At our last studio, we inherited the use of a lovely old printing press, but when we moved we had to leave it behind.
When we moved to our new studio we decided we’d like to get our own printing press. So we asked fellow printmakers for advice and we were directed towards Ironbridge Printmakers, based in Shropshire. They are a family-run business and have been building their own range of printing presses since 1980.
We chose their Little Thumper press as we don’t often print larger than A4 plus our studio isn’t that spacious. They would have delivered the press to us but we decided to visit Ironbridge to collect it.
We hadn’t been to Ironbridge before – it was so lush and beautiful…
At the printmakers we had booked an intro workshop to learn how best to set up the press for lino, intaglio and collagraph printing. Thank you Jenny, we learned so much!
The press dismantled into a several smaller pieces and easily fitted into the car for the journey home.
I’m always surprised by how much ‘stuff’ you (I) can accumulate. The more space you (I) have, the easier it is to fill it!
Moving studio happened slowly over a few weeks. The previous studio was on the third floor (with no lift) and this was a challenge. The new studio is on the ground floor with parking outside the front door 🙂
As the space is big enough, it has become a new location for the graphic design business I run with my husband, Equilibrium Creative.
The space really echoed until we started to fill it!
So, in mid January this year, our studio landlord issued all the studio holders with two month’s notice to leave! Didn’t see that coming.
I was just getting settled into my new studio space (of 3 months) when I was on the move again. There was the possibility of staying but it involved endless meetings with local ‘supporter groups’ and the local council (who owned the building), without any security that the building wouldn’t get boarded up on eviction day! It was all very stressful and not a conducive environment for running a business.
I started looking around for alternative spaces, of which there was surprisingly very few. But after making some enquiries, a couple of options did come up and I went along to look at them. The second space I saw seemed like a real possibility: the space was bigger; had heating (a major plus!); had it’s own kitchenette; and there were similar small businesses on site.
It was a difficult decision to make as it meant leaving the other artists behind and moving to a studio nearly 10 miles away. But the security the new space offered was the decider.
Open Studios is back at HOFS and we’re all very excited to be opening our doors to the public!
However, before we open the doors, on the 15th & 16th October, I’ll be moving into a new studio (so please excuse any unpacked boxes!)
In the run up to the event there will be a buzz of activity and I’m really looking forward to it. My new studio is more spacious than my current one and comes with its own printing press!! Yay! Come along and see for yourself.
There will be other events in the building and artists taking part will have an exhibition in the main hall. I’ll be displaying the photograms from my #the100dayproject that I completed earlier this year. Here’s a taster:
I’ve also been working on a new series of mixed media collages using gelli printing. Join me in the studio to see how I create my gelli prints and the progress I’ve made so far.
I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting an art studio for a while. But there were always some niggling questions that would keep appearing in my head: ‘Would I use it?’; ‘Do I even need one?’; ‘Would I find something suitable and local?’… and so on.
As I already work from home I’m used to being there and had created a small space (in the corner of a room) where I could set up my art materials and work from without too much distraction. The pros being: it was local, tick; free, tick; and VERY convenient, tick. The cons being: I was still at home; the space needed to stay clean; it wasn’t very big; and distractions did occur.
So, I started to look around the local area, just to see what was out there. But I didn’t have much luck…some spaces were too big; some were too far away; and some were way too expensive for what I wanted. A bit of a Goldilocks story really. And then I heard about availability at some local art studios that were smallish, affordable and only a 15 minute drive away.
Hadleigh Old Firestation – HOFs
Hadleigh Old Firestation (HOFs) provides studio space for local artists. When I went for a viewing there were two studios available, so it was good to have a choice and a comparison. Both would have been suitable but this one felt right 🙂 With dual-aspect windows it has a view out onto the street and to the local supermarket (always handy). It has plenty of space for me to work and plenty of storage. The art studios, run by the arts organisation ACAVA, have a number of artists working there, so it’s good to have like-minded people around.
Once the paperwork had been signed and monies paid, I picked up the keys in September. I was excited to move in and to start making the studio feel like a creative space. I already had furniture at home that I wanted to take (tables, stools, shelves plus books, art materials etc…) I just wanted some essentials like a mini fridge, a plan chest and a wheelie trolley for my art materials.
Have I made the right decision?
Well it’s early days yet but so far, I would say a resounding YES! This is how I’ve responded to my initial concerns:
Would I use it? I wasn’t sure if I would want to leave the comfort of home to go to a studio, but now I know it’s there I just want to be in it. I’m not there as often as I would like to be, so some changes need to be made.
Do I need it? Now I have a dedicated art space, I want to make it pay for itself, which is inspiring me to start work on a new business idea…
Would I find something suitable? If you know what you are looking for, it’s so much easier to recognise it when it comes along. I had decided that for my first studio I wanted somewhere low risk and easy to travel to. Moving to HOFs also has the benefit of being part of a ready-made artist community. Win-win 🙂