: Tara Hutchinson
: San Antonio, Texas
Do you have a dedicated studio/artistic space?
Where is it located?
Is it a large or small space?
Always too small. I have a feeling if I had an aircraft hangar I would fill it up with tools and supplies.
What medium(s) do you work in? Do you have a separate area for each?
Mostly I work in silver and gemstones. (see OCD organized gemstone drawers). Naturally, using silver and gems I learned how to solder. Yes, I have a separate area for each of these techniques. Mostly because I like to face outside while working at my desk (where I spend most of my time), and I have the soldering stuff by the sink. Before I had plumbing out there? What a huge pain in the ass! I had to bring a jug of water with a spicket.. I am SO glad I invested in that.
What one word would you use to describe your studio?
What do you think is the best feature of your studio?
It's a blessing and a curse: the fact that it is open to the street. My neighbors think I am not really busy, so they stop by to chat. On the other hand, it has gotten me to become very close with them. When I am on a deadline, I let them know and they usually let me be.
What would you change if you could?
In a heartbeat, I would add heating and A/C. It gets over 100 degrees in San Antonio regularly in the summer time, and fans only do so much. It feels like I am sitting on the face of the sun. But, I am still out there working. In the winter? Brrrrr!
Can you share an organizational tip?
Put things away as soon as you are done using them. The same with cooking. If you clean up along the way, your kitchen won't look like a herd of angry buffaloes came through and stomped around. Another tip:
if you have a huge mess you are trying to organize, spend 5 minutes a day on it. Use a kitchen timer (shout out to mom on that one!).
Describe the usual state of your work table?
At the beginning and end of each day it is clean. This is because before I quit work I spend a few minutes and put everything away - even if I am going to use it the next day. To me it's like going to bed with a clean kitchen.
Does your work table face out into the room or toward the wall?
Towards the street to watch people as they speed down my 30MPH residential neighborhood.
What's one drawback of your studio/artistic space?
That I have to share it with 'Garage Stuff", like the darn water softener, rakes and shovels and my humongous handcycle that's always getting in the way.
Do you have an idea wall or inspiration board?
Does anyone use one anymore? I use Pinterest for everything. What did we do before that amazing website? I do have a large sketchbook that has about an inch of dust on it.
Do you listen to music in your studio? What kind?
Yes, I like things that keep me awake in the morning (doing repetitive tasks like sanding or filing puts me almost instantly to sleep in the morning), and around noon I like things that relax me. Calming classical music or things I can sing along to like Disney tunes. I have a TV installed in the studio that I usually have on when I am not listening to music, and I like watching detective shows.
Do you display your own work in your studio? Other artists' work?
I have a painting of me by artist Ted Cheavens on my wall. I had a kiln posted on Craigslist I wanted to sell, and he was interested in trading a portrait of me working in my shop for it. I LOVE to trade, so I said absolutely.
How did you get started in the industry?
Funny you should ask - I was stationed in Iraq during Valentines Day 2006, while on patrol my vehicle was hit by an explosive device. During the attack, my leg was severed and I lost so much blood from my wounds that my heart stopped for a time. This caused me to be left with a permanent Parkinson's-like movement disorder, which made it difficult to do anything, write, type, eat or any other detail oriented task using my hands. One day during rehabilitation in late 2006, my occupational therapist told me it would be a good idea to take up a hobby that used my fine motor skills. She explained that my brain might re-wire itself, making it easier to live my life. So I started making jewelry. I started with beading necklaces, then I learned about soldering and took a class. Now my movements are smooth and it isn't obvious to anyone that I once had full blown Parkinson's Disease. All of my knowledge is self-taught, and I love what I do, which makes it easier to get up and go to work every day.
Thank you so much Tara! Your story is amazing. And THANK YOU SO MUCH for giving so much of yourself to serve and protect the rest of us.
If you would like to be a featured artist, just shoot me an email at: Melissa@kcjewelbox.com and I will send you the questions and information.
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