Sheds, huts or worksheds and their contents have fascinated me for as long as I can remember and a studio, as far as I see it, is a grown up or fancy name for a shed.
They ultimately serve the same purpose don’t they – if you pull back the curtain of pretence.
One of my oldest memories is of standing at the door of my dad’s very full hut and being fascinated.
The thing itself was nothing special, it was sun worn orange (it was the 70’s) and it sat at the top of our small garden. The contents of it though, to me, seemed very special.
I wasn’t allowed to go in, I could only stand at the door.
Little jars full of small things were attached to a shelf under a long sunny window. Strange objects were all over the shelves, machines and tools were tucked in corners, bikes were crammed in so that you couldn’t just walk inside even if you wanted to and there was always a subtle warm smell of wood planks, oil and metal.
It was like a sweet shop for the imagination, of things I hadn’t seen before and I wasn’t allowed to touch. What more of a magnetic pull can you create than telling a small child they aren’t allowed to touch?
It had the feel of creating, of making, organised chaos and dreaming.
It was the place you could go, it seemed to me, to ‘do stuff’ but not regular boring grown up stuff, it felt like you could do anything.
Play, but with much more interesting looking toys. Create new stuff and take chances, but in a world that felt so cosy, familiar and welcoming. It was a place for fixing and mending and for breathing new life into old things.
Those memories were always of sunny days that carried an air of subtle, gentle ambition and unknown promise and potential.
Someone’s small castle. My Dad’s.
There were also other sheds and huts in my formative years that equally fascinated me as they served different purposes that seemed to match the people who ruled them. They were always the kingdom of someone and usually only the one someone, who were usually very particular about who could enter their territory.
There was ‘next door’s’ shed. Dark green, a bit tatty and always in the shade of a tree. That was a shed I never got to fully see inside but I did every now and again see what came out. It was crammed with ‘antiques’ or tat if you want to see it that way, but to the owner it was all treasure. That hut was a store for history and memories – or so it seemed to me looking over the fence.
Then there was the very practical hut. My grandad’s.
Very uniform, it was put there by the council, at the back of also very uniform pebble-dashed terraced council houses that all had the same kind of hut in the same spot in the same sized gardens all in a row up the steep hill.
Sandstone brick – big enough to put what you needed in there but no more. No room for extra dreams but enough to see you through. Solid and strong, nobody was going to get in there and nick your gardening tools.
But although it was economical in itself, it was attached to a garden that was purposely designed for growing veg and so was the gateway to that kingdom.
A tiny field of dreams, hope and sustenance with space to build a little cold frame, made of found windows, that held the tomato plants which were a treat if you cared for them enough and got lucky. There was also a patch big enough to hold the sweet annual delicacy of home grown strawberries alongside robust potatoes and cabbages, the normal staples of that particular life.
So why workshed.studio?
I wanted a name that defined nothing but allowed everything.
Titles can confine, restrict and oppress. I wanted something that would remind me of those little buildings of dreams and possibilities, and that would encourage me to do anything. To play. To try. To dream. To just do stuff.
Worksheds, when you go bigger than the back garden versions, are also places of industry, of day to day maintenance and of mysterious activities you only see the end result of.
Worksheds, sheds, studios, huts – are anything you want them to be.