, and storage, too- 850 sq ft doesn’t leave much room for all the making that I get up to. More importantly, though, I wanted a dedicated space for teaching, something outside of my home. (Students are lovely, but they are also occasionally allergic to pets. I also treasure my privacy, despite any illusion otherwise.)
I wanted space for my other interests, too- the things that have been filling in the dyeing gap, like watercolors and soap. Any time I make soap right now, I’m very nervous about lye and pets, and take some pretty big precautions (like you should). It’ll be really liberating to- well, not throw caution to the wind, exactly- but I won’t need to worry about pets in the workspace any longer. They make the environment fun, but I don’t want to worry about them getting hurt.
So I’ll be painting, dyeing, maybe doing a little weaving, making a lot of soap, serums, oils, lotions, too, and who knows what else. I’m working on a coconut-free version of that whipped body butter I posted to IG the other day right now, actually. I was thinking about that when I was making the original batch, and then my friend Larissa asked about it (she’s allergic to coconut) and of course then I needed to pull out my experimenting hat.
Regarding the yarn- because people have been asking about the yarn- I’m definitely looking forward to having the space to dye again, absolutely. I have this overdue silk project that I’d be far more capable of doing well in a larger, dedicated space (sorry, D!) and I have a ton of fiber I want to work through. (I lean more toward fiber these days, although I do still love working on yarn and cloth.) I will be selling off excess, because there’s always been excess and I really hate stuff. I’m not looking to get back into the business. I am looking to fund my continual creation of stuff, though. I’m not interested in selling at trade shows again. I’ll go, they’re amazing and I like seeing everybody, but the rest is just too exhausting for this body. I may be interested in working with one or two shops that I have worked with before eventually, because again-stuff can accumulate- but let’s see how that plays.
It’s exciting, this step. A little intimidating, which is funny- I mean, I’ve taken on far larger responsibilities, clearly. But by accepting those keys, I’m committing to going in to a studio and making things on the regular again, and that’s a big deal- not just as a hobby, but at least on a self-sustaining basis. It can’t all be yarn, either- so hey, I hope my creativity machine keeps working the way it has been lately.
It’s pizza night, so I’m off to get the house in order before we settle in and gorge. Hey: LetterMo is off to a great start, I’ve sent out four letters so far (overachieving, I need to slow my roll) with tiny paintings tucked into each. Want in on this? Feel free to leave your address here, or send it to me directly. Are you a participant? Let me know, I’ll send you my info!