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New Studio Updates


Hello again!  I've been on what has turned out to be an extremely long hiatus from this little spot.  Much has changed in my life over the past few months (for starters, I live in Nebraska now), and while things are a long way from normal, I'm starting to feel ever so mildly settled and ready to resume some of my once-regular routines -- beginning with some very important updates!


These windows?  They are the gorgeous and quite intimidating display windows at the building that will become a studio and shop for book and paper arts.


The building was constructed in 1904 and is about 1700 square feet.  It needs a new roof and some tuckpointing, and we'd like to reinforce the joists in the back of the building in order to hold heavy presses and to refinish the hardwood floors.   So, you know, some minor construction to deal with in the near future.  Of course, there are the less essential updates that I am also dreaming about...

wallpaperThe black wallpaper in front is part of Rifle Paper Co.'s new line and would look smashing in the space.  The gold floral I'm envisioning for a small office in the back of the building that will be my calligraphy studio and office.  Unfortunately, the drywall is textured, which means that the walls should be skim-coated before adding a paper.  The thought of this makes my heart sink -- it sounds like messy, repetitive, and extremely lengthy work.  Woohoo!  Just what you want more of when renovating an old building. With my kids' preschool schedule right now, I have about ten hours at the building each week to get some work done, so I've been focusing on getting the trim painted while I wait for estimates from roofers, plumbers, and electricians.  The trim was a red that blended in well with the walls, and I'm painting it to a warm black that makes for more dramatic contrast and a classic palette alongside the brick and wood floors.  Eventually, with lots of brass hardware and metallic gold touches wherever I can stash them.  It is so hard to be patient with the process. In other news, I have acquired two presses that will be the backbone of the businesses I envision moving forward.  One press -- the Vandercook 3 -- will live at the building.  The other -- a Heidelberg -- was just delivered to my garage last week.  And there she sits.


This particular press requires a 220 volt outlet, so there's more waiting for electricians I'm doing at home.  Printing has yet to commence among all of this and may not yet start for a while, but I am inching closer, which makes me very happy.  And after an intense thesis year, I am trying to appreciate the slower pace for now, the necessary preparations, and -- as painful it can be at times -- the anticipation.


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  • Laura on

    Colleen! Somehow I missed seeing this comment when it was posted. Thank you — it does feel exciting but also like I could develop an ulcer at any point. I’m not getting to work on it as much as I’d like to at the moment, so I think it will all feel better once we start to dig in a little more after the new year. I’ll post updates along the way, and I’ll develop a Facebook page for the business when I’m ready for that. I hope you’ll come visit someday!

  • Colleen Lawrence on

    Laura! This is so, so exciting. I had no idea you were undertaking such an amazing project. I want to hear more.

  • Karyl Smith on

    Wow, finally – I have been checking this daily, and am so glad to see this new post!!! I can’t wait to get a tour, and see what you are doing to the space!

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