Monday, March 10, 2014

Artist-in-Residence Review

My month at the downtown Artist-in-Residence space was interesting.  When I decided I would be in the space, I really thought I would be working on prints or something besides fabric.  I knew I didn't want to take a sewing machine and other sewing accoutrements to the space.  And I certainly wasn't going to haul all my fabric down there just for a month.

I guess if I was going to be there for a longer amount of time, I would have reconsidered what I brought.  But I think bringing just a small amount and using the fused appliqué technique to compose the pieces worked just fine.

Here was my work space.

I was fairly productive and ended up making around 12 small pieces.  I brought them home to complete the machine stitching and finishing.

One of the reasons I decided to participate in the AiR space was to see what it was like to have a "studio" in a different place, away from home.  It definitely felt more like going to work.  I had to schedule the times I went so I would be committed to going.  I tried to be there three times a week for a few hours each time.  That's less time than what I do at home, but I was still also spending time working in my home studio.

Being in that space made me be more focused, as I only had the stuff I had brought with me to work with.  I couldn't just take a break and wander to another room, or get distracted by something else that needed to be done.  In one sense, that is good.

In the other,  I know I can really focus in my home studio when I need to.  I think it is good to take a break once in a while, get a snack or sit outside in the sun for a few minutes.  At home, I can also work on stuff after dinner or early in the morning.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both spaces.  At home, even though it is my "work", it seems less so in that name than having to go off to "work".  Here it is just what I do.  It gets less respect that way, with family being around and interrupting you and it's not perceived as much as "work" because you are just doing it at home.  But it works for me, right now.

The other reason I decided to try a separate space was because there are other artists in the space and I wondered what the interaction would be like.  It turned out that we each came at different times and I only overlapped with Lynn Fraley, a sculptor, a couple of times.  One time we each had on our headphones and just worked.

I realized that I cannot work and talk at the same time unless I am just doing some mindless hand sewing like putting on a sleeve or facing.  The other time we did chat, which was nice.  But it wasn't about what we working on in the space or getting feedback.

I'm glad to have this experience.  I learned some things and made a bunch of little pieces (which I don't usually do).  Someday, I plan to do an artist-in-residence where I go to another city/state/country preferably with some nature around by which to be inspired.  That would be a completely different experience.

Do you have a studio at home or away?  What are your thoughts on either?


Leigh Wheeler said...

Mine is both-ish. I have a fab studio over the garage. The garage is detached, so I walk across the back patio, down the walkway another 15 feet and go up my studio stairs. Once there I'm literally above everything, no one 'passes through'. I work f/t so studio time is evenings and weekends and if I want to actually get something done, I need to schedule myself, with goals and really look at time available. If I don't focus, I will watch tv, surf the net, whatever for 'just a minute' that somehow eats my evening.

While I can go out there whenever I want, the reality is that I need to turn on the heat for a few minutes first. If I forget, and only want to work for 20 minutes, well, it takes that long to heat up.


Lisa Flowers Ross said...

Leigh, I think you have the best of both worlds! Thanks for commenting.