The Perfect Art Studio – Does it Exist?

art studio of mary fisher
Mary Fisher has a wall of thread
organized by color in her palatial studio.
(Studios Winter 2009/10)

cate pratoOver a year ago I asked readers to help me decide where I should locate my studio: in the attic room my husband had painted and organized with shelves for me, but that was overheated in the summer and freezing in the winter, or the "tea room" on the first floor, the would-be parlour that had become the catch-all for projects-in-progress.

I got lots of votes and advice, but ultimately decided on an alcove on the second floor in our sun room. After the big reveal in Studios magazine, a coworker's response was, "What impresses me most is that you have been able to create three rooms for yourself!"

And don't think my husband hasn't noticed (hey, he has the entire basement and half the garage). But the reality is, I like variety. I know people who have gone 20 years without changing the arrangement of their living room furniture, but I couldn't go 20 weeks. (My kids would probably say 20 days.)

So I could never imagine settling on one ultimate art studio for my mixed-media fabric art.

art studio of sharon mccartney
Sharon McCartney's airy art studio.
(Studios Fall/Winter 2008)

Most days, I crave the uncluttered open spaces and streaming sunlight personified by Sharon McCartney's custom-built studio addition in central Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to see her studio in person.

The two-story structure is attached to the house, with the main studio in one large room that serves as workspace and gallery. Below is a classroom where Sharon teaches workshops and makes her own collage materials.

The windows not only let in light and the view of the surrounding woods, they are designed to open out at the top, allowing for cross-ventilation without the breeze blowing papers off the countertops.

'Crafty Chica' Kathy Cano-Murillo's art studio.
(Studios Summer 2009)

On other days, I long to be enveloped in color and the pleasant clutter of my found objects and collections. That's when I would love a studio like Crafty Chica Kathy Cano-Murillo's.

Kathy's walls are literally lined with glittery iridescent fabric and dotted with mementos, photos, and inspiration pieces.

Even the ceiling is decorated, with Mexican papel picado banners, paper stars, and even a glass chandelier hanging from above. Many of the items on the walls are functional, such as vibrant Mexican grocery totes she uses for storage.

And then there are the days I wish I were super-organized. To have this kind of studio, I would need a personality transplant and a fairy godmother with resources, such as Mary Fisher.

Mary has what I would call the ultimate studio space: 1500 square feet in Sedona, Arizona, with dedicated areas for a wet studio, fiber work, and paper art. Her thread stash wall, alone, makes me light-headed.

These are only three of the studios I dream about having. I haven't even mentioned the cozy vintage spaces in soft pinks and greens (or cheery reds and blues), the cabin-in-the-woods hideaways, and on and on. That's why I love Studios magazine. I can live out my studio fantasies vicariously by visiting the 20-30 studios in each issue.

Now you can get the first nine issues of Studios on two convenient collection CDs, 2008-2009 and 2010, so you can call up the studio of your dreams du jour right on your computer.

P.S. What's your favorite studio style (or styles)? Leave a comment below.


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