When I reported on our visit to the Meadow Mill studios in May, I said that I would love to have a studio there but that there were several reasons why it wouldn’t be feasible. It’s two months on and, amazingly, those reasons have almost all been overturned. And so from Monday I will be a tenant of studio 412!
A significant issue — the budget — is still a significant issue, but we’ve worked out a plan and will just have to monitor carefully. Most of the studios in the building are too small for my looms, never mind all the other stuff as well, so in order to be there I am having to rent a double-sized space which is distinctly on the large side! I’m extremely nervous about taking on such a big commitment but there is a very important driver: I need to get out of the house. It’s not that I don’t have a fabulous room to work in at home: as you know, I have a lovely space (and really don’t mind squeezing myself round the end of the Delta to get to the warping board). However, throughout the PhD process I have been mainly based at home, and since teaching finished in April I have been home alone with my looms and the interminable thesis almost every working day, and am steadily turning into a Very Peculiar Person. (I hasten to add that the Ps are lovely company but do tend to exacerbate the crazy-lady tendency, not mitigate it!)
I don’t miss the old pre-PhD day job but I find I do need to say good morning to someone, pass someone in the corridor when I go to make a cup of tea or chat for a few minutes on the stairs. In some respects this might seem a bit odd. On the introvert-extravert scale, I am at the very extreme end of introvert, so I am entirely happy in my own space and working on my own thing. But the catch is that once I am in that space I do find it quite hard to get out again, and that’s where a shared working environment is such a help: it forces me out of my shell. With my own studio in a building full of studios, I’m hoping WASPS will help to keep me normal. Well, as normal as possible.
There’s an interesting complication with 412 which makes it difficult to photograph. WASPS originally planned to let it as a group space and so have furnished it with large shelving units which divide up the room. Shelves are great, I’m sure you’ll agree, but these are designed to be in the middle of the room, which is not ideal — although it is workable, so I have a Plan B. The intention is to have a go at moving them into storage on Monday, thus enabling Plan A, and we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out. In the meantime, here’s Stuart surveying the premises with the eye of a man who knows his free evenings are doomed for the foreseeable future.
Why, yes, that’s one of the shelving units on the left. The outside of the building can be seen here. And don’t worry about not seeing the studio properly just yet. You’ll be sick of it by the time I’ve got it all sorted.
Thank you so much to everyone who commented on the mount board question. There’s very strong support for the dark brown, and I’m inclined towards it too. I decided I had better mount all the other samplers first, though, so that I can try them out on the different boards. Incidentally, I reckon it is not just the camera which flattens out the gold. It looks much better when it is not behind glass. More on this to follow!