Virginia Woolf wrote: “A woman must have a room of her own if she is to [make art]”. Her actual words were “write fiction” but I think it applies to all creative endeavours: having a dedicated space really makes a difference.
My “room of my own” right now is at the top of the house I share with my partner and our two children in Toronto, Canada. I love my little aerie workspace. It is a multipurpose room and it’s constantly evolving. I made the bunting which hangs on the wall from various fabrics I have designed. Not only is my desk for designing and drawing and painting, but it also serves as a sewing table. I also have all my fabric and yarn in this room (talk about distracting!),
There’s a ton of natural light, especially key for working in colour- I find daylight gives colours such pop and shine and GLOW. Yum. I love colour.
But I digress…
The first stop on my studio tour is this:
once his eyes are closed I skittle up the stairs and get to work as fast as I possibly can!
I mostly sketch and draw on paper first- and write copious notes on little cards (which i later put into sketchbooks). I use tracing paper and graph paper to start working out repeating patterns. I also make colour swatches and groupings in gouache or pencil crayon, also on little cards. I have all my favourite art supplies around me- india ink and drawing inks, pencil crayons, gouache etc. I really like the effect of cut paper- I will often cut rubylith or construction paper to work out forms for a design.
I like having LOTS of visual material for inspiration and reference. I have been collecting postcards since I was a kid- I have hundreds- from every museum or gallery I have ever been to- and they are in constant rotation. I take TONS of pictures- with the advent of the camera phone it’s kind of gotten out of control. But they are an invaluable source of subject matter, colour inspiration, even pattern form- so I’ve got a gazillion of those lying around and up on the wall too.
I usually have several sketchbooks on the go at once- one by my bed, one in my bag, one in the kitchen etc. I also have kept most of my sketchbooks from forever and I refer to them quite a bit for ideas. I have also been building a library of books on art and textiles and design for many years and they are a wonderful resource. I use books a lot- much of what I know about repeat pattern design I have learned from books.
Once I have something on paper, I convert it to a digital image and finish it up on the computer. I usually colour my final design in photoshop or illustrator. As I go along I print stuff like crazy- to look at from near and far and sketch and re-sketch. I also like to see samples in fabric!
I can usually dive into whatever I’m making and work pretty quickly- I’m a fast and focussed worker. This is handy given my time constraints these days! I love being up in my colorful space contemplating colour combinations and hatching new patterns. Time to get back to it… hope you enjoyed my little tour!