Where Women Create — Books

What would your dream studio look like? Would you build a backyard cottage and place your easel by the window overlooking your perennial beds? Would you carve out a corner of your city loft and fill it with industrial storage and a weathered wood work table? Would you sketch designs at the same desk as you craft your projects?

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I find artists studios fascinating. Maybe I’m jealous; I hope that my makeshift workspace on the kitchen table will someday morph into an official studio. Or maybe it’s just interesting to peek at how artists, designers and craftspeople choose to surround themselves, how they organize their spaces and what environment promotes their creativity.

That’s why I think Jo Packham’s Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women (2005, Sterling Publishing) is a captivating read. Here Packham presents the studios of 26 creative women including artists, photographers, craftspeople, designers, editors and authors (including herself).

She relates the personality and style of each artist, describes what’s important to her in a workspace and how her studio came to be. Artist accounts are wrapped in luscious photographs; I felt as if I took a guided studio tour, then sat down for coffee with each woman.

The range of spaces is engrossing. From garden cottages, renovated garages and basements, to a barn, and even a converted ferry boat! And yes, a kitchen table.

I poured over the images of the spaces; the functional and beautiful furniture, the color schemes ranging from soothing neutrals to riotous primaries. The supplies that fuel creativity like eye-catching stacks of fabric and books, rainbows of paint and pens, drawers upon drawers of stamps.

Packham includes advice from each artist about staying organized and inspired; I appreciated the bonus of each woman’s favorite motivational quote. I loved “Leap and the net shall appear,” a Zen proverb shared by Suze Weinberg.

If you too are inspired by wonderful women, by artists and their workspaces, be sure and add Where Women Create to your collection. And now there’s a magazine inspired by the book, check that out here.

We’d love to hear about your dream studio; describe it for us:

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