My own personal oasis.

I usually write about other artists and their process, but from time to time I become slightly self-indulgent and write about my own experiences. In this blog I want to focus on my workspace because today, as I switched from varnishing a finished painting to sewing a huge pile of printed tea towels to sitting infront of my computer, I realized that between tasks I did not

have to pause to move things around to make room for the next project and this pleased me. I then went to sit in my living room which neat and I did not have to wedge myself between a pile of hand stitching waiting to be done. This pleased me again and now I am sharing this pleasure with you.

509BaitedHookHandmadeBack Entrance. Before and After. The stairs to the basement are on the left – notice the lack of railing in the before shot. One wrong move and...

I have been living in bachelor to 1 bedroom apartments since 1997. All of which were wonderful but they had no balcony and little space for painting and sewing. I was always living in chaos with at least 5 projects on the go at any given time and these projects would be scattered throughout each room.

Just over 4 years ago I bought my own home. It is my oasis of peace, where my cat and I hang out. I have a beautiful little front porch to drink the perfect cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. I have a functioning kitchen that could use a facelift but it is fine for now and has served me well.

510Baited hook handmadeStairs. Before and after.

Because I am just one person when I moved in I decided to make the master bedroom my work room. It is the place where I would sew, paint, design and print. The problem is I usually do all of these things at the same time. So I began to spread out and my living room became my sewing area. My dining room an assembly area. My bathroom sink was constantly stained with paint and ink from working in the master bedroom. I have triple the amont of space from my apartments yet I still have the chaos of all my projects.

The basement was an illegal apartment that the past owners would rent out to international students. The thought of an illegal apartment was always unsettling to me. I made the basement my guest room but it was run down, dark and uninviting and I would seldom enter unless I needed to grab something from the freezer or to go into the storage area. There was a toilet paper roll mounted to the wall where the washroom used to be and a big area of floor tiles were missing. The bathroom was horrifying and I only used it to do my laundry. I even fell down the rickety old stairs once.
511BaitedhandmadeBasement hall before, during and after.

It seemed like the basement could be used in a far more practical way but it would take a bit of work. My uncle is a contractor and he went to work demoing the entire basement finding all sorts of problems with the wiring and plumbing and even discovered that 9 joists had been cut through so severely he wasn't sure why my kitchen floor hadn't caved in when I had my house warming party.

After 3 months of living in dust and grime and chaos my basement was completed. I did some painting and wallpapering and I now have the most incredible studio space I could ever wish for. It is bright and happy. It is inviting and makes me cheerful. Since I did this renovation my painting and sewing and designing remains contained to the upstairs and the basement. There are no stations in my living room or dining room anymore. The chaos and activity is still there but I can escape it now if I wish to.

512Baited hook handmadeMy fabulous new basement work space!