As a working artist who participates in fairs, markets, and galleries, I interact with many of my customers directly. As a result, I am often asked questions regarding my process and my studio. Customers express curiosity about the type of equipment/tools I use to create miniature mosaics and jewelry.
My studio is by no means large or fancy but it is functional and comfortable. If I had unlimited funds, I would create an impressive studio in my backyard complete with skylights, a small kitchen, bathroom, and a deck. Since I don’t have unlimited funds, I try to make the best with what I have. Allow me to take you on a tour of my humble art studio which is connected to my equally humble home in the John’s Landing neighborhood of Portland.
Upon entering the studio you will notice that the space does double duty in that the laundry facilities also reside there. Since the studio sits on a slope, the first section of the studio is higher than my actual work area. As you can see from the photo, the higher section not only houses the washer and dryer, but it is also a space for storing jewelry supplies and displays.
In the work area I have created “stations” as it is important for me to be organized. When my studio is in chaos, so is my brain. It is always important for me to sort out my studio before I start work. Though it may look cluttered because I have a lot of equipment and tools, it is actually organized. Each station must be ready to use at a moment’s notice.
My work area is small but each station has been carefully planned out so that I can work efficiently. I have 4 separate stations that I can zip in between in a nanosecond.
Since I predominantly create mosaic jewelry, this is the station where I spend most of my time. The station includes a large table, computer/monitor so I can watch Netflix while I work, various tools, a supply chest, and, oh, what’s that green thing at the end? Why that’s Pickle’s bed of course! Pickle is my neighbor’s senior cat. That is a whole other story worthy of its own blog. Pickle is my constant companion when I’m working in the studio and he even sleeps in the studio at night. I have two cats of my own but they don’t frequent the studio and they aren’t too fond of Pickle.
The mosaic station gets the messiest as I’m often cutting tile and glass as well as grouting and/or working with epoxies. The mosaic station is perched in front of the largest window in the studio. When I’m not watching Netflix, I enjoy the view and scent of jasmine which sits right outside the window.
Metal working Station
I have a proper workbench where my flex shaft and other various metal working tools live. I love my workbench! I love working with metal! I am currently combining metal work with mosaic jewelry. It’s been a process but soon I will be launching new styles of hand fabricated mosaic jewelry. Currently, I use cast bezels that are good quality and have served me well, however, fabricating pieces from start to finish has been great fun and I’m liking the results.
Enameling Station & Soldering Station
Alas, my enameling station hasn’t been used as much as I would like as I’ve been so busy with fabrication and mosaic work. My goal is to combine enameling with mosaic as well. I’m excited about the color explosion that will result from combining the two art forms. Oh the possibilities! My kiln is feeling lonely, but not for long.
It probably goes without saying that my soldering station ties to my metal working station. If I had a larger workbench I might combine my metal working station with my soldering station but it made more sense to do my soldering in the same area as enameling. On nice days I take my soldering station outside to work since it’s portable. I use various butane torches for now. I hope to use acetylene in the near future but that will of course require more funds (metal working is very expensive it turns out!) and space. I am currently working on filigree pieces which are testing my soldering skills.
The remainder of the studio consists of many tools and various supplies. Though cramped, I know where every single item is stored. Again, chaos is not my friend.
Thank you for touring my studio with me. As you can see, it’s possible to fit a lot into a small space if you’re motivated. Now, back to cutting tile and petting Pickle.