Studio Blues: Lisa Liddy

10 09 2008

I would love to have the perfect studio…currently I share space with my other business (book design) and my 15-year-old daughter’s study area (hmmm…it is not heavily used so I may appropriate it back). In any event, it’s crowded. I forgot to mention two other “coworkers”: the Greyhound sprawled under my desk most mornings and the Maltese who gets into the most unlikely nooks and crannies.

Let’s back up. My office/studio is what would have been the third garage stall when we built our house 18 years ago. It’s long and has one big window at the front. Both sides are lined with either bookcases or computer equipment. And it’s a mess. Seriously. I work best with all my book design projects spread out (otherwise I forget about one or the other since I juggle a dozen or so any given week). Similarly, I work best on jewelry when I have many projects underway and supplies spread out.

A couple of years ago I did carve out space for my photo area and I have to say it is pretty cool. I can practically stage and shoot pics of jewelry and then edit them on the computer without leaving my chair. OK, so I have to leave my chair but it beats the heck out of running back and forth from the dining room to the office in less than ideal light.  So that’s a good thing. (In the interests of full disclosure…it looks nothing like picture that I grabbed from the archives…I missed it the first time I looked! Too uncluttered!)

And a  year or so ago, I inherited a very cool printer’s type file cabinet…8 drawers, each 6″ tall. (see below) Perfect for storing beading supplies! There’s the silver drawer, the lampwork drawer, the pearls drawer, mailing/packaging drawer…you get the picture. And one other worktop/drawer combo that has fallen prey to clutter and “stackage”.

So if you are keeping up visually, you are probably wondering how the heck I can do any jewelry work in a space like I described. The reality is I don’t anymore. I have a lovely bead rack to be able to view my favorite collectables and I have an area that I can fondle and gaze at newly acquired beads and supplies, but I actually leave this area now and move to the kitchen table to create. The light is better, the TV is out there, my daughter is usually out there, and I have room to spread out. Picture a  windowseat and a round table for 4, both half-covered with supplies. Three or four beading trays with various projects, findings, beads, tools, inspiration.

Where do we eat if I have taken over the kitchen table? At this stage of life, my husband is gone 5 or 6 days a week traveling on business, so meals are non-traditional at best. There’s room for my daughter and I to sit at the table and I can stack a bit to fit a third person. It used to bother my husband after a few weeks, but the reality is more jewelry gets made there than family meals so he’s gotten past it. We use the dining room if we have more people and on the occasions where we are entertaining, I stack everything carefully and use one of the cabinet drawers to do a mass “hide”. I have to see what I’m working with, or even what I’m not working with, because I might want to work with it. It works for now and lets me stay more central to my family.

Back to the perfect studio…if I could design that it would include:

1. Lots of natural light
2. Lots of space to spread out
3. Lots of storage opportunities
4. Lots of display area
5. Room for playmates
6. Someone to pick up after me and
    know exactly where I put the perfect bead or finding
7. Lots of time! (A girl can dream!)

Lisa Liddy


Studio – Lori Anderson

20 07 2008

Some of my friends have the most beautiful studios imaginable — one even has one so amazing that a magazine wants to cover it as a feature article.  

Me, my studio is my kitchen table. 

I have a five-year old son and a wonderfully supportive husband, and we spend our time in the family room.  The family room/eating area/kitchen all are one big room, so it was second nature to set up shop right in the middle of it.  That way, I could design and make while still being with my family.

Want to take a tour?

Here’s a bit of the table, in its normal state of chaos:

 Messy Studio

My fuel: 


My beads are stored right behind my chair, in a Collectors Cabinet — very handy! 


I also have an office — it used to the formal living room, which we never used as such.  I do all my computer/web work here, as well as take photos, manage shipping, and all that behind-the-scenes stuff that takes up TOO MUCH TIME.

So we have the computer desk — notice the photos on the screen, waiting to be uploaded to the web site, a stack of postcards to be mailed to customers, the huge pile of receipts waiting to be entered into QuickBooks…..


Then we have the photo “studio” — the big bowls hold bags of jewelry waiting to be snapped….


And then a bookshelf full of bead catalogs, a calender to record events, a postage scale, and a trash can that never seems to be empty ….


And there you have my studio!  We’re working on making my glass and metal studio, which is separate from the house, a bit more hospitable – an air conditioning unit is a MUST this time of year!  But I really like my studio being in my house.  I don’t miss out on family time, and I can work on something without having to drive to another studio.  It’s a mess, but it’s home.