Yes, Virginia. It does make a difference to have a room of one’s own.

illustration by Carson Ellis from her book HOME

About 30 years ago I got my first studio, an addition to our small house. My father designed it. He came out and built it along with my husband, family and friends.  It changed my life to get a studio – to take my aspirations to be an artist seriously, to have a place to work.

Over the years the studio filled up with projects in process and completed, with supplies to make new things, with paper, with cardboard, with fabric, with pictures that I pinned up for reference or inspiration, with pets. It was too full, but I never wanted to stop creating long enough to make it clean and organized.

This spring nature intervened. A tree fell through the roof of the studio.

Luckily it missed me by about 6 inches. Luckily we have good insurance. Luckily it missed most of my art and equipment.
Movers packed up and removed 164 boxes of art, objects, supplies and books from my studio and the adjacent bookshelves. After a bit, Greater Seattle Construction got to work and rebuilt.

Four months later the studio was repaired, repainted and empty. GSC did a great job.

The movers brought back all of the boxes.

I went through every item and ruthlessly discarded things. I unpacked and sorted, shelved and organized.
Now my studio is airy and clean. At least for the moment.

A clean space is no guarantee of fresh ideas or creative flow. But it does allow for the possibility.

It feels good to be back in this room of my own, heading into the future.



52 responses to “Studio

  1. IT is so beautiful, Julie. Best of luck with the new space!

  2. A really great story with a good ending.

  3. What a wonderful story of forced change, Julie. As artists, we don’t always have the time nor the interest in clearing out our work space. There’s too much forward momentum to make things. Your new studio is warm and inviting and I hope your creative flow continues for years to come!

  4. MAZEL TOV! WHEW! m2

    Sent from my iPad


  5. A clean space full of art supplies. It makes me just want to jump in and make something. Looks great, Julie! You weathered a big storm!

  6. Trauma Trauma Trauma….and what a beautiful result!

  7. Gorgeous! I want to live in your studio

  8. Not that I would ever wish it, but a tree would definitely help my husband’s studio. He is an artist and a Navajo-style Weaver – – I can’t walk anywhere! The office computer is ther also in there. It is a large room, but really! And the tree that is likely to fall will be on my office and studio. I am a storyteller and relish all of your comments and posts. Julie I send all of your notes to my husband, the fellow Artist, And Bonnie – – The Little Grey Bright eyed Mouse and the Bear have always been my go to stories for my younger students. I thank you both.

    • I wish it hadn’t taken a tree falling for me – but I doubt I would ever have done the total overhaul without it. I hope no trees fall on either you or your husband.

  9. Indeed. The tiny kitchen remodel to a large workable space was enough! Your space is grand!

  10. I’m glad that a sad situation has turned into a rebirth on many levels. I don’t really know you, but you seem to be someone who makes lemonade out of lemons! Your new, clean, airy studio looks like it will become a very cherished space! Best wishes.

  11. What a gorgeous space!!! I’m so excited for you!

  12. I’ve been reading Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles. He forgot to put in the chapter about the fear of a tree falling on you!! But congratulations, Julie – the revived (brought back to life!) studio looks wonderful.

  13. So grateful you wernt hurt! Last year my daughter and son in law,completed a major day remodel and add one to a 1940s house. With twin boys a year old. A year later the bedrooms and bath were flooded with sewage from city. City paid but they had to do the work themselves all over again.argh!

  14. wonderful! i love those before and after remodelling shows and this is even better. your new space is so fresh and still beautiful. happy creating!

  15. Welcome back to your second home!

  16. Julie, the rebuild is lovely! It’s wonderful to know that it worked out as well as it did. All the best for bountiful inspiration and creativity in your new lair.

  17. Wow! What a beautiful space — so glad you weren’t injured and that your art supplies were spared. I can’t wait to see the many new projects that will be created there.

  18. Pingback: Blogs I like to read: Books around the table | continuum | University of Minnesota Libraries

  19. So happy you came out safe, sound, and renewed! What a beautiful space in which to create! Sending all love 🙂

  20. Janet Lynn Hasselblad

    Congratulations on your new, fresh, lovely space.

  21. Oh, Julie! Your new space is gorgeous! Truly, truly.


    Julie, so glad there was a happy ending! After years of chaos, i asked a friend who is an organizer for help, and we totally reorganized my studio. I thought it would take days, but we did it in 2 2-hour sessions, due to her prowess! It is amazing the difference it makes I feel when i am in there, and the delight in knowing where things actually are!

  23. Oh my! Thank heaven you are okay. Heaven knows how many of us could use a cleanup in our own studios. Glad everything worked out well for you and thank you for your creativity that you share with all of us in the rest of the world.

  24. So absolutely delighted to have been introduced to this wonderful blog / treasure trove by my good friend, Laurie Fairman. Looking forward to reading and maybe to sharing in weeks and months to come.

  25. Julie, what a transformation story of rebirth out of destruction. I had a tree come down about 10 feet away from me. You, 6 inches. Holy moly. How utterly scary! I am so glad you were not hurt! When my place got torn down in Seattle I had to go through the same ruthless purge. I hope your new studio is becoming the creative home your old one was. When I visited your home, the aesthetic organization of everything gave me a feeling of home I rarely feel in other houses. So I figure what is inside you will radiate out into your new studio. It is a good place to play and work. Thank you for sharing this story, Elissa

  26. You have the most fabulous space. That double door/window, love it. Love seeing the progression of work too. I am a real clutter addict. Did the experience give you the jitters at all?

    • Thanks for your comment.
      Yes – the experience made me jittery-ittery.
      And I am curious how long I’ll be able to keep the new space clean and clear!

  27. Jules
    great story and beautiful space. very relatable with regard to all the accumulation of things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s