I can’t actually believe we’ve been in our studio for a year now! Just over a year ago I barely knew Amy from Red Paper House. We’d seen each other around the old handmade circuit and been for a few drinks together, but when we first met up to chat about getting a shared studio space we were pretty much strangers. Hah! Now she is forced to listen to my inane ramblings on almost a daily basis and I couldn’t ask for a better studio buddy.
When we were looking for a space so many people passed comment, “why don’t you just work from home?” Well, I’ll tell you why!
It sounds great working from home, but in reality it can be really harmful for your health and productivity, not to mention how much stuff you have when you run a small business. It was taking over our house, creeping into every room. Large boxes from deliveries in the hallway, mock stall displays being set up on the kitchen worktop, photography set ups all over the place, chasing the light. I had so much stuff I couldn’t even shut the door to make it go away anymore. I wanted my house to be a house again, not a business.
The funny thing is as well, when you work from home people think you’ve got an easy life – watching TV whenever you want, doing a bit of housework and checking your emails. The reality was I was working 24/7. On an evening I would just “pop up to do something” and it would be 11pm when Stu asked if I was coming to bed. If I couldn’t sleep I would go and make jewellery at my desk. Saturday mornings were ‘work time’ before the last post. If I wasn’t working I just felt like I should be.
Where are all the humans?
I hardly ever left the house. I didn’t have work colleagues, I wasn’t getting fresh air in my lungs and the only ‘person’ I had to talk to was my dog. Working alone wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be, I was expecting peace and quite and all I got was isolation.
We found our amazing studio space by just Googling spaces to let in Leeds. With double the budget for two of us sharing a space we managed to afford this massive 500 sq ft space in an old textile mill.
It was a wreck when we first moved in, but we knew it had potential. The natural light that pours in through those incredible windows was enough for us to fall in love. With us both being artists, we knew we could make it beautiful and within a week we were moved in with a fresh coat of paint and half a floor, haha! My old laminate floor from my living room only stretched to half the space and we’re on a budget folks!
As it filled up with our work, fresh plants and colour it became a second home and I just love spending time here. Some days I just sit and take it all in, the light pouring in from the windows and the peace and quiet… it’s the same feeling I get when I travel. Just a sense of complete contentment.
We spur each other on to get up, get organised and get to work. We come here focussed on working instead of thinking about putting the washing in or what to prepare for tea. My productivity has gone through the roof!