Last November, Needle ‘n Thread moved into our new working studio in a commercial building in downtown St. Marys, Kansas. I wrote about that here and here.
Evaluating our first four months, I’d say we’ve settled in pretty well! We’ve become much more work-efficient in this space, because we have a better layout and we have more room.
Mostly, though, I think that we work better because we’re in a working environment rather than a residential environment. It makes a Huge Difference in the mindset when coming to work, getting into the work day, and carrying through the work day with focus.
We have one wall in the front of the studio that is blessedly free from directly sunlight, and I decided to turn this wall into our Picture Wall – a gallery of sorts, where I’ll hang finished embroidery bits and pieces as I frame them.
Some of the pieces are full-fledged projects. Some will be small samples that I worked to demonstrate something on the website. If I frame everything, that wall would end up full from floor to ceiling! So that’s not the intention. I just want a gallery of favorite pieces and delightful things that we expand to fill a reasonable space as we have the opportunity.
I’ve added two pieces to the wall recently.
One of the newest additions to the wall is the piece above, Fantasia in Silk, which you can read about here. It’s back from France, and I’m happy to add it to the wall! It’s been hanging out with the folks at Au Ver a Soie for the past few years. I’m planning on doing something with this project, and I like to have the original on hand while developing plans for it.
This is the second newest addition – a very treasured piece of embroidery from Trish Burr.
I was not sure if I wanted to frame it in this heavy of a frame, but I loved the warm wood with this piece. Nothing else suited quite so well, and while I probably would have chosen a thinner frame, the heavier frame grew on me the more I looked at it.
I’ve got the word out to my thrift shopping family and friends that I’m in the market for smallish frames. If they’re out and about and they see something, they text me a picture and I let them know if they should grab it for me.
We look for small-to-medium frames (they might have other art in them) that are in good condition – no rot, splinters, breakage, splitting, or anything like that. I don’t normally go for photo frames, which are not really deep enough to accommodate embroidery, although sometimes they are. I clean them up, sometimes I buy new glass if I’m going to use glass (it depends on the piece), sometimes I’ll have a mat cut, and then I frame everything myself.
It is so much more cost effective to frame your own work! Especially if you can find a pre-made frame that gives you the finished look you want, even if you need a custom mat cut or a new piece of glass, it’s much less expensive to do all the assembly yourself!
And, frankly, I think doing the actual framing work yourself is safer for your embroidery. Unless you have a really dedicated framer who understands framing needlework, a botched job can be an expensive disappointment that may not necessarily be repairable.
Framing is a good skill to learn!
I’ve written a very detailed account on how I frame pieces of embroidery, in a two part article about reframing a botched job from a professional frame shop. You can find the first part of the article here and the second part here.
Right now, I’m on the hunt for sizes and shapes of frames similar to the blank spaces in the photo above. It’s hard to find (at thrift shops) nice oval frames or round frames that will work with embroidery, so if I really want oval and round, I might have to fork out for them. We’ll see! Oval and round frames can be pricey, so I may find that a custom cut mat that fits in a standard square or rectangular frame might just do the trick after all!
So that’s my gallery wall in the studio. We’ll see if it expands further during this next four months!
Our next big improvement (if you want to call it that) is the addition of … yes… blackout curtains. We are constantly pestered by the south / west sun, and as the days warm up, it’s clear that the older single-pane windows (which are somewhat tinted) and the lack of an awning are going to be problematic this summer.
The solar shades we have are great for mornings and late afternoons, but they don’t reduce enough of the heat from the sun midday to make the space in the front of the building comfortable enough to work. And once the space heats up, it doesn’t cool down until night time. We’re already experiencing that on sunny days when the temperatures hit 60+ degrees right now. I’m afraid that, when the temperature crawls up towards 90 and 100 degrees, it won’t be a good environment for working. Plus, when we have the air conditioning on, the energy loss would be ridiculous.
The landlord isn’t planning to update the exterior of the building now until the end of summer (which probably means next spring or next summer … or whenever), so I’ve decided blackout curtains that can be adjusted at different times of the day are the most economically efficient way of handling the sun problem. We’ve also tested them for noise reduction, which is a great bonus. So I’m looking forward to getting those up!
So that’s the plan! And that’s the four-month studio update!
Hope your week is off to a great start! I am hoping to share some Snippet updates by the end of this week. Yay!
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