As a person who loves to sew, it’s likely that your physical space is going to challenge you at some point. Sewing involves a bit of equipment, and the very process itself requires room to spread out. It can be difficult to find a place for such a spatially demanding form of creativity!
Areta, our Sample Sewer, works in our current sewing room
But beyond the physical requirements, there are emotional and mental aspects to consider when it comes to space. The very act of setting up, getting out your machine, organizing your materials, remembering where you were, getting in the zone, and feeling good while you sew are all potential mental barriers to sewing; they’re also influenced quite a bit by your sewing space. If you’ve ever given up a quiet evening of sewing because all the rigamarole seemed too daunting or your space was too chaotic, you know what I mean.
Our spaces influence our minds and feelings in all kinds of ways, big and small. And whatever influences our minds and feelings obviously influences our creativity.
As we begin the process of remodeling our own studio, I began to wonder how we could design this space not just for functionality, but to maximize the positive feelings and sense of flow that lead to creativity. Functionality (not to mention budget) is obviously still a big concern, just as I’m sure it is for you in your own creative space. But how could we also create a place that inspires us to come up with new ideas, work hard on those ideas, and have fun doing it?
How does creativity feel to you?
Our first step in designing a creative space was understanding how we wanted to feel in it.
“I love that we have a strong sense of team in our company and that we all genuinely care about each other.” -Farrah, Graphic Designer
In the case of our studio, we have multiple people all using the space for many different purposes. We’re not just talking about sewing, although that’s the heart of it. At various times, we also might collaborate together, film videos, take photos, eat lunch, work quietly, enjoy a cup of coffee, or read a book. In your own creative space, you might have several purposes too—cutting, sewing, perhaps sitting quietly and sketching, or digging through your stash.
Before considering all the functional requirements, which I’ll talk about more in the future, we wanted to define some unifying themes. How did we actually want to feel in this creative space?
In talking with everyone here, some words popped up again and again. I asked people what they valued about our office and how they wanted the space to make them feel. Terms like “calm,” “soothing,” “purposeful,” and “beautiful” came up as people described an environment with spaces to relax, retreat, and focus.
On the other hand, words like, “motivated,” “energized,” “connected,” and “excited” also came up. I began to realize that it was this balance of energy that was important in this multi-use space. We needed a space where people could focus quietly, but also a place to connect to each other and this community. We needed a place to retreat and relax, but also a place to feel energized and come up with ideas.
You undoubtedly don’t have the luxury of creating multiple creative spaces, and you don’t need to! Even if all you have is a closet or a dining room table, you can still consider how you want to feel each time you sew, sketch, or create.
By considering what sort of energy you want to bring to your sewing practice, you can begin to create more intention around your space. Try listing off a few words that describe how you would like to feel during your creative time, whenever that is. Do you want to feel excited and energized by sewing? Is it important for you to feel calm and relaxed? Or are you seeking a balance, or one that switches depending on your mood?
Setting intentions for your space
Once we thought a bit about how we wanted to feel in order to be creative, I found it helpful to set a few simple intentions for our space. As we continue to design the environment this year, we can return to these intentions again and again and, along with our functional needs, use them to make design decisions.
Sienna, our content producer, loves that the studio is “clean and inviting” and also soothing and full of natural light and soft music. “I really feel like I can get to work here.”
1. Spread creativity. This is our purpose as a company, and our space should reflect that. Our studio should always inspire us to bring our most inspired and creative selves to whatever we’re doing.
2. Create intimacy. Relationships are at the heart of what we do, and we want to maintain strong relationships with each other and with this community.
3. Balance the energy. We need our space to allow for high energy and joy sometimes, and focus and calm at others.
By first exploring how we want to feel in our creative space, we’ve been able to get some insight and set some intentions that feel right for us. Even if you aren’t redesigning a large space, you could use this practice of setting a few intentions to guide you through making small changes to your space. Who knows? A little casual reflection may even be the motivation you need to clear off your cutting table or organize your stash!