adventures in enamelling, stories, music and travel
Work space is very personal to individual artists. I have always gone for a simple and functional space – not really caring what it looks like, since when I am in there I am mostly absorbed in the one square foot in front of my eyes!I have been enamelling for 25 years – but this studio that I now have in Mirvish Village in Toronto is the first one ever above ground! I have usually been in basements in the past and I just LOVE having a window … even though it looks out on a brick wall! It still lets in lots of natural light and doesn’t distract me with too beautiful a view!
About 10 years ago I started having continuous pain in my shoulder from staying in the same position too long so I became very aware of ergonomics, and how important it is to stretch and take breaks. I eventually got rid of the chronic pain with physiotherapy, but if I don’t keep up my exercises and take frequent stretch breaks, it starts coming back … to warn me …
I set up my main work table so that it has a rest for my elbow. I also constructed a couple of ‘towers’ on which to rest my work so that I don’t need to lean over and can keep my back straight. I often sit cross legged on my chair to help keep my back upright. I also have a board that allows me to have the tower actually hanging over the edge of the worktable which I can then rest my wrist on. Everything is movable so that I can change my position. All of this has been very important to me since I often work for 10-12 hours at a stretch. People are always amused by the direction “breathe” on my tallest tower. It is actually a reminder to do breathing exercises while I am sitting there for long periods. (Always multi-tasking!). You may also notice the speakers: they are usually hooked up to my computer listening to audio books often fairy tales, or mythic classics like Gilgamesh, Beowulf or the Odyssey for inspiration.
I am not a naturally tidy person – so I discovered that I needed smaller work spaces to force me into tidiness. If I have large tables – they just get filled up with junk… Now that I have a shipping table I have to be really careful to keep it free of clutter. However, with determiniation I believe that you can do anything that you need to! So I am slowly becoming a tidier person – it’s a little scary really …
thanks for the photos!!Jamie
What a wonderful studio! Reading your comments about ergonomics made me remember my father's work area. He was a watchmaker, another craft that requires bending over small objects for long hours. Watchmakers – if there are any left in this age of digital, solid state watches – use a very high work bench. When they sit in their chair and start to work at the bench, the bench touches just below collar bone level. The only bending they do is from the neck, to look down. If they need more distance on the work, they just stand up. And all this was developed before anyone had concerns about ergonomics!