A Look Inside the Flossie Willy Studio

Ah, the Flossie Willy studio, it's where all the magic happens. Of course it's not always a magical place filled with unicorns and rainbows. There is a lot of staring at my work up on the wall while drinking copious amounts of coffee and contemplating my next step. But for the most part it is my little oasis where I create fiber art, sew and work on design projects for my freelance clients. 

The studio is located at the back of my 100 year old house, about nine miles west of downtown Chicago. I have filled this 12' x 12' room to the brim. Is it usually messy? Yes! Is there yarn or fabric scraps all over the floor? You betcha! Am I embarrassed by it, no way! I tend to work on several projects at the same time and don't always clean up before switching focus. 

I have rearranged the studio so many times, I've even pulled in creative friends, thanks Sharon and Asia, to help with the layout. I tend to switch things up when I'm about to start a big job. This is a habit of mine that I have been doing for as long as I can remember, even when I worked in an office I was always cleaning my work area before starting a new project. I like to think of it as a way of cleaning the mind of the old and starting fresh, some would call it procrastination, I do not! (I'm laughing to myself.)

In the past I've had larger desks, smaller desks, even a small couch, which I thought would be perfect for midday naps. The couch didn't last long because I just kept thinking about all the naps I could take. 

Oversized desk with ample workspace 

Currently my desk is in front of two very large windows which provide a ton of natural light. The only disadvantage are the cool breezes that flow through the cracks during the cold Chicago winters. Because I do so many different things in my studio, the choice of storage has to work and not just look nice. The red cabinets not only hold up the desk but also function as much needed storage.

My daughter, Ruby, came out to the house a few weeks ago and said that it was great that I have this huge desk, too bad there is no room to do anything on it. I laughed! It's true the desk is a bit crowded with my sewing machine, computer and punch needle tools and yarn taking up every last inch. The sewing machine and loom switch off depending on what I'm working on. I do make it work, so much of my art and design is intertwined so basically everything on the desk is used on a daily basis.

Punch needle pins headed to the shop.

I use a lot of different supplies while I work and I have a firm belief that storage doesn't have to be boring, especially since it's out in the open. I started buying small wooden bowls to store thread, bobbins and pins, it not only brings a little order to the chaos, they look nice too.

The large MCM cabinet in the studio, I thrifted for $25 bucks. It was in pretty bad shape and was a mass produced piece so I wasn't hesitant to paint the interior and the doors. It is filled with some of my favorite, most cherished treasures. There are some pottery pieces from my Grandmother Gigi's house, a handmade book of leaves found at a garage sale, and my favorite design, sewing and craft books. I call it my cabinet of inspiration, if there is something that I hold near and dear to my heart or inspires me, it is in that cabinet.

MCM cabinet filled with inspiration

Most of the rubber stamps, in the photo below, are from an estate sale here in Chicago. The Opal box is a package of gum from our trip to Iceland, to visit our dear friends, a few years ago. The wax polar bear is from the Lincoln Park Zoo Mold-A-Rama machines. I have a whole bunch of wax animals that I plan on making some kind of art installation in the future. The pottery under the glass dome, by the artist Stanley Ferguson, is from a store, that has since closed, in the French Quarter in New Orleans. 

A few of my favorite things

My pocket novel collection began when I lived in Philly. My first book was a gift from a friend titled, One Night with Nancy, it's one of my favorites. The collection instantly grew while visiting my sister, Kate, in Houston. During a walk through her neighborhood, we came across a yard sale with boxes and boxes of vintage pocket novels. I grabbed as many as I could carry, especially because they were four for a dollar. They sat on a bookshelf for years until a I found a bunch of small clipboards at the thrift store and realized they were the perfect size to display part of the collection. And it's a lot easier to changeout the books when you want.

Vintage pocket novel collection

Tucker's dog bed/crate is in the studio, he is always by my side or tucked way back in the crate snoring. I recently bought a modern igloo-type dog bed, but Tucker wanted nothing to do with it. So I put a colorful vintage afghan on top of the old crate and called it a day. As for the chicken, I've had it for a very long time, I like to think of it as the guardian of the studio.

Large doorstop chicken and Tucker in his crate

The studio has a very large cedar closet. My husband built shelves to store my fabric and yarn bins which helps tremendously and creates some order. There is a built-in at the top of the closet with doors where I keep bins of my vintage patterns. There is no photo, it's a bit of mess right now. Every time I clean it up it gets totally disorganized when I start a new project. I'm thinking I need to giveaway or sell some things I don't think I will use, but I don't know about you, but it is so hard to part with things. I have held onto some items for years that I do eventually use. Here's a photo of the door!

Studio closet door

The art on the door, above, is from an estate sale and I love it! It's an artist proof from 1972 and I wish I could read the signature but the last name is illegible. From what I remember the man that lived at the house was an architect and painted as a hobby. The gray and white tote is the Wilma tote from Lotta Jandsdotter Every Day Style book. The lines on the door frame are the kids' heights over the years.

Current sewing projects

On the opposite wall from my desk, there is a rolling rack. It takes up more room than I would like but it is a must have multi-use item. I've made quite a few outfits lately and it's a place to hang them when I have to move away from sewing and jump on another project. The green and white tote is the Wilma tote pattern from Lotta Jansdotter which I sized smaller than the original. The blue and white polka dot dress is the cuff dress pattern from The Assembly Line. The orange and white kaftan is the Esme kaftan Lotta Jansdotter pattern and made from an old duvet cover. The gray linen pants are the Arenite pants from Sew Liberated and the floral maxi dress is the Kiomi dress pattern from Lotta Jansdotter.

Fiber art waiting to get framed

My larger fiber art also hangs on the rolling rack waiting to get framed. And I'm hoping in the near future it will be used as an anchor for some macrame work I plan on doing.

Large punch needle piece and MCM style table

I picked up this MCM style coffee table, above, off of FB Marketplace. I bought it for the sole purpose to encase the large punch needle piece, it fits perfectly. But lately I've been using it to stage photos of my work and another surface for storage.

Soda Pop falling asleep right next to me

Lastly, I had to throw in a photo of Soda Pop, at eighteen years old he is a frequent visitor in the studio. I enjoy when he takes a nap on the chair next to me, but not so much when he wants to play with the yarn I'm working with.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour of the Flossie Willy studio and some of my favorite things. I believe if you surround yourself with what you love, you'll love what you do and it will inspire you everyday.

Nancy, Owner and Designer at Flossie Willy

All the photographs in this blog post are ©FlossieWilly and cannot be used without permission.

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