An artist’s studio tour: Behind the scenes of the Wishi Washi studio with Jody Alexander

Posted on October 10, 2013 by in Artists, Craft, Inspiration

A little peak ‘behinds the scenes’ into the studio life of mixed media artist Jody Alexander...  I hope you enjoy.

Jody Alexander

Jody Alexander , Photo by r. r. jones

I asked Jody Alexander (also a member of the Shed with the Chandelier facebook group) to let us have a look inside her studio: the Wishi Washi Studio in Santa Cruz, California, USA.  Jody kindly described the space for us?

My studio is in the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz, California, USA.  The building that my studio is in was a family owned hide tannery for over 100 years. The Tannery Arts Center is now home to live/work artist apartments, working studios, our local arts council and a performing arts center is in the works.  Needless to say, it is teaming with creative energy and activity everyday!

the working studio buildings at the Tannery Arts Center by r. r. jones

Exterior of the working studio buildings at the Tannery Arts Center by r. r. jones

My studio is long and thin and measures 390 square feet. The walls are unfinished plywood and the floor is cement.  I don’t have any windows but I have one interior hallway door and another door, with a window in it, that leads directly outdoors – where I hope there might be a garden someday. It is a place where I can really close myself in and get serious work done or open up the doors and let the world in if that suits my mood.
Panoramic photo taken by a friend at an open studio event Photo by Janet Fine

Panoramic photo taken by a friend at an open studio event
Photo by Janet Fine

From that description you might think that my studio is dark, industrial and sterile but upon entering my space visitors often use the word “homey” to describe my space. I have carpets on the floor, bookshelves along the walls as well as an old library card catalog, flat files, a workbench, floor lamps, and many small, old tables and cupboards that are easy for me to move.  Down the center of the room I have worktables that are used in my workshops that can accommodate 6-8 people. When I’m not in teaching mode I work at those tables spreading out and covering them with papers, fabric, sewing machines, typewriters, found objects and miscellaneous ephemera. It can be a real mess! But, come workshop time I stash everything away and am ready to teach. The tables can also be folded up and tucked out of the way for events or left up and covered with cloth for display.
Since it is a smallish space it is important that it is fairly modular and I can move things around to accommodate whatever I have going on. The back wall is for displaying my artwork and testing out installations.
I use the back of my studio to arrange the installations that I am working on. Here is a sneak peak of me with my latest project: Phinnea’s World. Photo by r. r. jones

I use the back of my studio to arrange the installations that I am working on. Here is a sneak peak of me with my latest project: Phinnea’s World. – Photo by r. r. jones

 What is your favourite piece of equipment?

I have a number of favorite items in my studio including my library card catalog, book press, typewriters and the collection of my grandfather’s old tools. But, my favorite piece of equipment has got to be my 1948 Singer Featherweight sewing machine. There is nothing like sewing on this machine! Her name is Scottie St. Sophie (she was made in Scotland but came to me via St. Sophie, Quebec) and she purrs. She makes a straight stitch only but when I put a free motion foot on I can draw with her. This is probably one of my favorite things to do. So fun!
Scottie St. Sophie, my Singer Featherweight sewing machine, is probably my favorite tool. Sitting down to an old soul, solid machine like this is an important part of my process Photo by Jody Alexander

Scottie St. Sophie, my Singer Featherweight sewing machine, is probably my favorite tool. Sitting down to an old soul, solid machine like this is an important part of my process
Photo by Jody Alexander

 Do you have any objects that inspire you?

Old objects inspire me and my studio is filled with them. They range from things I find at thrift stores and antique marts to items that visitors give me and things I find on the street. I love their history and the quality and care in which they are made and they inspire me to give them new life by using them in my artwork and installations. They include old tools from my grandfather’s workbench, vintage photographs, embroidered fabric, old graph and ledger papers, glass bottles, and of course, books!
 
My grandfather was very handy and I grew up with his old workbench in our garage.  These are some of his tools. Photo by r. r. jones

My grandfather was very handy and I grew up with his old workbench in our garage. These are some of his tools.
Photo by r. r. jones

 What is your daily routine?

I work in a library two to three days a week and also teach a lot so when I have a studio day I come in ready to work. My studio time is fairly focused on working: stitching and fabricating art pieces as well as prepping for classes and making teaching samples. Although it is work, I enjoy it so much it often doesn’t feel like it. My studio is one of my favorite places to be.
I hope that you enjoyed this little studio tour and I invite you to stop by for a studio visit, or take a workshop, if you are in the Santa Cruz area. You can also take online workshops with me at Creativebug.  Some of those videos were shot in my studio – now you’ll recognize it!

Thank you, Jody, for sharing you creative space with us. Find out more about Jody Alexander and her work by visiting her websites and watching this video below.

If you would like more creative inspiration daily, please feel free to come and visit the Shed with the Chandelier facebook group please feel free to leave an comments in the box below.

Jody Alexander Trailer on Creativebug from Creativebug on Vimeo.