“Rabbit Ears Art Place” Mixed Media Art Studio Construction Photo Journal - Part 1
This space in the field behind my home, is the future home of my mixed media artist studio. It is playground for rabbits hiding and hopping in the bushes, prompting me to call my mixed media artist studio - “Rabbit Ears Art Place” or REAP. I am so excited about having my own special place to do collage art. It is a 20’ by 30’ space contains a storage area, laundry tub for cleaning brushes, half bath, air conditioning, and heat. All of these conveniences do not exist in my current, makeshift collage art studio located in my garage.
I feel uniquely blessed to be able to build my own mixed media artist studio. To be able to create and play and grow in this new space is a dream come true. I worked with an architect who took my initial sketches of what I wanted the interior to be like. He added great inside features and also outside features. Because I wanted the new building to look like it belonged on the property, its exterior is going to mimic the exterior of the present home. In short, the roof and exterior walls will be the same materials and colors. A pergola will be constructed which is almost like the existing pergola. A patio of colored, stamped concrete will be built.
This is my current mixed media art studio in great disarray. It is a rumbling mess of paint tubes with no good place for safe keeping them; brushes of various sizes stuffed into oat containers and creamer containers; and a work area that is the size of a postage stamp and is covered with spilled paint in all the colors of the rainbow. I find it hard to create collage paintings here and must clean and put away supplies in places where I generally forget where I have put them. There are no logical storage areas. Sometimes feels like everything is melting together. Indeed it has melted together.
With my new collage art studio well under way, I question whether to clean or not to clean my old mixed media collage studio. It seems like I will soon be moving into a new one. Why put away when it will all be moved? But there is still a lot of work to do on the building. The bones are there - good ones, for that matter. But it is not close to being move-in-ready. So I guess I will need to clean one or two or three (or four) more times before I will get my Certificate of Occupancy. Once I get the CO, things will start to fly. Junk and useless stuff are toast. Here’s to the best supplies and equipment I own. Here’s to a good future for REAP.
Heavy equipment in the form of a backhoe has moved in and started to clear the ground of vegetation. The ground level needs built up a bit to satisfy requirements that the elevation of the cement pad be a certain height. Even though I live in a desert, there have been determinations by a core of engineers that a portion of the land may be in a flood plain, thus requiring the extra height. I live close to a little creek called Pack Creek. Even though it has not overflowed its banks in a 100 years, the time is ripe for another flood. Or so they say. And of course the dear rabbits are losing part of their habitat, but there is plenty of vegetation deeper into the boundaries of my property. There also are several acres of dedicated open space to the south where they can settle.
The outline of the size of my mixed media artist studio can be seen. Footers have been dug and blue insulation has been placed in these areas for added protection from cold weather. The areas where the cement pad will be poured is covered with gravel and the workmen have tamped down the ground to compact the soil evenly. Hopefully no cracks will appear much later down the road. Compressing the soil and gravel requires a heavy piece of equipment that literally pounds on the ground pressing it together. The workman controlling this piece of machinery needs strong arms to manage this gadget.
Instead of looking at the mixed media collage studio from the vantage point of my house, this photo looks at the poured cement pad from the other side. The perspective of the pad is exaggerated making it look soooo much larger than my house. The white pipes sticking up from the cement are utility pipes for water and sewer. They are buried in the cement as it is being poured. It was quite a job to get the utilities back to the studio. One trench was dug along the north side of my house for the sewer hook-up. Another trench was dug along the south side and east side of my house for the water hook-up. Pipes were laid along the path of the trench. Instead of having a man work down in the deep trench tamping down the ground, a robot was used to run across the dirt placed over the pipes being laid. This was much safer than having a man work down there where a cave-in might occur.
After the lumber was delivered, work began almost immediately in constructing the north and south walls of the abstract collage studio. The walls were hammered together while it laid on the cement pad. Once the whole section had been built, it was raised by the workmen and nailed into place. Large lengths of lumber are temporarily attached to the walls to give it some stability. We have strong winds in my location with gusts often reaching 30 to 40 mph. Some extra support was needed since I didn't want to throw caution to the wind (hah!).
The east and west walls have now risen on the scene and have been attached to the cement pad with bolts. A layered wood beam stretches across the length of the building, just over 30 feet long. The mixed media artist studio will be 10 feet high at its lowest point and 14 feet high at its highest point. A lift was required to place the beam onto the east and west walls. It was later determined that the beam had to be raised about 6 inches. That was accomplished by inserting and nailing down extra wood underneath the beam. Also, short round posts around the perimeter of the studio on the ground have been poured and formed with tinted cement. This is where the posts of wood will be attached in the building of the pergola. There are seven of these posts and while they are difficult to see now, once the pergola begins to go up, the cement posts will become more apparent.
Plywood is now being nailed to the frame for the initial placement of walls. Holes are left where windows will be placed later on. The rooftop has been constructed on top of a series of many trusses that originate at the top of the beam and come down to the top edge of the north and south walls. A lift was required to place those trusses. Plywood is placed on the rooftop, closing in the mixed media collage art studio. The edges of the roofline are finished with rough-hewn lumber which will be stained a cedar color and left exposed.
Now all the walls are covered with plywood. And the glass windows have been installed. This was a quick process to do nine windows. The openings were very accurate and so there were no problems placing the windows into each cut-out. Some of the windows open by lifting up and some open with sliders. The short cement posts can be more clearly seen. There are U-shaped metal brackets attached to the top of each one. This is where the wood posts will be attached vertically for the pergola.
Inside the studio, the small half bath has been framed in. There will be a lower ceiling for the bath rather than having it go all the way up to the beams and trusses.
This concludes this first installment of my photo journal for the building of my mixed media artist studio, “Rabbit Ears Art Place”. Check back later to see how much the construction of my collage art studio progresses!