Being the starving artist type, I live in a matchbook-sized studio apartment. For the last few months, I have been creating my leathergoods on the floor on a sewing board which slid under the couch when I wasn’t using it. My recent success on Kickstarter made rethink this whole situation. With new tools and much more leather, I could no longer fit my operation under the couch. Not only that but working on the floor was so very uninspiring!Whether I am writing an essay or hand-stitching a wallet, I am the sort of person who likes to be in an inspirational space while doing something creative. So I made up my mind to create that space despite the lack of space and funds. I spent weeks lusting after art studios and offices I saw online. I longed for the hyper-organization I saw on Pinterest. I wanted to make my apartment into one like you would see in a magazine about tiny living spaces. If other people could manage to live in a small studio and still make it look nice and put-together, so could I! So with a small budget, I set out to create a tiny but cute creative space and apartment.
I am a big fan a dumpster-diving and alley scavenging. I live near a university and you’d be surprised what these kids toss. On these lovely summer nights, I go on long walks with my lover through the alleys. In the last few weeks we have found so many great things including two cherry red ice cream parlor stools, two folding tables, an office chair, a microwave, 14 new lightbulds, a dish drying rack, a floor lamp, a cat tree, a samurai sword, a miniature overstuffed chair for kids, and painting canvasses. Some of this went to a sotrage unit to await the day that I have a high counter to turn into a classic ice cream parlor. Some of it became my new art studio.
Between alley finds, thrift store treasures and some supplies from The Home ReSource, I created a functional, inspirational, inexpensive art studio. A little paint from the Home Resource which cost $1.50, I transformed a heinous brown shelf into a cute light green and blue bookshelf. It matches my blue pegboard which organized my knives and tools.
The shelves above my pegboard display random inspiration things like a set of deer hips I found in the woods, a beeswax candle shaped like the Buddha, a neat stick, a bicycle horn I found in San Diego, and three mason jars filled with condoms. A couple of plastic drawers, also from the alleys, organize papers and finished products. Large bins which slide under the bed hold my leather scraps and other art supplies.
Two scavenged folding tables became my work space. One is covered with a sewing board while the other folds against the wall when I don’t need it. Between the two I have room to cut and sew leather as well as a place for a computer and boxes of hardware.
I knew that I needed this space for myself. I had no idea how much it would help. After creating this studio, I sat down to do some work. With new tools and plenty of workspace, I quadrupled my speed. I was able to cut out six wallets in an afternoon! Not only has speed of production increased, I feel much better about my craft, about where my business is heading, and my talent as a leathersmith.