Why I Have A Home Studio

When I studied at OCAD University, my main studio space was on campus. In the first two years, I was ducking in and out of class studios to use the space when it was free, never really in peace, always surrounded by the noise - either the loud clanking ceiling fans or the crowd in the corner. During the last two years, I was lucky enough to have a dedicated space within the school to create, still around people - our desk chairs bumping into each other and my headphones never truly cancelling out their music. It was always loud, chaotic and I told myself I loved it. 

I am not a ‘true’ extrovert, but I do like being around people. The impromptu conversations, the bouncing back and forth of ideas, or even the quick coffee run that you should have definitely written down their orders for. I told myself I liked the chaos, that I will miss it after I graduate - since that is what all my professors told me. That community helps make the artist, keeps you sane, and keeps you working. 


Truth be told, I did miss it during my first six months out of school. I learned to create in the noise, and without it, I felt lost. I moved into a small one-bedroom apartment, and my studio now consisted of my old makeup table and desk chair, with a few drawers on each side.  There was no one there to bounce ideas off of or to get me inspired by staring at their colour palette left on the floor after a long studio day. I had to rely on myself to get started, and it took a while - but once I did, I never looked back. 

Having a home studio gave me the freedom to try whatever the hell I wanted to. There was no fear of being judged by a third party, because who is going to see it unless I let them. I started to experiment for the first time with photoshop, then printing on fabric, and now looming. I could work at any time I wanted to, and create to any scale - since I did not have to worry about sharing the space. When inspired I could stay up all night, or leave the desk in a mess since I didn’t have to shove all my supplies away to be safe.

It gives me the time to create most importantly. Since my studio is in my apartment, I don’t pay anything extra for it - just one lump bill each month. This means that instead of working five days a week, I can work four at my job and have three days off which always have a big chunk put aside to create art. With no commute, no unexpected studio mate drama, and no chaos. 

My studio space can grow when it needs to or shrink if I’m working on writing. For instance, when I took on Sweet Digs last year, I was able to take over the majority of my apartment in order to create it. I had fabric hanging from the ceiling, over my couch, and even encroaching on my bedroom. My friends were able to come over to help, no guest limit like most studios have, and it was open 24/7. Which was exactly what I needed in order to properly create such a large scale installation and I would not have been able to afford a studio space of that size.

Overall, I have been out of university now for close to two years, and even though I dive in and out of shared studio spaces - I still prefer my home studio. Through it, I learned that my actual favourite studio times at OCAD, was when I would get to school really early and hide out in the corner classroom while no one was around. I would sit and paint without the headphones, and the chaos - and this when I made my best work. Not that it always looked great at the end, but it was the best because I was pushing myself. I tried new brush strokes, or a weird colour palette, heck one time I only used my fingers to paint. I tried new things because I wasn’t worried about what my peers or professors would think, and having a home studio is the same.

So in short, I have a home studio because it gives me total freedom. I can create what I want when I want. No fear of boundaries or pointless limitations set by fear. Just to have some space, and dedicate time each day to it - to grow, and to explore. I make whatever I want especially if it makes me laugh, and I have built confidence in my practice because I don’t worry about peer or society judgement first - I focus on if I like it or not. Plus if I miss the community aspect, I just reach out to my friends and we go grab a coffee and talk art. I’m not saying everyone should have a home studio, but if you have some space and need some freedom then I recommend you try it out. I think you just might like it. 

- Sarah Zanchetta 

My Top 10 Art Books of 2019

The year is coming to an end, actually the whole decade is, and everyone is sharing their favourites from years past. Everything from how you looked in 2010 to your new-found obsession with minimalism is being blasted online. So I thought why not jump on the bandwagon and make a top ten list of my own. But don’t worry, this won’t be a blog that is long and tells you why I’m so much better off now - it is just a list of my top ten art books that I read in 2019. I don’t even want to dive in and tell you my detailed feelings of what I thought about it because I don’t want to wreck the book for you. The books listed below range from art history to self-help to artist-made books (which is an art all by itself). So let’s jump in!

Did I mention any of your favourites? Or is your list completely different? Let me know! I love adding to my library of art books, and the possibilities are endless. See you guys for the next blog post in 2020!

Happy New Year!

-Sarah Zanchetta

Koffler Couture

Last weekend the Koffler Couture sale returned for its sixth year. A crowded maze-like experience was full of designer clothes at heavily discounted prices. The event was hosted inside of Artscape Youngplace, within the Koffler Gallery space. It ran all weekend long, and the earlier you go the more exclusive items you can find - which is why they run a ticketed opening night with: cocktails, appetizers, and DJ entertainment.

So obviously, I went on Sunday - no ticket required, no fancy frills included, just a whole pile of clothes to sort through. Koffler Couture has something for everyone and hundreds of designer clothes. From Prada to Armani to Gucci, there is a lot to look at or if you are like me, be afraid of accidentally touching. As I was running my hands along with the racks of clothes, I stopped at a black and orange dress that had a nice weight to it. However, I jumped back quite a bit when I realized it was Prada and quickly moved on to the next rack.

 I am not one to wear designer clothes, so I did not know what I was looking for or what was considered a good deal. Plus my style is similar to one of a 12-year-old boy, with t-shirts, hoodies and jeans being my everyday staple. So this event is not geared towards me - which made the task a little daunting. Other shoppers came with lists and notebooks in hand, they have already figured out what brands they are after or what event they are shopping for. While I was in the corner looking at men suit jackets with no purpose. 

So if you do plan to go back next year, as I do - here are three tips that would help all of us out.

1. Know your sizes! I have no idea what size clothing I wear, except for that sometimes I wear a medium top or a large. This was not helpful. There are change rooms at the show, but the lines were long and slow - so I was not going to be waiting anytime soon. Other shoppers hid behind racks or shoe stands to try on the clothes on the event’s main floor, which is the sign of a true designer hunter. So to play it safe, come in knowing your average sizes in everything from pants to shoes to jackets. This way you won’t be second-guessing yourself as you stare down that unique shirt, trying to figure out what a 28 means. 

2. Have an event or outfit in mind. If you go in blind, as I did, the racks upon racks of clothes can be overwhelming. Koffler Couture does have a bit of everything from evening dresses to activewear, it sends your mind racing. I had no plan going in, which was a mistake - because I easily got overwhelmed. Did I need a gown? Would I start wearing blazers? How many denim coats are too many? I did not know. However, if you knew you were going after casual pieces to add to your everyday wardrobe then you could easily cut off a large section of the show and make your hunting a lot simpler. 

3. Bring a friend! Or have a friend with more fashion sense drag you there - as I did. You will need mental support, fashion advice, and if it doesn’t fit one of you, the other one can take it home. My bud, and awesome artist, Lucia was the leading force in this event. She actually has a fashion style, came with a budget in mind, and kinda knew her sizes. AKA she was prepared, which makes sense, since she was the one to bring me to this event. But it was great to have a friend along for the adventure - we found clothes for each other, sort through our finds, and in the end, made the lines of the changing rooms feel a lot shorter. So bring a bud, and grab a coffee before you enter because you will need all your energy for this.

I think we stayed at the sale for around two hours, and I found a shirt to take home with me. It is an oversized, zip-up shirt, by Jones New York that I did not try on until I got home - but I love it. Lucia came away with quite the haul, and next year I hope I do too. Would you go to a sale like this? And if so, what would you be looking for?  I want to know! But stay tuned, as I come back next week with a new blog post and check out my Instagram tomorrow to see the shirt I picked up!

- Sarah Zanchetta

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