U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: workspace

Re: workspace

Keith, I love this. What a great thread you started, Laura.

It makes me wish I had taken pictures of all the places I've worked; I think that would be a very entertaining addition to the mix, and would also help Diana feel considerably better about the place she works, if she needed more negative examples. In lieu of pictures, I'll describe them:

(1) There was a basement full of a century's worth of obsolete boilers and furnaces and other antique oddities, with joists high overhead where insects were apparently busy eating the wood; every morning I would come down to find a fresh layer of sawdust all over everything. I ended up stapling black plastic to the joists so that the sawdust would fall into the plastic instead of onto my worktables and into my trays. I actually enjoyed working in that space; it was functional, if not beautiful, and at least the basement was dry.

(2) Then there was a godawful cellar with a stream running through it, that I've probably described here before. It had a very low ceiling, reeked of fungus and cat pee, and was just generally the most unpleasant place to work I can imagine; it was cold, dank, claustrophic, and just really really disagreeable. I had plenty of space there; I had tables and workstations for every possible task, which was nice, but I hated working in that space. I really had to talk to myself to get myself to get my boots on and go down there and work.

(3) Then for six years I had a lovely place at the beach, where I had a dedicated artist's studio, a separate building, with a shed roof and floor to ceiling windows on the north (tall) side looking out into pine trees. It was a happy place to work, aesthetically, but at 12x16, minus one corner taken up by a generous bathroom, it was really crowded; with three workbenches and four sinks in there, I just barely had room to turn around. There wasn't space to hang prints or sized paper; I had a clothesline in the kitchen in the house for that. When I was putting a show together, I had to use the garage, the kitchen and dining room as well as the studio, and there wasn't really room to paint in the studio either. The darkroom was in a bathroom/utility room in the house, which I had to dismantle whenever I needed to wash clothes. It was a really charming place to live, with a darling guest cottage to boot, and my son has never quite forgiven me for not buying that place when the owners decided to sell it, but I'm glad I didn't.

(4) Then (just for a year) I lived in an apartment (more like a treehouse, kind of hard to describe -- a house that had been raised 12 feet into the air and a photographer's studio built under it). There was no place suitable for a darkroom, and the only place suitable for gum printing was the utility room, which housed a stacked washer and dryer, the furnace and water heater. The only place I could print was on top of the washer/dryer, and I had to print small; luckily that was the year I was trying to understand how digital negatives work so I was printing color patches and calibration charts that whole year and didn't mind not being able to make prints of any size.

(5) And now my current workroom. It's in the basement of my house, adjacent to the garage (the garage is a level below the house) and when I moved in the space was framed but not insulated or sheetrocked, but even in that primitive state it seemed pretty wonderful to me. My brother helped me enclose the space this summer. It's not finished yet; it still needs a big table for the paper cutter, a counter for trays, and some cabinets, so it's a work in progress. So far I've only unpacked what I need at the moment, and left everything else in boxes. I didn't bother to neat it up for the pictures; this is how it looks when I'm working. But it will be nicer when it's finished and everything is put away.



On Oct 20, 2008, at 12:40 PM, Keith Gerling wrote:

here's a picture of the table where I mix gum

the rest of the workplace is too messy to show....


On Fri, Oct 17, 2008 at 10:43 AM, Laura Valentino <laura@this.is> wrote:

Just for fun, I snapped some phone pics of the graphic studio where I work.
I thought it might be interesting to share. I'd also be interested to see
others' workspaces.


Top, left to right:
1. My freshly sized paper...don't you just want to grab a sheet and print on
it? :)
2. The ventilated "toxic fumes" room. Great for applying sizing.
3. The dark room.
4. Another view of the dark room.

1. The exposure unit I use.
2. Half of the main room.
3. A litho press
4. The other half of the main room. There we actually people there last
night...usually I have the whole place to myself!

There is also a gallery in the building. They sometimes invite guest
artists. There is a nice website, but I just noticed now there is not a word
of English on it! I think I should try to do something about that.

Best Regards,

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