We talk a lot about the artistic process, how to get inspired and how to turn that inspiration into one of a million different projects of self-expression. One thing we don't talk as much about though is the idea of having a workshop space. At first it seems like a no-brainer. Or course we should have some little corner of our living space dedicated to art where we can set up our easels, our hat shapers, or all our skeins of yarn. But sometimes it can seem so obvious that we actually don't really think about that artistic space and why it is important. So I wanted to spend a little time today thinking about those creative spaces in a more intentional way. Why do we need a space set aside for our creative work in the first place? And what are some things to keep in mind as we setup that space?
There are lots of reasons why it is a good idea to have a special space where you can do your art. Most of those reasons are practical. For someone like me who has lots of tools and supplies that I use daily, I need a workshop space because otherwise all those materials will start to take over the rest of the house. And it makes projects easier if everything I need is in one place and is easily accessible.
But for me there is a deeper reason why I need that workshop space. It is all about mindset. As soon as I step into my workshop I enter a different headspace. I become focused on my latest project or crafting idea. My mind becomes filled with all the little details of the craft. I put on a podcast or something in the background, and I might as well be on a different planet, cut off from the rest of my home and the rest of my life, focused on the work I will be doing. Then when I leave my workspace and shut the door the rest of my life comes flooding back. It's time for dinner and it's time to watch Bob's Burgers. It's time to rest and relax. It's time to talk to my husband about all the other little details of living. I know there's probably some psychological reason this happens, but I don't know what it is. I just know that having that line between my workspace and my personal space helps me to do my art with so much more focus. It makes it easier for those creative juices to flow. This is probably because my brain is trained to think creatively in that space and to think about the rest of life in the other parts of my home.
Over the years I've had several different workshops and workspaces. Here are a few of my thoughts about setting up your own workshop area.
Thought #1: Find a good balance between messiness and order.
Or to put it another way, make sure you remember the reason you have a workspace in the first place. It is to get things done. Design your space to be easy to clean and de-clutter, and learn to be okay with the messiness that comes with the creative process. For me it is like a wave. I start a project and as I work I pull all my tools out and lots of different materials. When the project is finished (which can take several days) then I will clean up to get ready for the next project. Being able to leave the messiness behind without worrying about cleaning it up right away is another great psychological reason to have a workspace. Maybe the process will be a little different for you. Pay attention to your own patterns. Is your workshop too messy or too clean, to the point where it is distracting you from your work?
Thought #2: If you can, put a door on it.
One of the main reasons to have a workshop is because it lets you put a line between your personal life and your artistic life. Another way to make that line even stronger is to actually have a contained workshop space, where you can shut the door to separate it from the rest of your home. That door can have lots of uses. When I go into my workshop space and close the door I can't see any of the life stuff in the rest of my home. My husband also knows to leave me alone because I'm doing something important. And like I said already, when I'm done for the day I can just shut the door of my workshop so I don't have to worry about seeing the clutter in there (and getting anxious about it). It is something physical that helps me to mentally compartmentalize.
Thought #3: Decorate intentionally.
This is all about avoiding clutter and making your workshop easy to clean and work in. More than once I've seen photos online of incredibly well decorated workshops. While I think they all look beautiful and inviting, some little part of me wonders about how stressful it must be to keep it looking like that all the time. I imagine it can become its own chore, making sure your workshop is picture perfect. Instead I tend to have a more practical philosophy. I do have decorations in my workspace, but I chose them specifically because they inspire me in my fiber art and because they don't get in the way. Ultimately it is up to you to figure out the sort of balance you want to strike. I know some people who really need their artistic space to have a certain vibe, and that requires all kinds of decorations and cleaning chores. That's fine. All I'm saying is that you don't have to do it that way. You don't have to be intimidated by all those Pinterest photos of perfect workshops. Take some time to figure out what actually makes sense for you, and know it is okay to have a bare little workshop if that is what helps you to do the art you want to do.
I hope that's enough to get you started in thinking about your own artistic spaces. I would love to hear some tips, tricks, and stories about your own art spaces. Post them here or on my Facebook page so we can all hear about your experiences! Photos would also be great!
See you next week!
I have never had so many different hat designs and customization options in my shop before, and even for me it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. As we move closer to the Fall, and all the autumn festivities I look forward to every year, I thought I might put together a little guide to help you navigate all the different hat styles and options for the 2018 Fall season. This way you can get a sample of all the different hat possibilities all in one place, simple as can be. Each picture below takes you right to the listing for that hat. So if any hats in this post catches your eye just click or touch the picture to see more details and pricing information.
The foundation of every hat is the brim. And the first thing you need to know about the brim is that it comes in several different sizes, from the smallest at 4 inches to the largest at 8 inches. Not every hat has the full range of brim sizes though, so check individual listings to see what options you have.
