In our Open Studio Tour series, we step inside the creative spaces of fellow Etsians to see where their process begins. This is a chance to get to know your fellow makers and perhaps find inspiration for your own studio!
What’s your name and what what do you make?
My name is Cara Lynne and I make lovely little drawings and paintings. I also take photographs, bind books, and collect loads of vintage goods. I haven’t figured out which I like most yet!
Where is your studio located?
On the third floor of a big old house in the outer city of Rochester, New York. The neighborhood is bustling but really chill, and there are plenty of woodsy parks for me to roam around in if I get cabin fever.
When did you decide that you needed a studio?
I finally decided that I needed to live my life the way I always wanted to; I needed to make art full time or I wouldn’t be happy. I also needed a studio that was bigger than a computer desk and a pencil drawer. After working in a thrift shop for a long time and hoarding supplies, I quit my job and started putting together this great space. (Oh, and opened my Etsy shop, of course.)
Did you have to make any personal sacrifices to create your studio?
The space is in an attic, so every so often there are bugs and wasps and bats, but that’s a small price to pay for having my dream studio. The first time I ever slept up there, I heard loud screeching, so I turned on a light and had a bat almost fly into my face. Luckily, sleeping in a blanket fort has its advantages (like closing it with blanket curtains).
I’d say the other biggest sacrifice of having this unfinished attic as a studio is that because it so easily gets dirty, I have to keep my camera and book collection downstairs in the office. Since those are big loves of mine, I wish they could’ve come upstairs with me, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Which is your favorite tool in your workspace?
My typewriter! I love creating my to-do lists on it, typing out receipts, proposals, and more. Plus, the pink color really cheers me up.
How many hours do you normally spend in your studio?
The way I laid out the floor plan of the whole room was intended to create a space that I would be eager to come into every morning. I like to think of it as a sort of art installation meant to inspire and make me work harder. I spend most of my day up there, if it’s not too hot. I can be working for a few hours, and then go play Mario Kart if I need a break, and come right back to work. I wanted it to feel like one big comfortable living area, where I could work and entertain my friends and family at the same time, and as evidenced by successful wine and craft parties, I think I’ve done it.
Is there anything you would add to your working space?
I’ve been looking for an overhead projector for ages but haven’t found any cheap ones yet. In college, we had multiple projectors we could use for any project you could think of, and I miss that.
What object in your studio inspires you the most?
If I had to pick one thing specifically, it would be my collection of frames — the one thing (among many) that I always pick up when I’m going secondhand-hunting. Sometimes I make drawings explicitly to go into an interesting frame. Their aesthetic and feel gives me a mood that can inspire certain pieces.
Is there something in your studio that has a great story?
Since I get everything in my apartment secondhand, all of my belongings probably have a great story, whether known to me or not. I think my favorite story belongs to a 1970s brown briefcase that I picked up from a flea market. (It’s one of the suitcases underneath my typewriter). The woman selling it to me said she calls it her “Russian Spy” case because when she received it, it had a tiny Soviet-marked camera and some fake diamonds inside of it, hidden so well that the previous owner probably forgot to take it out. I like to keep a Brownie Holiday Flash and some fool’s gold inside of it now, to keep the story alive.