First published on June 14th, 2016, by Jes Hooper.
The past three and a half months have been crazy. I mean, seriously? Wow. A whole lotta change that’s for sure! I’ve gone from learning pyrography in my spare time whilst seeking work, to being invited to show my work in two galleries in Brighton, and now I am moving on from from my little make-shift art studio in my conservatory, to a bespoke art studio above a yet-to-be-built carpentry workshop.
I’ve kept this under raps for a month now because I’ve been busy working on the exhibits and starting a new collection, but this month is the month when big things are happening behind the scenes and I wanted to invite you all to see what’s going on!
My boyfriends and his boss (also named Dave) are converting a dis-used barn into a carpentry workshop for them to use in their spare time for personal projects; and I’ve been extremely lucky to be invited to join them! The main stables will be the carpentry workshop, and I will be setting up my pyrography art studio in the hay loft above. The building is beautiful. Approximately 300 years old, with wooden beams and original brickwork.
Over the past couple of months we have been clearing the space and getting it ready for it’s transformation. For 40 years the building has been abandoned as storage, which left us with the huge task of clearing it. We found some really interesting things, from old branded glass milk bottles, horse tackle, and agricultural machinery, to an old intramuscular syringe made from glass. We did also find some nasty things including 15 mummified rat bodies (yum). Since then, the Daves have been busy reparing the roof, spraying all the timber to kill any wood worm, and preparing the floor for cement. This week not only is the floor going down, but the roof is being insulated too.
So much stuff
Above: Dave spraying the timber beams against wood worm
Below: The hay loft all cleaned up ready to be made into the art studio
Here are some of the reasons I am very excited about the new space:
1) I will have a temperature-stable environment to create and store my pyrography art. At present, the conservatory gets so hot in the day time I have to stop work at 1pm, but gets very cold at night time. The fluctuating temperature combined with the fact my oak timber is air dried means I have lost many pieces of timber as it shrinks and expands, eventually causing large cracks to appear. Not ideal when my art work can take months to complete, just to split down the middle.
2) I will have much better light to work with. My home studio is great for natural light but when it gets really sunny I have to fight with reflections on the wood and glare on my compute screen. As I most frequently work from photos and videos of animals, I need to see all the tiny details.
3) I will be able to do all my sanding and wood prep inside! No more postponed work schedule due to rain!
4) I will have two carpenters to learn from! And what what better timber critiques could I ask for?
5) I will have access to more timbers as I can use off-cuts for my work, and I can start working with the Daves to make bespoke photo frames, chopping boards, tables, and other wooden crafts that I don’t have the knowledge or skill to make on my own. It will be so lovely to collaborate with other creatives in as so much of my work to date has been solo.
6) I will have enough space to store my materials and artwork. Although a step up from my bedroom, my home studio is becoming more and more cramped every day.
As with both the Daves, I will still be running my little business from home as I won’t always need to use the studio for smaller art pieces, my home ware range, or all the admin that goes with being an artist (who knew?!). But it is so reassuring to know I have a work space to create, organise, and store, my larger art pieces.
In the coming weeks I will keep you updated as to the progress of the space, it’s a big project with big potential.