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Fiberarts Studios


DeAnna Brandt
Excelsior, Minnesota

Flexibility, functionality and community were the key issues when I designed this space about 10 years ago in the lower level of my home. I work in many mediums wool for felting, fabric dying, yarns, paper, leather, metal, glass, wood, rock slabs and stones for mosaic work (a lapidary saw sits on the counter next to the sink) and the studio needed to adapt to whatever project and materials I would be using at any given time.

Even though I enjoy working alone, relationships and community have become most important to me. Because of this, my favorite aspect of the studio is the 5x6 foot rolling center-island workstation. Its built around two 5-drawer flat files and equipped with electrical outlets. A flap along one side flips up to provide extra work space, and it moves to accommodate another 3- by 5-foot table, which allows me to host up to five other artists, friends, or friends-that-I'm-helping-to-become-artists.

As we work on our own projects simultaneously, we often provide valuable feedback and brainstorming to each other as we go. I enjoy encouraging them and have a significant stash--also known as my S.T.A.B.L.E. (Stock Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy)--that I can pull from to help them with that special something they may need to complete their projects.

The studio has a cement floor warmed by the heat duct beneath it and a floor drain. A six-foot-long photography sink is used for wet felting/dyeing/cleanup/etc.

There are five workstations for myself and visiting artists to use, one of which doubles as a photo studio. Full spectrum lighting and built in speakers keep the atmosphere creative and fun!

My stash of fibers is stored in 66 clear plastic totes stacked on shelves in a giant 16 foot wide closet. The two 8x8 foot sliding doors serve as a design wall and tool storage. There are seventeen 30 wide shelves for books and magazines. My duct tape body doubles are mounted on casters to move about the studio.

Many things inspire and influence my work, including my two teenage boys, who volunteer their opinions often, colors/textures/shapes found in nature (mostly trees/wood and rocks--the two large windows in the studio look out over mature trees and a lake), magazine and book articles (the bookcases are chock full of them, all organized by medium used), vintage tools that are hanging around my studio (I have respect for those artisans who have gone before me), colors and textures found in textiles/yarns, my collection of molas and shibori from other artists (a few scraps from Carter Smith hang on my design wall), and visual patterns found all around us.


Studio photos: DeAnna Brandt.


DeAnna Brandt, Last of the Wild Ones, 2004; wool blanket scraps (original blanket designs by Lauri Jacobi); scraps sewn onto a base fabric, patterns free-motion stitched every 1/2 inch over the entire quilt; 8' x 8'. Photo: DeAnna Brandt.


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