Spring Studio Tour: Susan Wasinger

March 30, 2011, 09:00 am  Posted by needlearts

Welcome back to our Spring Studio Tour series. For the past few Wednesdays, we’ve been taking you on a journey across the country to visit some of our authors. They let us take a peek at their spaces, so we can all see where the magic happens! This week we’ll visit the dreamy space of Susan Wasinger, author and designer extraordinaire. Susan’s latest book, Sewn by Hand, goes on sale out any minute now.

Creativity is just another word for controlled chaos. On any given day, my studio is filled with things to sew, cobble together, photograph, or write about. I have to be comfortable living with many things brewing and stewing and bubbling over all at once. One project overlaps another in this space, and the hardest thing to find is free piece of tabletop. There are large windows or French doors on all four walls. This makes for beautiful light, but it makes storage a bit of a nagging issue.

I try different and unusual ways to “store” things, which double as ways to “display” them. Luckily, the things I work with and need to store tend to be colorful and sculptural and beautiful. My latest yarns are living in wire bird-cage kinda thing. My colored pencils and some wooden knitting needles share an old Japanese teapot. This thread storage idea, sort of a “thread bouquet,” grew out of two things: 1) I couldn’t find one of those nifty wall-mounted spool racks that all the really cool crafters seem to have, and 2) it was the dead of a Colorado winter and I craved color and a sense of floral abundance. Turns out it’s quite practical too, as I can snip off a length of thread without removing the spool from the dowel.

I have a semi-permanent sewing machine corner. The machine stays set up so I can whip something up quickly, without thinking twice, when the creative urge strikes. The old metal bins are from a YMCA.

In summer, I have to throw open the doors and windows of the studio and pull out my 1950’s Singer Rocketeer. This is close to sewing outside, but sewing by hand is the best way to take your projects out in the world with you. (BTW, these bins are projects are from my last Lark Crafts book, The Feisty Stitcher.)

Here is my under-the-stairs fabric stash annex. The crazy railing you see was cobbled together one afternoon by me, my builder, and a welding torch. I do love how it turned out, weird and wonderful just the way I like it.

Mirabelle the Great Pyrenees is my very crafty canine. She makes sure I leave the studio for a hike or a mountain bike ride at least once a day.

I like to buy old notions—laces, trims, cords, braids, zig-zag, ribbon—all kinds of stuff. I go to junk stores, tag sales, and buy “lots” from eBay.

Just me, some thread, a needle, and a little piece of fabric. That is what I love about hand sewing; you can sit down anywhere, anytime, and make something with your own two hands. (Shameless plug for new book!)

The last photo is the view from the studio, east toward the plains, at the end of the day.

Wow, Susan, what an amazing creative space you have! We’re all unbelievably jealous. Thanks for letting us visit.

See our other tours, pretty please – here’s Aimee Ray, and here’s Trice Boerens.


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