Building my Creative Space

The building of my new creative space actually started with a fair bit of destruction!

Designing it was fun. A balance of putting the space to best use, enough window light and doors to make use of the southerly aspect with terraces planned to allow working outdoors in good weather, while still looking good in my garden. I sat with a plan and little bits of coloured card representing my workbenches, storage and seating to see how and where it would all fit in. Always remembering the goal is to have designated benches for the main areas of my business, original art, interior tile, tableware and gift item presses. Plus a packing station away from the main creating area. 

I'd love to say I recklessly tore down the old garage, a job I've been dreaming of doing for so long. However it's not a good idea to do so when said garage is asbestos. Not the really dangerous when broken up sort... but still has to be taken down carefully and removed by a reputable company.
I need to thank my lovely nephew Nicholas Watkinson who came to help me empty the garage, store away all that needing keeping and moving everything else on to pastures new. We got our muscles working with that and moving all the pot plants out of the way onto the lawn. It was only seeing them all together that I realised how many I have. Some are huge and very heavy. Nicholas did do most of that work. Strong man. 


Prepared with head to toe PPE, special bags, plastic wrap and tape we started the removal of the Asbestos sheets on the roof. Soon to be halted by the fact that my garage was entirely built with double layer asbestos sheets with wood shaving in between for insulation. These proved too heavy for us to remove ourselves... so had to call the big boys in. They confirmed that my garage was indeed a very unusual build, with extremely heavy panels. They were wonders and worked extra hours in their day to get it all down and taken away safely. What a relief! It was gone and a happy dance ensued. 

Being a lover of nature and open spaces, to suddenly have the area opened up very nearly made me decide not to build a workshop studio there at all. 


Obviously I did.

Next came the delivery of the workshop/studio in kit form. Enter lovely nephew number 2, Gregory Watkinson and the mammoth painting session to cover each panel in two coats charcoal grey barn paint, moving giant panels around the garden to dry. I've learned that painting it inside and out before putting it up means all the joins are weather protected too, and most importantly the floor. We may also have got a fair bit on ourselves.Probably the most exciting was the pouring of concrete slab. got the professionals in to do this. Did a beautiful job. There was a bit of left over in the big cement mixer vehicle which has to come out.... it was collected inside an impromptu plastic wrap... more on this later.

Building was again done by the professionals, they got it up in super quick time and I started to dream of the finished studio. Seeing the light through the windows and the design on paper coming into reality. Back over to me and my trusty helper Greg Watkinson, its insulation time. It's pouring down outside by now (October 2023), and we're putting the lovely natural wool insulation in. I've used this in another building and it does an amazing job.

Then disaster! the roof is leaking. Doesn't make sense, the builders have done an amazing job, what is going on. We later work out that a new type of insulating roof felt needs warm dry weather to kind of seal to itself, but all we'd had was constant rain since it was put on.
All work had to stop until rain relented for at least a week. Well here in Crowborough it took over four months before we had a completely dry week. It's often commented here that we have our own weather.
Bear dog and I contemplating when we can continue work…..

Dissapointing but now at last the work continues.... I've got the walls lined, just finishing the floor and then to paint the interior.


Remember that extra bit of concrete? Well I took to it with a Jack Hammer to break it apart... I do look a bit like a mad scientist here.

I'll be inspired by the wildlife from the workshop windows too. Hello Mr Fox.


I'm also digging drainage channels, and creating a large patio area for outdoor workshops, by terracing part of my long steep drive. Watch this space for further progress and the grand opening for Crowborough Open Studios 7-8th September 2024, you are all officially invited. I'd love to see you all there. 

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