Let’s take a look at the Selkie Patterns studio! We still have some bits to complete, but we will give you a tour of the way it is now. You will see some leftover materials from the build in some of the photos, as we had to build a few walls from scratch and we built some of our furniture ourselves. We don’t work in a beautiful glamorous office, but it’s ours and we love it. It’s perfect for a small start up like ours and gives us the space we need to create and play.
We moved into our studio at the beginning of June and it’s an old industrial estate in South London right next to a beautiful park. It currently houses 70 studios, mainly occupied by painters and sculptors. Its future is uncertain as there are building plans in the works, but due to community resistance nothing has happened so far. Fingers crossed!
To start, we actually built four interior walls to section off our studio. We have two spaces next to each other which gives us 30 square metres (323 square feet), and the only existing wall was a back wall. So we enclosed our space by building the remaining three sides from scratch, and then painted the insides. It took the two of us about a week and a half to make the open space look like a studio. It was a daunting task before we moved in but once we got started, we got really into it! The original back wall is pretty tired and not pretty to look at and will actually be replaced by the studio management soon.
We also custom built our own pattern cutting table (IKEA units, MDF wood and wheels) and we put together the long shelving unit at the back. You can read exactly how we made the cutting table in one of our newsletters. We are very happy with it as it’s nice and big at 2 m x 1.6 m, one person can move it because of the wheels, and the storage underneath means we have maximised the space. The shelving unit houses almost everything we need: we have samples of all our own fabric designs, fabrics for sewing samples, plain fabrics for sewing toiles of new patterns, and a box for whatever pattern we are currently working on so it can be put away without pieces getting lost. We have some books on sewing and design, painting supplies for painting fabric designs, cutting mats, paperwork, pattern cutting supplies. We have a big roll of pattern paper that we roll out on the table for pattern cutting.
Inside the pattern cutting table we currently have a mash up of things, but we mainly have tools, a box for each of us for any personal belongings, and manuals/guarantees on equipment and machinery.
We have a big wooden desk that we took over from another business, which is a bit of a flexi space at the moment: Alexandra uses it for painting and Caroline uses it for sample sewing. The desk houses packaging materials and the hand painted master copies of our fabric designs. The machines we use are sponsored by Husqvarna Viking. We have two Opal 690Q sewing machines and one Huskylock overlocker that we use for sewing all our samples, toiles and projects.
Handsome studio assistant Liam!
We have two smaller desks that face each other which is where we do laptop work like writing the blog and the newsletter, bookkeeping, emails and customer service. We usually start the day here so we can catch up and make a plan for the day. This is the area of the studio that’s covered in post its, pens, notebooks and coffee cups. And also the area of the studio with a blindingly empty wall, which we will make up something fun for eventually.
We have an extra high ironing board as we’re both fairly tall, a rail with samples and pattern master copies, a mannequin, studio lights for filming and taking pictures. We have a big wall calendar with a wipeable pen for the whole year by a great company called Kikki K, run by a Swedish designer. This company makes lots of great products to organise and inspire your life. It helps us get an overview of the year and look at the year as a whole. We are still missing a mirror and we have an old trolley ready to convert into drinks/snacks cart! We also haven’t got a proper set up for sewing threads and accessories.
This is our recycling station by the entrance: in the studio we have general waste, recycling and we have a fabric scrap bin. In the communal kitchen we also have food recycling.
That’s the tour for now! We will take you around again when we have upgraded our space a little bit, but this is where we work for now. It’s great being surrounded by other artists and being so close to the park: we make a point of having lunch in the park every single day and don’t talk about business during that time. We never thought we would have a studio space so early on so we are over the moon to be able to physically go to work and have great working days together, creating new products and new content.