Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hen and Chick Studio

Hen and Chick Studio

What kind of Art/Crafts do you do?
My main medium is sewing, and my current favourite things to create with fabric and my sewing machine are dolls. Basic rag dolls, stuffed toys, and more elaborate art dolls. I am constantly interested in learning new techniques and often incorporate those into my sewing. For instance, I have recently learned to screenprint using an embroidery hoop, sheer curtain fabric, and mod podge! (Check out this great tutorial on Craftster). So I've been printing my drawings of animals and people onto fabric and making little pillow toys with them. I also love crocheting and paper crafts like scrapbooking.

Where do you create?

I feel so lucky to have a room in my house specifically devoted to storing all of my supplies and doing my crafting. It was the guest room that I converted to the office/craft room. Not long after that, even the office got edged out. I have a big, eight foot banquet table on one wall where I sew, cut fabric, write and draw patterns, and often dump newly acquired thrift store vintage fabric! I have a separate desk to scrapbook on, and then several dressers and bookcases to keep supplies in.

Even though I have this awesome space, sometimes I feel a little bit isolated from my husband and son, so in the evenings I often drag a bin of supplies to the family room and spread out a bit there so I can enjoy my family. So there is really evidence of a crafter living here all over the house, much to my tidy husband's chagrin.

How do you keep all your supplies organised?
Well, organized is a relative term! I have a big upright dresser for my fabric. I have recently organized that according to colour, in rainbow order, and that helps so much. I keep the large cuts of fabric for baby slings or other larger projects in crates under my craft table, and I have several bins of seasonal fabric (like fleece and flannel) in a few totes in the top of my closet. It seems that no matter how organized I try to be, or how many totes and bins I have for fabric, there are always several yards and scraps laying around.

I love to keep little vintage tins and dishes for storing buttons, pins, spools of thread, etc in. It really helps the creative process to have pretty things to look at while you are creating.

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep your space tidy?
Well, a lot of times I just keep working around the mess, until that moment where I am digging and digging for something and can't find it. Then I snap, and just start cleaning. I keep at it in little starts and fits throughout the day or over the course of a few days, then when I feel satisfied, I go back to making. I wish I were more motivated to just tidy for, say 20 minutes a day and keep up on it, but it's so much more fun to use the time making things!

Any tips for how to keep art spaces tidy or organised?I wish I could follow my own advice and just do a little at a time each day, tidying as I go, but I'll work on that! But when I do get around to cleaning, it really helps to have enough containers for breaking down everything into subcategories. Baskets, clear plastic baggies, shoe boxes; they all do the trick! And label EVERYTHING.

Do you get stressed out when your space gets in a mess?
I am able to ignore it to a point, but as soon as I can't find my pattern, or a seam ripper when I need it, I really do flip out a little!

If you could have your dream space tomorrow what would it look like?
It would look eerily similar to my craft room now. But maybe more windows, built in cabinets and shelves, and hardwood floors. And magical elves to bring me supplies.

Do space limitations get in the way of projects you have in mind?
I took a batik class several years ago, which I absolutely loved. It felt like such a freeing way to express myself. But I can't really do it at home because it's quite a mess, with melted, dripping wax everywhere. And I have to keep my craft room two-year-old-friendly anyway for my sweet son Blake (who likes to use the craft room floor as a Thomas the train convention), so hot pans of melted wax and big hot clothes irons don't really fit that bill! Maybe when he's older, and we get rid of the carpet...

Example of Hen and Chick's Work

What is the next big thing on your wish list for your art space?
I would love more wall-mounted shelving to make better use of the vertical space! But that would mean I'd have to get rid of my pretty ornate mirror, or my big framed Piccaso print, and I don't think I'm ready for that!

Where can people view your work or purchase it?
Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/henandchick
Blog: http://henandchick.blogspot.com/

Example of Hen and Chick's Work

Thanks to Rachel for allowing me to publish her studio photos and for taking time to answer my questions! Thank you!


  1. Thank you for the feature, Ann! You are a delight, and your blog is fabulous.

  2. What incredible taste you have! I am a fan of Rachel's work and I know she's one of the most talented people I've ever met. Thank you for featuring her and for sharing with others how wonderful she is!! I love your blog.

  3. Adorable craft room! And those dolls are fabulous, I love them!! I used to have that same mirror! Or very close at least, it weighed a ton and I loved it. I know what you mean about taking up wall space with useful stuff instead of pretty stuff. The key is to combine the two I guess :/

  4. great things...making a note!!


  5. love the mirror and the dresser!

  6. Great feature, and a really inspiring space. I love the dolls!

  7. I looove the dresser in the second photo! It's beautiful