Monday, January 4, 2010

The Dream Weaving Studio

Below is my response to Bonnie Krist of Weaver's Words when she asked for suggestions on what a "dream weaving studio" would include. She had a new free standing building so some of these things aren't necessary for a home studio (e.g. hopefully you already have running water in your home!). I have also modified my response a bit as I now have a big table in the middle of my weaving room.
Weaver's Words - February 11, 2008

Bonnie - about setting up a dream weaving studio -  First of all congratulations on the beautiful new barn. Wow, what a wonderful blank slate! OK here is my wish list and must haves:
  • Running water
  • Double utility sink (a must even if it only has a drain, but no running water)
  • Small hot water heater (a must if having running water)
  • Bathroom (a luxury depending on how far the house is)
  • Lots of shelves (I store most things in clear plastic tubs, but also have lots of books)
  • Big windows for natural light
  • Lots of grounded electrical outlets
  • Overhead florescent work lights with daylight bulbs (I normally am not a fan of florescent light, but got one for my laundry room area of the basement and splurged for daylight bulbs and wow do they produce a lot of nice white light, the fixture cost very little at Home Depot. I am thinking about adding some more to my basement.
  • Workbench table - at least 6" long, solid wood for strength, multiple ones depending on tools
  • Folding tables - at least two or three 6" (8" tables are great, but are hard to lug around) (if you can find the old cafeteria style, the particle board kind, instead of the new plastic one I would definitely opt for them. I have the old style and wouldn't trade them for anything for the plastic one. I have used those and they are just too "spongy" and not sturdy enough.)
  • Comfortable work chairs - at least a couple depending on your workbench layout
  • Folding chairs - a lot of these if you think you will hold classes or have people over to weave (I have one weaving chair and one stool that stay in my studio all the time, but about 14 folding chairs that move about depending on the folding tables that are set up.
  • Pegboard wall (I don't have this, but am thinking about putting oneup in my basement.)
  • Shaker pegboard and shelf running the whole perimeter of the room along with pegs on all the rafters.
  • Small refrigerator for caffeinated drinks during those marathon weaving sessions
  • Ott light for small detail work
  • Goose-neck clamp lights for work table
  • Hot plate (for heating water if you don't have running water or for dye baths)
  • Magnetic wall strips (for holding tools for easy access)
OK, now for power tools,

Must have:
  • Bench top belt sander - I literally travel with mine when I go to classes
  • Shop vac - set up with sander for dust collection
  • Jeweler's drill press (from MicroMark)
  • Dremel tool (cordless)
Basically I could do almost anything with just these basic power tools along with basic hand tools.

Wish list for serious basketmaker who wants to do more woodworking:
(these are things I have had for awhile now)
  • Band saw
  • Sheet palm sander (I would almost add this to the MUST HAVE list as it can be used for about anything)
  • Bench top drill press (You can ad a sanding drum and it is great for sanding handles)
  • 10" disc sander (Another one from MicroMark, variable speed, not much power, but most basketweaving needs are more for a more delicate touch than muscle)
  • Cordless drill (A good one that will set you back at least $100, if you have to buy a couple of crappy ones over the years you might as well have a good one from the beginning)
(these are things that I recently added)
  • Sliding compound miter saw (love it, wish I would have had it years ago)
  • Floor drill press (I only got this because my bench top one was a hand-me-down and had too much play in the head and wouldn't drill a clean hole, I now use the bench top for sanding only)
  • 48" cooper steam tray plus two hot plates (LOVE IT! Since I am bending my own handles and rims now this was a must)
  • Orbital palm sander
Here are some photos from my basket room, it is about 16" x 14" I think with lots of natural light (though I seem to weave mainly at night).

I have the two chairs at my work table, one at the weaving/sanding 
station and the other (actually a stool) at the drilling station.

 I now have a large, 5"x6" table in the center of my room that I LOVE. It has storage in the base and can seat eight people comfortably. Basically you will want to set up your room to accommodate the kinds of 
baskets you weave. Since I usually only weave baskets that are no 
larger than 10" I don't need a lot of table space so dedicate more of 
that to my tools, but I do have lots of molds so have a lot (but never 
enough it seems) of shelves for those. I also store everything in small 
plastic tubs (since again my materials are smaller) and dedicate lots 
of shelves to those.

 Good luck with your new space, you are going to love it.
These photos are a few years old and it is surprising looking at them now how much my room has changed. I have even more molds now! Apparently I have a serious addiction. Oh well there are worst things to be addicted to than baskets...


  1. Wow! You have an amazing studio. Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

  2. Oh boy Tony, don't think I've ever seen such a neat and tidy workshop or artist's studio! Even on a "good" day, mine is not so neat. Must say something about the mind...

    The Wicker Woman ® - Cathryn Peters