Those of you who know me outside the confines of this website are aware that since setting up Art on Paper, I have been working from my home at Portland H.Q.
Over the past year, H.Q. has become a bit squeezed as the business has grown into something that can stand on its own two feet. The online side of things has taken off and H.Q. has started resembling a parcel depot rather than a home.
With this in mind, I have been looking for a new workspace that will allow me to grow - space to work, think, and manage all the new pictures I am hoping to find. Deciding where to move to is a difficult thing. Finding the balance of convenience, practicality and inspiration is part choice, and part happenstance. Here was my list of criteria for my workspace:
- protected by a castle (small)
- within 10 metres of a really nice swimming pool
- peaceful but not disconnected from the world outside
- spacious, to allow creative thought and work on plenty of pictures
- good light, with big windows but not too much glare
- good WiFi (so I can keep in touch with you all)
- retail area
You wouldn't believe it, but 10 minutes walk from my current Portland H.Q. is a workspace that meets (almost) all of the above.
Over the past few weeks I have been moving my equipment to this new location and it is proving to be delightful and practical (a rare combination). It is not, perhaps, what might spring to mind as a first choice of location, but for me it is just right. Being based in a private space at my local leisure centre, I can combine my duel obsessions of paper conservation and swimming. My leisure centre (like many things on the Isle of Portland) is a little bit unusual. It is one of the remnants of the navy which used to have a base here. When they left, their sports facility was left behind and it is now run by a charitable organisation. We are very lucky to have a resource like this in a place so small!
It is next door to Portland Castle - which is an artillery fort built by Henry VIII between 1539 and 1541. It may be a little on the small side for a castle, but it is very cute and protects my workspace from pirates when I am away.
Inside, my room is peaceful and calming. Having a peaceful mind is important when working with paper. The work goes at its own pace, and your own day steps in time with it. Rushing doesn’t work, so having a space that is relaxing is very lovely. I am looking forward to settling in to my new space and the opportunities it will bring. As you can see from the photos, it is still a little sparse around the edges, but all of the basics are in place.
As I write this, I can just hear the faint sound of an exercise class taking place in the sports hall, with the instructor urging everyone on. People are so happy to be able to start finding their own daily rhythms again, and it is pleasing to hear it.
From a room of one's own, it is possible to start making plans for the future. The one thing I couldn’t quite tick off my wish list was to find somewhere with a physical retail area. I hope that over time I will be able to create a small display area in my workspace for visitors, but for now, I am content to focus on getting the work done. I will be exploring the opportunities for temporary exhibitions over time to. I am thrilled that so many of my new customers have found me online over the past year, but would also like the chance to show off some of these wonderful pictures close-up and in person.
In the meantime, I will keep seeking out new things to inspire people near and far, and I will keep you posted about what is coming up next!
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