Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Laura Travis Carving Studio

Laura Travis Carving Studio

What kind of Art/Crafts do you do?
I carve stone, primarily limestone, soapstone and slate.
I work with it in assemblage, and I do commission work in relief carving
I also teach stone carving every summer, and I set up a stone studio in each location for a weekend- or a week- at a time.

Where do you create?

I have a post and beam shed I had built on my property. The door in the front is built to the exact height of the back of my car, so I can load stuff in and out easily! I often carve outdoors in my yard, and I take my stone studio on the road every summer to teach people how to carve. So I have set up studios in lots of different kinds of locations, from high school classrooms to the porches of historic buildings to just outside under a pop up tent.

How do you keep all your supplies organised?
At home in my shed, personal chaos reigns! Last year a pack of friends came over and built me a loft in the shed, so I could at least get all my sculpture stands off the floor and gain a little space. It worked out great! Sculpture is a real pack rat’s art form. I am constantly saving wood, metal, chunks of colourful stones, old tools, cigar and other wooden boxes, and pieces of trees and plants. I have a stone pile behind my shed and a fence, and try to keep the really big stuff packed away back there out of sight of the poor neighbours.

When I take my studio on the road, I have to make everything fit into my trusty Honda Element. I use rolling, folding crates I bought for $15 at Job Lot (they only last a couple years and then I replace them) for the tools, and stack the stone in the bottom of the car. My pop up tent is a must. I label student tools with blue tape and my own tools with red. This prevents students from ‘sharpening’ my tools or picking them up inadvertently. At the end of a day of carving, we pack the tools back in the rolling crates and lock them up in the car.

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep your space tidy?
At home, I panic and go into an organizing frenzy when:
-I have an open studio coming up
-Friends or clients are coming over to look at something I am working on
-I am about to hit the road to teach a class
-I have a project I have to finish and show up with somewhere
-It’s time for the annual summer block party in my neighbourhood

For my classes I tend to organize at the beginning of the season. Which would be March. That’s when I have to inventory my tools to see what I need to order so I can have it in time for classes.

Any tips for how to keep art spaces tidy or organised?
I have not special advice on this for my home studio as I am terrible at it. I think it is very important not to inconvenience your neighbours with noise or a big mess, so that was my guiding concept in building and setting up my spaces.

When I am working on the road, I set up a separate table for tools and books and other supplies, mark all the tools, and make sure that the space around each student is a safe distance apart.

Do you get stressed out when your space gets in a mess?
I don’t stress because of mess at all. Carving limestone is inherently messy. I get stressed on the road when tools (or my keys) go missing---but they almost always turn up.

If you could have your dream space tomorrow what would it look like?
I’d like to finish the planned renovations on my HOUSE, so I could have a workable indoor space for assembling and gluing, sewing, and also working with paper and bookmaking which I also enjoy. That would free up needed space in my SHED, and then I would have my dream space!

Sure it would be great to work a lot bigger- but for that, I don’t need a lot more space, just a hunky assistant and a couple more stone bankers set out in the yard. I can pop a canopy up and work almost anywhere as long as I have a sturdy table set up.

Do space limitations get in the way of projects you have in mind?
I love assemblage with papers, paint and small objects and I have to do this in my bedroom right now. I also used to sew a lot more and I’d like to do that too.

What is the next big thing on your wish list for your art space?
If I could finish the house renovations, I would have a place to do everything! I am hoping to get it started in a couple years. The economy real estate thing has kept me from pursuing the plan for now.

Where can people view your work or purchase it?

Etsy Shops: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LauraTravisCarving

Classes: http://campus.digication.com/lauratravis
Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laura-in-middlebridge/
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Travis-Carving/248341248216

Example by Laura Travis Carving

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


  1. Just found your blog through the etsy forums, and I love it! Such fun to see "where people create!"

  2. What a luxury to be able to have a custom studio built!

  3. Laura I so love the first photo of your carving shed it looks idyllic.

  4. loving the shed! makes me want a whole 'nother building for my workspace instead of just a whole room!

  5. what a gorgeous shed!! how i would love to carve stone, i imagine id be terrible at it though :)

    lovely wishes

  6. Thank you all for your kind remarks!

    Perhaps if you have a moment you might stop by MY brand new blog:

    Lots of new developments!
    and thanks again to Amg-Arts for this lovely blog!

    ---Laura Travis