Imagine a space where you get to walk in, drop your bag, roll up your sleeves and start creating. Whether on the computer or with your hands, sewing, screen printing, block printing, pouring candles, or packing orders you've got dedicated space, inspiring art on your walls, and a hot beverage and music to accompany you. Most importantly, though, the whole space is steeped in prayer. There's a votive candle flickering, there are alarms set for the Angelus prayer at noon, there's a break in your afternoon for a chaplet – oh and daily Mass and perpetual Adoration are literally within walking distance. This space is real, y'all. It's an office space that I looked at on Holy Monday.
Funny thing is that the Saturday just before, I was strolling through this village with my husband and my youngest child. As we walked down the street, past the building that has this office space in it, I randomly said, "let's look in here; I've wondered what this building was like inside." As we ascended the old staircase next to the H&R Block, I thought, 'how cool would it be if they had a studio space in here for Providential?' We walked around on the 2nd floor to observe mostly empty spots with those super cool frosted glass entry doors that look like they're straight out of 1920s film noir. I saw one door in a corner spot that was illumined from the inside, clearly with natural light, and no logo on the glass. Little did I know that in a few days I would be walking this space with the realtor.
The space is actually two offices connected by an old safe, presumably from a bank from way-back-who-knows-when. I looked it over and immediately envisioned a spot to pour candles, a spot to put my desk/computer, storage for inventory, a spot for my kids to work on school work, and I got excited. It felt too good to be true when the guy told me that the whole space was going for $650, utilities included. "So could I just take this one room?" was my reply as I explained that I didn't want to "bite off more than I could chew," with my not super profitable online shop. The sad truth is that last year took an enormous toll on my business, as it has many businesses lo these crazy times. I hired out fulfillment in early 2021 thinking that it would free me up to create more, and well, it was a disaster. It's a story for another post, but suffice it to say, I'm not exactly in the best of financial circumstances. We also just moved and our house is a total Monet: alright from far away, but up close it's big ol' mess.
"Why the heck are you looking at a rental space, then?" might be the question you're asking. When we moved from Texas to Vermont in September, we downsized our house by half. Currently, we have two teenagers, a fifth grader, and a preschooler under our roof, and with all of us together, it's tight! I have a corner out of which I'm operating, with towering boxes and shipping supplies stacked, along with a closet stuffed with inventory that is, as we speak, bowing on shelves that are not holding up their end of the bargain. Ha. This downsizing was intentional. I didn't plan on firing my fulfillment people. I just needed a desk. Originally, anyway.
After prayer (and tears and a long winter), I've decided that part of my path forward is pulling my candle making back in-house. While it was great having help in Texas with a nearby candle shop that took over the production for me, it's insanely expensive to do long-distance, and the cost of supplies is only going up. I'm looking to get back to my roots: small run, handmade, high-quality, with fun and fresh design. God gave me these gifts and by George I'm not going to face Him someday and say, "oh those things? It got too scary and so I buried what you gave me instead of investing it."
Crazy as it seems, this space looks to me like a way forward. A space of my own to make things, and make some more things after that. A place I can serve people (even have a pick-up option for the two people that live in Vermont and buy my stuff!). Even a place where I can host open houses. Give workshops. The ideas abound. I'm looking at you, New Hampshire, Mass., and CT! Nothing is a far drive around here. I digress...
A few years back, I saw my friend Edmund Mitchell share his Patreon project asking patrons to help him fund a studio space. It inspired me and stuck with me. I was happy to back him, even with a measly sum each month, and when I saw he secured it, I was even happier to be contributing to something that was part of his creative dream. This would be a dream realized for me. It took me 42 years of growing up to be able to ask for something like this, but as a friend/mentor once told me, "healthy people ask for what they want."
Thanks for reading this far! God bless you. If you'd like to be a patron of the studio, please support me on Locals. In return, I'll keep posting content, and I'll give you first-dibs access to limited edition items, studio virtual hangouts, and more things I've got bouncing around in my brain. God has brought me this far, and I'm excited to see what happens next!
Ps. Please forgive the sub-par pics, I was giddy and asking questions.