Folks, 2019 is off to a rip-roaring start! I’ve been hustling my little buns off, as my mother would say, as I move into my first-ever studio space. Active Instagram followers have been following along over the last few weeks (see the behind-the-scenes highlights here) as I got my keys, packed up my craft stuff, and moved it all into the space. As of this writing, there’s still a ways to go, but I can officially work from the space! Let’s take a tour of my little creative corner of the universe, and talk about my vision to build a sense of community in the space as well. (Once a Librarian, always a Librarian, what can I say? <3 )
A sense of community
The Hands Occupied Studio is located at 3323 W Diversey Ave. in Chicago. Near the Logan Square Blue Line train station & the Kimball/Milwaukee/Diversey intersection (and all of the bus routes therein), Chicagoans and Chicago visitors have easy access to the space. While Hands Occupied Studio is where I’ll get my work done, I also invite you to come visit the space (read on for upcoming events!). To start, I want to expand upon the monthly craft meet-ups we did last year at the Logan Theatre.
First up, the Hands Occupied Studio is located in a building with a bunch of other studio spaces, so we have some fantastic neighbors, including other handmade businesses. On Friday, February 1 from 6-10 p.m., my studio neighbors are having an open studio event, so I figured that was as good a time as any to have our official Hands Occupied Studio Warming! Stop by to say hi, check out the Studio, help make a community weaving project as our first official, creative act in the space, and enjoy some refreshments. (My husband has
forbidden strongly encouraged me not to go crazy with themed foods and over-the-top decorations as I’m wont to do, but… we’ll see!)
Starting Wednesday, February 6, we’re going to have a weekly craft night in the Studio from 6-9 p.m. As always, all crafts are welcome, but the nice change – that I know meet-up regulars will be excited about – is the fact that this will be BYO everything! Drinks (adult or otherwise), snacks, and crafts are welcome! If your craft is a little messy, feel free to drop me a line and we’ll figure out how to accommodate it. P.S. The Studio and bathrooms are all ADA-accessible!
Beyond the next few weeks, I hope to start hosting regular workshops in the space too! I still definitely need to finish setting up the space and get in to the swing of things (i.e. catch up on what I’m behind on from the big move), but stay tuned for more on this! :)
In terms of the mundane side of running Hands Occupied, my day to day routine has already been significantly improved with the Studio. The freelance work I cobble together to make Hands Occupied work as a full time job continues to involve more and more photo and video creation. A big gift the Studio gives me personally is the ability to take photos and video in natural light for more hours of the day! I live in a basement apartment (which I love) that’s under 1,000 square feet. And I’ve been working full time from this space, not to mention living here, for almost 2.5 years. A change of scene for the working part of my day has been more than welcome!
Beyond the public-facing stuff, this studio project has been a really great way to get me out of my own head and (mostly) give my hands a rest. As mentioned in some posts at the end of last year, on Instagram here and there, on the Very Serious Crafts Podcast, and in my newsletter, I have a relatively new arthritis diagnosis. I’m waiting on some more appointments and opinions and all of that fun stuff, but the Hands Occupied Studio has been a great place to channel my anxiety about my body functioning differently than it has in the past. At the end of the day, I need to spend less time with my hands occupied with crafts. I’m hoping that building a community around the Hands Occupied Studio will be a beautiful way to facilitate creativity, connect with more fiber friends, marry my dormant Librarian skills with my craft career, and find a way to turn something discouraging into a big positive. Will you join me on this journey?