There’s a White Stripes song, 50 seconds of genius, called Little Room; it’s on their album White Blood Cells, released in 2001. I’ve always liked this song, it resonated, and it’s been jumping in and out of my head for years. It seems to have totally influenced me at last. It’s about having great ideas in your little room and thinking you need a bigger room; it’s on YouTube.
I’ve recently relocated myself into what can accurately be called the box room. It would be a big box but it’s a very small room, being 2.5 x 3.5 metres. I have been happily working in the conservatory end of the kitchen for three plus years. This was a bigger space but I gradually stopped wanting to be there.
The ethos behind the song hasn’t always been accurate for me though. I was lucky enough to have a medium sized studio in the Custard Factory annexe in Birmingham for 2 years, and then an even bigger space was offered, so I was in that studio for another two years. And my work developed and changed through having these spaces just for work, with no home distractions.
I loved the big studio, even though ceiling tiles would occasionally fall to the floor. I was never hit, which is good, as they were quite chunky. Eventually I got lonely, so moved back home. I made a lot of large work there, because I could, and I was inspired . I also started lots of projects, put them under the very large table, and eventually, when I returned home to work, these projects kept me going for about two years. You can see a door to a safe in the image below; this was a very large safe, part of the offices of the company that owned the building previously, and was about the size of my box room.
Here are a couple of views of the big studio.
And here’s the old conservatory studio at home. I’ve decluttered a lot of materials since this was taken, and I’m happy to keep things more streamlined.
Now I’m in a little room, back with the White Stripes vibe, and love it. I find it totally wonderful to work in. I don’t make such large work any longer; that came to a natural end, which is a relief because the house is full of it.
So here’s a tour of the little room. It won’t take long, obviously.
I love to look at artists’ work spaces and studios, it’s fascinating to see how people work. You wouldn’t find my room in Interiors magazine, or Wallpaper*, but it’s a place to get the creative work done happily, and that’s all we need. I still have the plan chest downstairs, so I’ve included a tour of its drawers too. I couldn’t manage without this at the moment. It has to stay downstairs as it’s the size and possibly the weight of a small bungalow. We had to take the door and part of the door frame off to get it into the house; I can’t see it leaving in a hurry.
This hanging, Sea Lily, is over the radiator.
All very tidy at the moment.
This is what’s in the little drawers.
This large basket holds all my bondawebbed fabric. It’s surprising how much you can pack in.
Then all this stuff goes on top.
My computer and printer are in the room too, very handy to catch up on missed radio programmes and so on. Not the Archers, I’ve given that one up.
Here are the plan chest drawers. There is a mix of work I want to keep, needlepoints waiting to be blocked, and some fabrics, as well as paper and threads. It’s a fluid environment. Yes, that’s a Clanger.
Of course this doesn’t include my rather too large collection of finished work, which is in three top of the wardrobe cupboards, a chest, and there’s a couple of folders of design sheets and finished smaller work too, at the back of the wardrobe. One day soon I’ll get a studio sale on the go, well, that’s what I keep promising myself.
Next time, a new piece of work, conceived in the little room!