I think I’ve described my bicycle shed art space before, right? Here are the things I like about it—
1) It’s a dedicated room so I can leave projects-in-progress
2) It’s a place where I can paint and glue and get messy and not worry about ruining the floor
3) It’s big enough to hold me and all my stuff
Those are the good things about it. The downside:
1) It’s not in our apartment, but a separate bicycle shed in the back garden
2) It’s not insulated so it’s cold and damp-ish, even in the summer
3) Since we rent the apartment, we don’t really want to invest a lot of money developing a heating system
I came to the point—particularly this week, when the weather has dipped below freezing—that my bicycle shed/art studio is just not cutting it for me. I really need to a) not wear gloves while working, and b) have a place inside where I can work on projects and still be able to leave them when I need to do other things, like take care of Anna.
So, where inside a 2-bedroom apartment can I make an art studio?
The answer: I took over the kitchen. Well, kind of.
As soon as you come into the apartment, there’s a little nook where we had the kitchen table. There’s also a long-ish, narrow closet there, which was a ridiculous mass of coats, gloves, part of Anna’s stroller we hardly use, and (weirdly) a soccer ball. Plus toys and things Anna has outgrown. And the vacuum cleaner. All in one big glorious tangle.
So this weekend we cleaned out that closet, donating some stuff, throwing some stuff out and generally reorganizing things. We moved the kitchen table into the kitchen area and moved my art table into the front area. The closet now holds my rolling racks of stamps and paint and plastic tubs of supplies.
A lot of stuff is still out in the bicycle shed—and I’m still glad for the space, for things that need to dry or messy activities, but I feel so much better inside. Warmer, definitely! But it’s amazing how much more work I’m able to sneak into five minutes here and there after Anna’s in bed or during her naps—especially now that the printer is indoors…you wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to just hit “print” and go, rather than trundling outside with the laptop. And it’s so much more pleasant to work on things where it’s warm!
Did I feel a little strange taking so much room in our small apartment? Yes, kind of. But I’m also inspired by how so many people in this city make use of their small and often oddly-shaped apartments—after all, these spaces are meant for living, so it makes sense that we incorporate who we are and what we do into our space, rather than try to work it in where it’s out of sight.
It’s not done yet—as with most of the things in my life, it’s a work in progress! And I still have to remember to scoot over the baby gate when Anna’s up and around. But I love my new space…I’ll keep you updated as I continue to develop it!