Laurel O’Brien Jewelry
Last October I made a big leap and rented a real studio! A set of offices outside of my home! For many years I have been working out of a room in my apartment, before that an unheated porch and before that a table in my Dad’s garage. Each space had its perks and I am always grateful to have somewhere to work but none of them had what I needed.
Last fall I realized I had to find a new space again and jumped at the chance to rent a space downtown in Ithaca. The space wasn’t pretty but was affordable, functional and full of potential. I signed the lease, bought paint, put up shelves and got to work. I probably put more time and energy then needed into fixing it up but I was (& still am!) so excited about it! I spend a ton of time working and am grateful to be in a creative and fun space.
Welcome to My New Studio!
The best part has been the chance to spread out and have real designated work areas! As I make each piece of jewelry it goes through a series of processes.
Every step is so much easier and works better in its own space. I have an area for cutting, sawing, grinding, sanding and soldering. I even have a place for shipping! I also have a great little area to make tea and sit.
This is the messy room! I’m taking raw materials and starting the process of making it a finished product. The metal comes in sheets or wire and I need to cut the metal. Everything needs to be sawn, ground, and sanded so it can take the shape of the jewelry.
This is where the jewelry gets the form, texture, and defined shape. I spend a lot of time hammering. The hallway has natural light, which I love, and the hammering is my favorite part of the process so I wanted to use the space that way. I also use the light for photographing the finished pieces. I frequently incorporate gemstones into my work and I want to make sure you can see how the stones play with the light.
It’s not an attractive space but it’s very productive! The last step in my process happens here: polishing and oxidizing. So everything looks beautiful and sharp.
It’s a multipurpose room where I have a counter dedicated to shipping supplies for my Etsy shop and a comfy sofa for working on the Etsy listings and other computer work. At the counter I have little cubbies for business cards, envelopes and polishing kits. There’s cabinets with the boxes and packaging. And I string up a wire for all my ribbon choices!
The sofa makes it feel like you are lounging in your house or a nice coffee shop with throw pillows, blankets, and twinkly lights. Who says you can’t enjoy the space you work in?
I spend a good amount of my time at my studio and it was important to me to have a location to take it easy, rest my feet, and refuel. So I have outfitted my sitting area with a French Press, delicious coffee and tea, mugs made from my local artist friends (Julie Crosby & Hannah Graeper) and many snacks! I’m a sucker for chocolate so if you have any favorites, let me know!
I am loving having space to grow and all the potential new projects that can happen now! I am considering teaching a couple of classes and am hoping to have a pop up sale sometime this spring.