Welcome to the 215th installment of A View From the Easel, a series in which artists reflect on their workspace. This week, artists embrace weaving as a metaphor for living, tune into opera on the radio, share space with other artists, and converse with the world through their work.
Want to take part? Check out our submission guidelines and share a bit about your studio with us! All mediums and workspaces are welcome, including your home studio.
Makiko Harris, London, United Kingdom
This is my corner of a studio I share with two other artists. All three of us recently graduated from the Royal College of Art, London and earned our MA in Contemporary Art Practice. I feel immense gratitude and privilege to have the opportunity to pursue doing what I love.
A studio has always been a safe space for me, a haven where I could be fully immersed in an interior world, hatching ideas that are not yet ready to come into contact with the public. Since moving to London two years ago to pursue my degree and grow my practice, I have moved studios seven times. Many of these studios were as simple as a desk in a large open-plan space with lots of other people around. The challenge of the last few years has felt vulnerable, yet has only deepened my conviction and commitment towards my practice.
Now that I’ve finished my degree, I hope to settle into this space and stay for a long time. I’m working on multiple projects concurrently. I always like having several things happening at once, so I can rotate to something else while the first is drying or otherwise processing in my brain. Which projects I gravitate towards or avoid on any given day usually is a signal towards what’s happening in my interior world. I am so grateful to have artmaking a part of my daily life as a compass and guide.
Barry Katz, Harlem, New York City
It’s a short walk from my apartment in Harlem to my studio, where I can be found most days from around 10am till 6pm. And, because it’s nearby, I can easily return for a little while after dinner or on the weekend if there’s something I need to finish.
Working in encaustic requires a heated palette and very good ventilation. First thing each morning I switch on the exhaust fan and the palette, and then have a bowl of cereal while waiting for it to heat up. I like to listen to music while I work, and my stereo, which remains on most of the day, is usually tuned to the Metropolitan Opera channel on satellite radio.
I build my three-dimensional forms from plaster over an aluminum wire mesh armature in the room you can see through the door on the left. Then I begin applying encaustic in the larger main space, working horizontally on a turntable, gradually building up texture through the process of accretion, layering multiple colors as I go. This offers endless possibilities for variations of texture, hue, intensity, luminosity, and character, which allows for a more complex visual experience that I hope will reward sustained looking.
Teri Donovan, Toronto, Canada
My studio is a small room on the second floor of my house. It has a south-facing window and an old desk that serves as a workspace and the spot where I keep most of my paints, brushes, mediums, and tools. To the left is the easel with a painting leaning against a board peppered with assorted references. Behind the easel and under the window are boxes full of artworks, and other equipment. Across the room, under the wall of paintings, sits an arborite table from the 1950’s. It’s a catch-all for temporary items and a place for my coffee and Bose speaker with an old cell phone attached that allows me to listen to podcasts while I work.
This space is a “room of my own,” where I leave behind the obligations of daily life and create work, that for me is a way of conversing with and responding to the world. It’s the place where I feel the most like myself and where I can think and work on my own terms and in my own time.
Sarah Haskell, York, Maine
In the foreground, you will see spools and bobbins of my naturally dyed linens and rayons, which I use as warp and weft on my loom (seen in the center). To the left is my spinning wheel, which I use to spin paper and linen to augment the commercially spun fibers.
On the wall are a work in progress of netted, hanging stones for a soon-to-be installation, a woven piece recently taken off the loom (ready for embroidery), and sketches for what’s next on the loom.
My studio space is a 24-foot-by-24-foot room with a loft and skylights, attached to the household garage. I also have a full-scale dye lab in the basement of my home. I love merging family life with art life — weaving as metaphor and practice.