My workshop

My constant workshop companion, Loki. The stick is to munch on, he loves sticks.

My workshop is not finished, but it is now 100% functional! After so many years this is a dream com true. I’ve gone through countless iterations in my head and this is the best we could do with the space we have (about 13 square metres)

It still needs some details, windowsills, baseboards, that kind of stuff. Our heating-warm water system and collectors are in my workshop, as you can see in the photo below. This will get covered with more Ikea kitchen cabinets matching the “lab” kitchen, as further below. The worst part of the current situation is that there’s a hole in the ground where things can roll off into oblivion.

I have taken lots of pictures, let me show you! click on the pictures to make them bigger. Any questions just shoot.

After some trials and much deliberation I have decided to place desk and benches in an island in the middle of the room. It is super comfortable, but most importantly I get as much light as possible, and it comes from the left on the desk (where I enamel) which is perfect if you’re right-handed. Not as ideal for the jewellery bench, but better than the other option of putting it against some wall, far from the window. I have plenty of space to walk around.

The biggest problem that this configuration might cause is dust from metalworking getting into the enamelling area. Dust is the enemy of enamel. But I keep everything tidy because I don’t like to work in clutter. And I have done my utmost to keep dust at bay by having absolutely everything in drawers and behind doors. I cannot stress enough how important this is! Ease of cleaning and vacuuming is very important.

On the left you can see my bead organiser, some of my son’s toys, a huge clock since I completely lose all sense of time when working, my network speaker (I always have music or a podcast playing) where the windowsill will be. Next to it is Loki in his basket on the desk (an antique oak one), together with a tray with distilled water, oil, glue… for enamelling, an articulated arm to attach my camera to film videos (recent upgrade!), and a small drawer organiser with works in progress etc.

Back to back with my desk is my jewellery table (from Chamorro y Moreno, I got it shipped from Madrid, and I love it). And across the side of both a side bench (an Ikea Värde unit, this was a kitchen line of freestanding units, very sturdy with a solid wood top) on which are bolted a metalworking vise and my rolling mill. Let me show you details, explanations listed below:

  • Desk.
  • Left drawers: 1 watercolors and stationery 2 onglaze paints.
  • Center drawer: brushes, spatulas, sticks, surfaces and cloth for enamelling, plus temporarily some pencils and brushes for watercolor (I must keep all sticks hidden from Loki!). On the drawers to the left I keep my laptop and all the related stuff.
  • Bottom drawer of the side bench: metalworking tools like punches, repoussé stuff.
  • Middle drawer: copper. Not pictured, top drawer: camera, microphones, tripods etc for filming.
  • Metalworking vise showing how I draw wire.
  • The rolling mill has a cover to protect it from dust. I also keep the handle up with a piece of wood that moves aside for use. It otherwise always hurt my thigh on it, it falls at an awkward height for me.
  • Sliding panel curtains, it is either super overcast and dark (like right now) or the sun is shining straight into my eyes. These are from Ikea.
  • Organisation besides jewellery table.
  • Jewellery table central drawers. It also has four side drawers in which I keep metal, my mini drill (I don’t have a flex shaft), soldering stuff and emery papers.

Across from the side bench, against the wall, is the “lab” kitchenette and some more storage. Everything is protected from dust and put away!

To the right you can see where the kiln area is. In between there’s the doorway to what will be my son’s bedroom. The workshop doesn’t have a door, but an opening, towards the right is the staircase.

This is an Ikea kitchen with Ekestad doors (oak veneer) and also a solid oaken tabletop. Due to limited space I put shallow cabinets on the right side, and I cut away the edge of the counter.

And this is the kiln area, intentionally in the darkest place possible, to better see inside the kiln:

This is a buffet set recycled from our first studio. I have tiled the buffet with heavy stoneware floor tiles.
You have probably seen a pattern by now: these are from Ikea. They’re solid pine.

Another important piece of storage is this drawer chest that I got about 20 years ago in Ikea. It came with me from Barcelona. On top of it is my watercolour swatch chart. Bins for garbage and paper sit on either side. To its right begin the kitchen cabinets:

Here are the details:

  • Three storage units.
  • The contents, top to bottom from left unit to right unit: some books, linocut, bookbinding and woodworking tools – Art books, craft manuals, WIPs, dry enamel storage – More art books and manuals, enamelling books, on glaze stuff, more dry enamel storage.
  • A glass palette for on glaze, in a box in a drawer (begone dust and lint!)
  • Dry enamel storage.
  • Idem.
  • View of kitchen counter.
  • I store a drum of distilled water with tap over the sink, I put it away inside the cabinet after use.
  • Top cabinets. They’re a mess. I am short and I only comfortably reach the bottom shelf. This is very much still a work in progress. There’s stuff for enamelling, glasses to clean, finished pieces and a mess of stuff. Gratefully behind doors!
  • Bottom drawers on the left, from bottom to top: watercolour and drawing pads and paper – various types of paint and brushes – watercolour gouache and brushes – stationery, cutters, compasses, scissors, pencils, fountain pens, ink… – more stationery, rulers, etc
  • Bottom drawers at center, with various chemical products below and sink tools (diamond pads, stones, tweezers, old toothbrushes etc) on top.
  • Right side drawers: rags, cloths and tubs with chemicals.
  • Kiln surface: antique irons warm over kiln, spatulas, the pyrometer on the top shelf together with tins, kiln wash… I have to turn on two buttons to put the kiln on, one on the pyrometer and another at the plug. Can never be too safe. Notice the  all important vacuum cleaner.
  • Drawer under kiln with spatulas, trivets and firing fibres. The other drawers in the buffet hold much varied stuff, from newspapers to woodworking finishes like shellac, etc.
  • On the tall drawer chest I store many enamelling materials: transfer paper, foil, cloissonné wire, palettes, and several drawers with little boxes of washed enamel. Right now I have the colour palettes over them but this was temporarily for inventory purposes. Otherwise they live in another drawer. There’s also stringing material and on the lower drawers mostly watercolour and other types of papers.

Phew that’s all I think!

4 thoughts on “My workshop”

  1. I’m building a house on Kentucky Lake and will have my first real studio.
    Your work and studio organization is very inspiring.

  2. I can only dream of having a studio as organized as yours is. It looks like you have everything neatly and carefully labeled and well organized. I look forward to following you.

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