About My Studio
My studio space was formerly the summer kitchen of our historic farmhouse. It had a wood- burning cook stove used to prepare meals away from the rest of house during the sweltering heat of summer. The structure originally had rustic wood-planked walls, a wooden floor over dirt and a hole in the wall where the old stove vented. It was primitive and not very functional. I always knew that one day it would become my creative studio.
The studio was renovated a few years ago, and it was essential that the renovation be done carefully and mindfully. Reclaimed and salvaged materials were used during the renovation so that the integrity and the character of the space were retained. It is currently structurally sound, insulated, and has heat and air conditioning, making it comfortable year-round for working. I love that the studio is located in the back of the house. The room is private and secluded off the dining room. There is a door in the studio that leads into a screened-in porch, which looks out onto the gardens.
The space is 20’ by 10’ and is painted a soft shade of white; the floors are the original antique pine. They have been stripped down, bleached and left raw. There is an abundance of natural light with salvaged windows made of old wavy glass. There is a large old cupboard for storage. Inside are art supplies including paints, paper, tools, fabric, sewing and assorted crafty items. There is an old kitchen sink with running water and a work table. Just the simple basics–which are all I need.
When I am in this space I’m staying in the present moment. When I am fully present, I am most focused. When I’m fully focused, I am my most creative.
It is vital for me to take time to myself to decompress from the craziness of life and to clear my head. What works for me is practicing mindfulness every day and doing things that nurture my soul. Spending time outdoors in nature. Walking alone on the beach. Taking yoga classes helps both mind and body. I attend group guided meditations and crystal healing bowl meditations.
Time in my studio, where I can get immersed in creation, is my therapy. Being mindful is how I try to live my life every day. I rarely, if ever, experience stress. I truly believe this is due to mindfulness and the process of slow living. Mindfulness isn’t just a practice–it’s a way of living that brings awareness to everything I do every day.
Working in my studio is very important to me; when I’m working in my studio I feel content. I like to work in natural light, always alone, always in silence. I usually have water on hand to stay hydrated, but nothing else. My ritual is to burn a sage smudge stick to cleanse the air and rid my surroundings of any negative energy, and sometimes I will light a candle or incense.
I will take out my paints and paper or canvas or wood and start working on a project. Sometimes what I start creating turns into something completely different. I get lost in the art and in time itself.
When I am decorating my own space I am always mindful of what I’m going to do. My style is definitely “less is more.” I keep it simple but pay attention to the details. I only bring into my home what I truly love and I take my time making choices. I usually will balance the budget by splurging on something amazing I really need to have, and then searching for a great used inexpensive piece that fits my criteria. I will strip, refinish, paint and change the hardware to give the piece the desired look.
When I created my studio I used a lot of what I had on hand. I made a work table from an old planked door left over from our home renovation. Art supplies got organized in collected wooden storage boxes. Old glass thrift store jars hold paintbrushes. The large utility cupboard holds all the supplies. There is a satisfaction in knowing that there is nothing precious or fancy that can get ruined. It is a work studio after all!
These things would be great for a studio: task lighting, vintage desks, wallpaper tables, old chairs, antique filing cabinets, barrister bookcases, drafting tables, art easels, artist brush boxes, old wood storage cubbies, work tables on wheels, rolling racks, metal bins, storage cabinets or cupboards. Essential items in any studio are a large assortment of vintage glass canning jars, which are very versatile for storing or holding little bits and pieces or displaying paintbrushes or pencils. Old wooden storage boxes and antique metal divided bakers’ trays are perfect for sorting and compartmentalizing. And if you use your studio for a place to mediate as well as to create, include displays of incense sticks, white sage smudge sticks, meditation candles and lavender sachets or dried lavender.
If your studio is decorated with everything brand-new it can feel sterile and lack “soul.” When shopping for furniture pieces, check to see where they are manufactured and look carefully at the quality–is the style trendy or will it stand the test of time? Mix in some vintage furniture for interest and a relaxed feel. Your studio should be a haven from the outside world; take your time getting it right.
The furniture style we sell at the White Flower Farmhouse has been around for hundreds of years. It can be used by all types of makers in their studios. When buying for the shop and for my customers I look for simplicity, condition and well-made quality; I want our selection to be affordable, with a utilitarian style. Warm natural woods or original white-painted pieces are versatile. These pieces look great regardless of the theme in your studio, whether that be country farmhouse, beach cottage, midcentury modern or an eclectic mix.
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
— St. Francis de Sales
When shopping in stores like mine, or others that inspire you, study the style of furniture used and how the products are displayed, then reimagine how those same ideas can be used in your studio.
Examine what kinds of shelving units are used and what is displayed on them. Dishes displayed in the store can hold laces, paints or stacks of fabrics. Jars can be filled with threads, buttons, pieces of jewelry or paintbrushes.
Because I am a maker, an entrepreneur, and I have a home and a studio that I love, I have a secret to simply decorating for the holidays. I understand that happiness is not found in “decorating with more,” but in the heart’s capacity to be inspired by and to enjoy less.
When decorating a mindful space, the first thing you need to do is start with a clean, clutter-free area. Simplify your surroundings to create a soulful haven from the outside world. Only bring into the space that which is truly useful and loved. Take your time with your choices–slow down and make careful and sustainable selections.
Something that I like to do is collect interesting containers from thrift stores, antique shops and yard sales. Some of the things I look for are old wooden bowls, large clear glass jars, white ironstone or milk glass compotes, silver plated trays, pressed glass vases, old baskets, cake stands and pottery bowls. All can become perfect vessels to use in your holiday decorating. What you choose to decorate with depends on the season or holiday. A container or tray creatively displayed is a way to add natural seasonal décor.
Pinecones, dried berries, nuts, fruit, paperwhite bulbs, amaryllis, tiny evergreen trees, candy canes, foil-wrapped candy, old fashioned ribbon candy, vintage Christmas baubles, antique tinsel or garland, holiday cookies.
Wheat grass, flowering branches, cherry blossoms, pussy willow, moss, fresh flowers or herbs, birds’ nests, natural or pastel dyed eggs, jellybeans or seasonal candy, chocolates, vintage Easter decorations, old holiday postcards.
Seashells, beach glass, stones, beach sand, driftwood, vintage clothespins, saltwater taffy, herbs such as lavender, mint and rosemary, sunflowers, fresh summer fruit such as lemons, limes or oranges, fresh farm stand vegetables.
Gourds, pumpkins, squash, dried pods, dried Chinese lanterns, wheat bundles, acorns, nuts, Indian corn, bittersweet vines, dried leaves or flowers, apples, pears, balls of yarn or string.