Textile Work Nomad

Here's a view of the river that runs right by my office building.

Post from Raisa    By mid-August I was supposed to have a completed work/office/studio space in our own barn.  But the contractors had other plans . . .  The third window is scheduled to be installed on Friday, tomorrow, and then the project will be “complete” - over 5 weeks past the original deadline!

These former mill buildings are all part of the Historic Harrisville, which has done an extraordinary job of historic preservation on these often difficult-to-maintain brick buildings in particular.

Luckily, during the transition I was able to find another, affordable work space in Harrisville about 20 minutes away.  It doesn't fit all of my textile equipment, unfortunately, so while in there I focus only on the design process and on hand-looming.  Alas, the sewing machine and rotary cutter have had to remain largely packed up and out of the way back at the house.

Oh, but the views in, out and around this rented space are breathtaking.

The building is perched next to a gorgeous river and right across the street from Harrisville Designs, the vendor I use to purchase all of my wool.  I don't have internet in here (intentionally), so when I arrive it's very, very quiet and ideal for long stretches of focused attention.  Other fiber artists also work in the building, so I do hear the peaceful hum of their sewing machines and sergers all day long.  It's one of the most tranquil, productive work spaces I've ever had in my life. 

On some days living in the country feels just one click too slow for me.  But then I have access to these kinds of buildings, spaces and towns and am reminded again that every place has its pluses and minuses.

During my lease-signing I had a terrific conversation with the head of the Commission about how they repoint these bricks with hand-made mortar - NOT using Portland Cement!  Instead they use a regional limestone.  Reminds me of how they maintained buildings in Cusco, Peru . . .

Stating the obvious, accessible and affordable creative spaces can be pretty tough to come by in larger cities.  A friend from graduate school worked with the New York City Mayor’s Department last year to set up affordable housing and studio spaces for visual and performing artists.  Lots has been written about how cities in general (and New York City in particular) are just too expensive for the “creative types” who once flocked to these areas.  (Here’s a great NY Times article on the topic here.)  Anyway, here it is a year after the incubator was established and on opening day of the lottery 53,000 artists applied for 89 affordable Harlem apartments!  Pretty telling.

And how fitting that this space in Harlem was slated for demolition . . . but then a coalition of community members got the 1898 structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places!

Where are you most productive?  Where is your creative space?  Inside your house or apartment?  Or in the basement, garage or barn?  Do you have internet there or do you stay "disconnected" from the world?  Do you think there's a difference between working in an older building or working in a new one?

Working on new designs inspired by our time in Peru.  This one is called "Skyline," and is loomed here in wool and linen.  CAN'T WAIT to put these on tote bags!

The full set of sample cards with the Louet wet-pun linen in Natural.  (All of the wool variations are made using Harrisville Designs wool.)