Place is so important. 

The space to be


I love this photo  (I will talk about photos later in detail later) .   I took this from the outside looking in.  Through the window.  As a visual, it opens up the idea of gallery and  gives me a sense of my work  and what I might leave behind  as some sort of passing season.  Looking at it helps me accept that.

I just wanted to give you an idea about the space I work in. It changes a lot with the weather and there are no walls left unmarked by tacks.  It's only since I started blogging that I called my space a studio.  Before that it was just my favorite room.  A place to feel safe, relaxed, with space, room enough to think.

The picture to the right, is me, taken in the same chair, in the same place, one month before I began the Spirit Cloth blog.  September 2006.  I'm not wearing glasses because, back then, as silly as it sounds now,  I thought it made me look better.

Oh Ha!



It's nice to have a place, a big space, a studio, an official artistic environment.  But really,  you can also use your mind.

When I did the drawing that I used for the What If blog, I was studying children's book illustration and I had no studio.   It was to illustrate a verse of a poem. And it was about Thought Catching.

The Brain is wider than the Sky
For put them side by side
The one the other will contain
With ease and you beside

By Emily Dickinson

My Dad had a massive stroke right before I began blogging.  He passed away while I was working on the Lion Quilt, the cloth I was working on in that old picture above.  I used that cloth as a thought catcher while visiting him over the years he spent trying to recover. The best piece of advice he ever  gave me was "Use your Head".  It's a loose thought, that  I have carried with me to patch many holes. It has never failed me.

Your Mind.  It's a safe place with a lot of room.


  1. Thank you for the little tour and your thoughts on this, Jude. Hits so close to home for me. My best work done sitting outside, I think. And you, carrying back and forth, holding, and stitching on the Lion Quilt to and from and with your dad. I’d imagine that quilt is capable of a sort of softened time travel.

    I’m here and working my way through to catch up.

    • jude

      it’s nice to know that we can sort of time travel here as well, wander in and out…
      That lion quilt was such a teacher for me.

      • Irene Stoss

        I love that you spoke about space and making excuses for not doing something. I sometimes find myself in that predicament. At times I find that stitching in public spaces (like in airports) is easier than at home. There seems to be less distractions even being surrounded by so many people.

  2. I absolutely love your studio, it is you! and love that photo, the reflections hold a promise……
    I do a lot of rearranging and know full well it’s often an excuse to not work, however, it also allows me to reacquaint myself with stuff I have and had forgotten about, and during that process some of my best ideas have popped up in my head;
    I too own a studio and it is one of my favourite spaces, as is the garden, but I also do a lot of my sewing on the settee in the living room sat next to my beloved husband in the evenings
    this is just one of the things I love about the sewing……I can do it almost anywhere

  3. Minka

    Your recording on studio space is quite profound. If I get nothing else out of this course, it was already worth it.

    Years ago I had a blog, Minka’s Studio (which I have since closed). One day, a friend visited from out of state. One step over my threshold, she asked, “Where’s your studio?” I told her, “There is no studio.” But then I turned around and looked at my two bedroom apartment; every spot had something related to my creative activities.

    My apartment remains my studio. It just needs a little decluttering. The clutter has gotten in the way. It’s been a massive project but already things feel lighter.

  4. I raised four kids here and had no space so I sewed quilts on my cheap little machine on my bedroom floor. We all had quilts and that was enough. Now I have lots of rooms with lots of stuff and that is ok too. I paint or draw or knit or sew and stretch out and my house ss full of my stuff. My friend wants me to make a documentary of it. wip. Now sometimes, I feel guilty for having too much stuff but through all of the years that I worked I felt like it was always for others and not enought time or space for me. So I am trying to relax into it. I am grateful for my former self who saw ahead to the time when I could play with all of my stuff.

  5. I love the top photo of your gallery wall superimposed with the trees – magnificent! While we were traveling, I started photographing my work outside and I really love that. So nice to see an overview of your workspace – probably why those Studio Magazines sell so well. We are all intrigued with artists’ studios. I have a new one since we have settled down again. Has taken me quite awhile to make sense of all of it but hasn’t stopped me from working, thankfully, but I think it might have years ago. I can’t even count how many times I attempted to set up a studio and then we were on the move again. When I rediscovered stitching as an art form – I wished I had had that throughout all the moves. So much more convenient to carry around or stick in your pocket than many art mediums. Glad to finally be along in one of your classes after having lurked in your blog for years! Your generosity of sharing thoughts and techniques is appreciated here.

  6. Lou

    Its so interesting to see your workplace and the little scrolls of fabric that I want to carefully take out and explore! I have a little wooden place at the veg patch in my garden, its cosy and when its warm i can open the doors for more light. I am grateful for the space as when i disappear down a creative hole a chaos of fabric quickly appears! I find the minute I step into this space a mental shift occurs, time slows and im ready. But getting myself down there isnt always easy, mental barriers of unnecessary chores or other “reasons” but really sometimes its because i dont always feel able to let the reins off and take some creative risks. I need to see it more like you do, what if’s with no end goal other than exploration or right or wrong… how do you do that?! Those barriers are there whatever space im in actualy. My favourite space is outside among the birdsong.

  7. This is such a great beginning, going back and forward…love this. Ans so timely, what with moving, downsizing and all that.
    Plus, I was just thinking about that whole glasses thing and how my mom went through a phase where she insited on taking her glasses off in photos. xo

  8. Joanne

    I gave up my studio when we did renovations–it had to be our bedroom for 9 months but at the end is now a guest room. I have the sewing machine and the ironing board and the cutting table in the small office room. I work on the carpeted floor. I pin cloth to the wall above the ironing board. My fabric is in the Attic or a small amount in the closet (but never what I need). It is all very difficult. I can see (from your video and the comments) that I need to reclaim my own space.

  9. Jean

    Thank you for sharing your wise words. 3 years ago we moved from a busy urban environment to a quiet area with trees and dramatic skies. I now have a little room with natural light where I have a small table and a few shelves. The ability to see my fabrics and access my supplies has expanded my world and my heart. I feel that storing my things in boxes and in closets for so many years did not acknowledge the value they have for me. My wish for everyone with a creative spirit is to have a little space to let those ideas be free. Thank you Jude!

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