Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Work with what you've got

We moved into a house last September a lot smaller than the one we'd lived in for 17 years. Our front room here houses our fridge freezer (since the kitchen is also a lot smaller and allows only room for a small under counter fridge - not much good with 5 of us here) and doubles as my workspace. There is no room anywhere for a table. It took time and effort to fuse that room together so it felt less 'confused'.

I don't look back with regret - that was then, this is now... you have to stay focused on what you have now, don't you, but I may have what could be termed 'workspace envy'. I sigh inwardly, inaudibly, sometimes when I see pictures of proper work spaces... you know - a table large enough to spread your work out on, SHELVES for all your boxes of paints, materials, buttons, beads, threads and jars of scissors and pencils - decent overhead lighting.

Anyhow, no point bemoaning what you haven't got, it can terribly affect your ability to be creative and my directive has always been 'work with what you've got'.

A friend recently gave me a lovely wooden computer desk which I managed to make a bit of space for and now has my old Singer sewing machine sat on top - how lovely to be able to just take the lid off and begin sewing straight away, rather than the rigmarole of having to lift the machine out from its hidey-hole, balance it on top of an old blackboard that I had to lay flat on top of the ottoman that holds all our towels (also in the front room, since the airing cupboard I had to have built into the boiler cupboard and is only large enough to hold bedding), then kneel down on the floor to sew! Not very kind on my knees! Yesterday I was able to STAND at the sewing machine to do my bits and pieces ~ what bliss!

Last night I was up late sewing for this craft fair in under 2 weeks - I moved all my sewing paraphenalia into the kitchen for that since the strip light casts less shadows and I can actually differentiate between cerise and crimson in there! How lovely to spread all my boxes of beads, buttons and sequins across the worktop knowing, at that time of night, there was no-one needing to disturb me to get food!

Only problem with being sat up half the night (as so often happens!) is that the following day I feel really tired! Anyway.... this is is a picture of the scene in my kitchen late last night... point being, I suppose, where there's a will, there's a way! :-)


  1. Bless your heart. I know exactly how you're feeling, I've been struggling with studio envy for years but am now in a house big enough to give me a whole room. Treat yourself to a daylight bulb for a table lamp. Have you room to fit a fold down table, maybe even concertina top with piano hinges so its still flat but compact? Coffee tables with storage drawers are useful too for the boxes of paint, buttons, etc. I also have a kitchen trolley with 3 shelves to wheel round with current work on. On top of the handles I've secured safety glass as an easy clean palette. Hope I'm not teaching granny to suck eggs, much love fellow night artist :-)

    1. I realise I may have gone a slight shade of green for a moment at the mention of a whole room for your work, but I can also appreciate how lovely that must be for you! Funnily enough I was given (as a Christmas present!) a box of daylight bulbs, one of which is in the front room for when I'm crafting late afternoon and the shadows are already creating havoc with my eyes ~ however I'm not sure it's a proper daylight bulb as it casts shadows and doesn't seem as bright as I need it! The strip light in the kitchen is great for evening work ~ but yes, I must check that out!

      The computer table holds some of the boxes of bits I need to get at most often, the rest mostly lives in 3 large storage boxes I keep on top of the fridge/freezer, although I really need somewhere to keep all the bits of fabric I'm now accumulating, rather than the carrier bag on the front room floor! I also have a filing cabinet in there filled with bits for my photography and other things needed for craft work - my front room really doesn't know whether it's an extension of the kitchen, a workspace, or the playroom, since there are boxes on the floor filled with all my daughter's toys (the house we used to live in had a playroom, 2 kitchens, a front room and LOTS of cupboard space - here we don't even have a loft space to use for storage!). I guess as my daughter grows we may be able to go through the toys and find new homes for those to make space, but currently she's very keen to keep all of them! (When we moved in here I literally had to go through all our stuff and get rid of around 3/4 of it, just to give you an idea!). But for now this is just how it is!

      I sit mostly on top of the Ottoman by the window to craft in the daytime, using my 3 stacked boxes as a raised 'table' space to put the open boxes of beads and buttons etc... it sort of works for the time being! I really should count my blessings.... before moving in here we lived for 8mths in temporary accommodation and my ONLY workspace was the end of my bed!!

      Lovely to hear from you Jeananne, thank you for getting in touch ~ enjoy your workspace! :-)

  2. Wow! I think you're amazing. Kudos to you for continuing to work so hard making such great stuff in such a change of space. Keep it up Maya.x

    1. Thank you! Have a lovely day Jeananne :-) xxx