Here in RI we have an amazing amount of old, industrial revolution era mills. As a product designer, I have had the benefit of working in one of these great old spaces for years, at least on a part-time basis. A decent renovation can really give these old buildings a new life. What I like about our old 1884 brick mill are the high ceilings, giant windows, miscellaneous pipes and ducts in the oddest places, and the wood floors that have seen thousands of feet over the years.
Luckily, there is a lot of mill renovation going on around the state; some of it great, some of it questionable. Well, I went to a great one this past weekend in Pawtucket. It was buried in a typical industrial mill complex, but once you got inside…wow! Around 60-70 artists have set up studios of all kinds inside, a real beehive of artistic activity. Painters, graphic designers, mosaic makers, woodworkers, fiber artists…I really must doff my beret to the many artists who opened their studios to the public.
A studio is such a personal space- getting to see how other people organize themselves, what supplies they have on hand, and just generally what makes them tick was fascinating. Thanks, brave people!