Sunday, November 21, 2010

Favorite Space {Besty}

Hi Everyone! I am so excited for this new feature on my blog. I've decided to merge my old blog called Favorite Spaces with this blog. So from time to time, I will be featuring whimsical favorite spaces of Indie artists that I admire! I hope that this new feature will inspire you to create your own magical space.
Here's our first tour. And it's Betsy Dorman's craft studio.

Chickything:What do you do? 

Betsy:I am a photographer, a bookbinder, a sewer... a general maker of things.  I'm an art educator, a crafter, a collector and (finally!) a shopkeeper.  I just opened up besty in September after years of dreaming.  I sell linocut prints, children's clothing, and linens.  I also offer posters and limited editions of archival digital prints from original animal silhouette drawings based on the letters of the alphabet.   More crafty adventures involving books and stationary and decor are in the works.
What inspired the space?

Besty:THREE things -

* Being tall - I've always been tall. There are certain things I hate about it, mostly leg-room-on-airplanes types of things - but I've learned to love it. I have always liked to move around and do my work both sitting down and standing up at my desk. I've never really been able to comfortably do that because the surface is always too low and I end up looking like a crazy-eyed, hunched creature after about 20 minutes. So a couple of years ago, I went to Ikea and put together these desk/storage pieces and I couldn't be happier.
* Fitting lots into a little space - My studio is always the smallest room in the house or apartment, mostly because I know I will fill whatever space I move into, whether it is big or small. So I try to use this knowledge about myself and create limitations so I don't turn into a craft monster taking over the house. My current studio has this tiny little elf closet that is jam-packed with materials. I love it because it is deceptively large - as if it is the magic-carpet-bag of closets.
* Surrounding myself with my favorite things - I have many photos and quotes and little collections in here. The photos are ones I've taken or found or inherited from my family, the quotes from artists and writers help keep me sane, and the little things scattered about are items I've picked up along the way.

What is your favorite item in your studio? And why? And where or how did you get it?

Betsy:I would have to say my absolute favorite item is a small print of a painting. It is a portrait of a purple and yellow boy. It was painted about 6 years ago by a student in the very first art class I ever taught. He was 10. He had never really done a "grown up painting" before (translation: one you work on for an entire week) and he painted a self-portrait of the way the light hit his face. It was magical to watch him both discover how to see something and surprise himself in the process. He reminded me of what I love about art and it made me want to be a teacher forever. I like the painting for the discovery within it. I like it because it reminds me of important things when I forget them for awhile. It has saved my life once or twice on particularly bad days. 

Chickything: What inspires you the most when you create?   

Betsy:I like to stare at the mountain outside my window.  Some might say it is a hill but I love it. It looks different every day. I know the path of the sun around it and how the clouds like to gather in different places. Plus, having just moved out of Brooklyn, I have to check that it is there in order to actually believe that I live at the foot of it.  Magical.
What music do you listen to when you create?  

Betsy:I prefer to listen to relaxing music that isn't really lyric driven when I'm working in my studio.  I sometimes find words distracting, but I think this is only because I wasn't allowed to listen to anything but classical music when I was "working" when I was little.   But who knows, sometimes I turn on Pandora or NPR for the whole day and I'm completely happy. Whatever it is, if the music ends and I'm really deep in concentration, I can sometimes go hours before I even realize that the album has ended and I've been working in silence.
 Where do you get your furniture and home decor?  

Many of the functional pieces in my studio are from Ikea (desk, desk legs, drawers, file cabinets, chair, lamp, shelves, storage boxes, magnet boards.)   I purchased all of them in white, mostly because the consistency makes a nice backdrop against the inevitable chaos.  It kind of makes it feel clean and streamlined and organized in here, even in the midst of a crazy, messy project.   Everything else is a mishmash of my creations, gifts from super-creative friends, inherited things from family, or flea market finds.

What a magical space! Don't you think? I especially love that little elf door! I wish I have one in my craft studio. Thanks so much Betsy for allowing us a peek into your magical space!
Visit her here:

If you are an artist and you have a magical/whimsical space in your home, please, please share it with all of us. 
Please email me at chickything[a!]


Priscilla said...

Oh my gosh I loved this. Even if you took out the family-factor, that Betsy is one of my fabulous favorite nieces, I love the "glimpse into the studio" concept and look forward to more. I keep adding blogs to my list of blogs I like to read and now yours is right up there. Thanks for sharing this bit of Betsy, and good luck with your combined blogs effort. Keep 'em coming.

Priscilla said...
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