Studio tour!

I’ve been promising this post forever, and delayed because I kept thinking that at some point I would be done with the cleaning and arranging and could present you all with photos of a studio that looks inviting and inspiring and beautifully staged.

Who am I kidding?

It’s a working studio, and it’s currently in its third reorganization of the last six months. There’s stuff all over, it’s in desperate need of a good going over with the shop vac (plus dust collection and ventilation systems), and there will probably never be a moment when it will look like a photo spread in a magazine. So here, without any further ado, is a look at my studio as it really is.

Here’s the view from the doorway:

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

Metal and Soldering Stations, with flex shaft between them.

The soldering station is the higher of the two tables, on the left. (The chair is sitting in front of it in this photo.) I like being at eye level or a little higher when I’m soldering or fusing, so I can really see what’s going on. I’ve mounted one of my two bench pins on the right side of that table, so it’s close to the metal station but still high enough for me to saw comfortably. The flex shaft hanger is mounted on the left side of the metal station but can be used at either the sawing bench pin or the lower finishing bench pin on the metal station. I also have my vise mounted between the two stations and a small table that I pull out which stores my anvil and my hammers. The windows let in lots of natural light, which is a good thing when pounding on metal and not such a good thing when trying to solder or fuse – blinds are on the list of things to buy. The table in the middle of the room is a setup and fabrication station – a place to lay out whatever I’m working on at the moment.

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

Soldering station, with storage for metal sheet, wire, and cording. 

You can see the storage under the soldering station, which is where I keep some of my focals, metal sheet and wire, and leather cords. Under that very attractive white towel is my anvil and the small table it’s sitting on. Eventually, it will be the stump my friends cut for me earlier this year. In the foreground is my layout table – you can see that it’s covered with stuff. That’s how it looks most of the time.

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

Stuff on the floor, waiting sadly for a real home.

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

Stuff on the floor, part two.

And here you can see the stuff on the floor, just waiting to be put someplace or organized. Those lamps need to be mounted on the metal station, which has no real light right now, and I should put those garbage bags to good use. Frankly, I have no idea what I’m going to do with that big plastic tub of stuff. It’s mostly junk and one of these days I really need to go through it and just clear it out. The French doors lead out to a deck, which is where I’ll be setting up a place to do my metal etching in good weather.

My beloved sink area:

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

Running water and good light. Huzzah!

I am just so appreciative of this space in my studio – I know that I am very fortunate to have it. The pickling and patina station is to the left of the sink; to the right is my tumbler (a new Lortone that I just LOVE) and open space for laying things out. At the moment, it’s holding styrofoam and some other supplies for etching, an old bulletin board that I haven’t decided where to hang, and an old poster of my daughter’s that I am very fond of. Just out of frame on the right is my layout table; out of frame to the left is a monstrously large armoire that is ful of shipping supplies and a bunch of stuff that needs to be weeded out. The armoire is going to be replaced with an Ikea open shelf that can hold baskets and books and organize things a little more efficiently.

Standing at the sink and looking past the metal station, here’s the wall o’ beads:

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

The beloved bead wall – this baby goes with me if we ever move.

I love that shelving – custom made for this studio by a friend, and stocked with two sizes of spice-style jars for bead storage. Love, love, love it. (Layout table in the forefront – still messy.)

Continuing around the room, here’s the glass and enameling station:

Handmade Artisan Jewelry - Francesca Watson Designs

The glass and enameling station

Handmade Artisan Jewelry by Francesca Watson Designs

A closer look

This area very badly needs a dust collection and ventilation system. Not sure how I’m going to work that out, so at the moment I work masked – which is not a lot of fun – and fire the kiln overnight with the door closed so I’m not in the room. The old washstand behind the desk holds overflow stuff from all over the studio, with glass storage on top. Enamels are in trays in that blown-out area of the photo on the right – sorry. My little library will move off that shelf and into the Ikea open shelving, leaving that shelf available for glass storage – it’s very, very (very) sturdy. And I found a cute rolling child’s wardrobe at the Rusted Gingham Barn Sale that will be perfect for large sheet storage – just have to get it upstairs somehow. (Nick doesn’t do stairs while carrying things anymore – can’t say as I blame him.) Out of frame on the right is the door, where we started.

So there you go – that’s my space, where I spend the bulk of my days. I love it. Love, love, love it. It’s the only room on the second floor of our house, so I am really able to withdraw from whatever else may be going on. It’s my retreat, and the place where I most easily get into a kind of meditative groove – I always leave feeling better than when I came in. And while I am sometimes frustrated because I can’t make my hands create the things I see in my mind, this is also the place where I have the greatest success, fulfillment, and growth.

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Have you done an online tour of your space? If so, share it in the comments – I’d love to see where you work!

9 replies
  1. angela sieffert
    angela sieffert says:

    I love your working space. I hope to have a space like this someday soon. I enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures. Im impressed with all the different types of things your into. You do things i want to get into doing but i dont have the resources yet. Thank you for sharing 😀

  2. Shirley Moore
    Shirley Moore says:

    It’s a good thing you have some seating in there, cause I’m totally coming to hang out there, while I figure out how to steal that bead shelving from you!!! I so love this room!!!

  3. Kat BM
    Kat BM says:

    OK, I’m sooo jealous.. I love my studio but I don’t have a sink, and since it’s 3 floors up and no pipes I don’t think I”ll ever have one. It’s really big too… having such a wonderful space has to help in the creative process … just going up to my studio ( it’s a converted attic) makes me happy, so I can imagine what you feel in your room.

  4. Susan Marling
    Susan Marling says:

    Wonderful tour – I always enjoy seeing how others organize things. Love the color of your room – very cheery but the wall of beads – that is awesome. Thanks for sharing.


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