Besides the different brim sizes there are also several customization options to make the brim of your hat look unique. Each option is meant to give the hat different textures or dimensions, depending on the look you are going for. First, we have the "tattered brim" style which adds cobweb inspired points (like this hat), a lattice pattern (like this hat), or a jagged edge to the brim (as pictured). Second, we have the "curled brim" which adds a curl to the front of the hat for a more jaunty look. Finally, we have the hat wave, which is my newest design option. It adds a simple wave to the hat so it looks more lived in and organic instead of being flat and circular.
The most iconic part of the hats that I make are the ridged and curling tails. What you may not know about my hats (if you've only ever seen them on Pinterest or around the internet) is that I actually have six different tail styles that you can choose from, and each one creates an entirely different look for the hat. The "Crooked Tail" style is new for this season, and for 2018 I also brought back my "Short Tail."
Most of the hats I make I also dye myself (except for a few one-of-a-kind color patterns). That means I can offer all kinds of different color options depending on what you're looking for. If you are thinking about a hat that is a different color than the classic witchy black here is a sampling of the four most popular colorways that I can do, showing the full range of vibrant and nuanced colors possible for your hat.
Maybe witch and wizard hats are not really what you are looking for right now, but you like some of the colors and styles you've seen so far. I do offer a variety of completely different hat and hood designs that might fit the look you are going for. I'm especially proud of the Witch Hat Fascinator, new for this season!
For The Adventurous...
If you have something a little more creative and interesting in mind I have a few options that might fit in better with your adventurous tastes. One possibility are my one-of-a-kind hats. Each of these hats are already made and ready to ship, and they feature designs, colors, or decorative elements I will not be offering again. So each hat will be unique in the world. Another possibility is a custom silhouette hat, where you send me ideas for a design you would like felted into your hat to give it a completely unique colored pattern. Finally, I do also accept custom orders from time to time. Let me know what kind of hat project you have in mind.
And that's all the information I could fit in this hat buying guide! I hope that helps you to better understand the dozens of design, color, and customization options I offer. One more thing to keep in mind is that each and every hat is handmade by me, from scratch, and made-to-order (unless otherwise noted). Each hat is its own project, and its own moment of artistic expression for me. If you are thinking about getting a hat for Halloween or other Fall festivities it may be a good idea to order sooner than later. I can only make so many hats after all, and I want to make sure you get yours in time for all the fun!
If you have any questions about anything also feel free to contact me. I answer all the messages I receive personally and within 24 hours.
Happy Halloween 2018!
Lots of people are hard at work making their own felted fantasy hats, either using one of my tutorials or what they learned during one of my face-to-face workshops. But there is one question my students ask me over and over: "How do I make an extra wide brim?"
That's a good question. The standard hat shaper that I use in my Wizard and Witch Hat tutorial only allows for a brim as wide as 4 inches, while some of the hats in my shop have brims as wide as 8 inches.
The short answer is that I had to figure out how to create an extended brim hat block using the simple materials I had at hand or that I could buy from the local hardware store. After months of experimenting I finally came up with a design for a custom extended brim hat block that would allow me to make all those wide hat brims you see in my shop. Since I've came up with the design I've made seven or eight more extended brim hat blocks, and all of them have lasted for months and dozens of hat projects each, without much sign of wear and tear at all. The block is waterproof, perfect for wet felting projects, as well as sturdy and easy to clean.
If you are interested in making hats with brims as wide as 8 inches, and you are thinking about getting my tutorial, here are a few more things you need to know. First of all, this is a video tutorial. If you've bought any tutorials from me in the past you know they are all PDF tutorials with step-by-step instructions written out. I decided to make the change to video though because there are just some parts of the process that it would be hard to describe without the benefit of seeing it in motion. I also did lots of voiceover work in the video so you still get the benefit of hearing me describe the process as well as giving you some helpful hints along the way. Through the whole video you will see me go from describing the individual materials and parts all the way through assembly, start to finish.
For anyone worried about the video quality, this is not a low-res YouTube video. The video resolution is 1920x1080, with lots of lighting, and the voiceover work was done after the video was recorded using a written script and a Blue brand desk mic. (not using the camera mic or anything like that). The file download is about 1.13 gigabytes and is in MP4 format, playable on most computers. But this is my first video tutorial so let me know if there are any technical issues, if you need the file in a different format, or if you need the video at a smaller resolution. I'm sure I can get Grumpy Husband to figure it out for you.
Keep in mind this is a video tutorial on how to make an extended hat block. The video does not include any information on how to actually make a hat, so you will either need to know how to make a felt hat already or you will also need my Wizard and Witch Hat tutorial.
For a full material list check out the tutorial listing. And good luck!