Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Hi Resolution - A New Year's Studio Meet and Greet" - Welcome to the Studio of "KAREN EMBRY DESIGNS"


I am thrilled that you have stopped by to see my studio!  I've been working on it for a little over a year now. For most of the people that know me, I have been promising that I would have a "show and tell viewing" of my new (well not so new anymore) studio for a while now and it's finally ready! In a sense I suppose that it will always be new in a way, in that it's always a work in progress and I am changing the decor on a regular basis. It simply never seems to be the same day in and day out and that's just what I LOVE about it! It's my studio and it can be whatever I want it to be! I am an artist, designer, author and I love to create! My main focus is licensing my art for product surfaces in the gift, home decor and craft industries. My design studio is where the process all begins...  


This building is actually a really cool place! My studio is on the third floor inside the historic Santaella Cigar Factory. The building itself is over 100 years old has several interesting tales that go along with it.

      
                                                                                    
Would you have guessed that The Santaella Cigar Factory Building used to be one of Babe Ruth's favorite places to visit when he was in town??? The big "Bambino" would pop in and pick up a few boxes of his favorite cigars.Then there are also claims that the old building is haunted. In 2006, Tampa Ghost Watchers studied this building, but they never came to any specific conclusions. Maybe they know the "Ghost Busters"? Anyway, there are those that still say that there is the ghost of an old general that visits the halls from time to time. Occasionally we hear noises and wonder if it is just the sounds of a creaky old building or something else...???



You may ask how I came upon this intriguing place. I was an an art show last fall and overheard an artist talking about her studio space. I was all ears! She was nice enough to tell me about the old Santaella Cigar Factory in West Tampa that was home to an office supply business on the first floor, but the top two floors were studios rented to artists, photographers, architects and all sorts of other creative individuals. I headed over the same day to check it out.

Upon entering the building these are the first floor stairs welcoming visitors to the upper levels.  By the way...there is only one freight elevator in this building... and it is pretty old. So it is only used when absolutely necessary. You will definitely get your workout heading up the sets of steep stairs everyday! The brick on the wall is original from when the building was built in 1904. So cool!





By the time I approached the third floor, I knew this place was going to be just awesome!  Those are original hardwood floors...if they could only talk - what would they say about the history of this place?





      
Speaking of history...I found this great photo that shares the history of the Santaella building with it's workers rolling cigars in the early 1900's. Cigar Factories were a significant part of Tampa's history. Actually, my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother both worked in the cigar factories. Not his particular one, but back in the day there weren't a lot of work opportunities for women in other industries in this area.  





               
OK, this is the room and what I saw at first glance.  I agree, not much to look at.  My imagination kicked into high gear thinking of so many possibilities!  The more I looked at the entire area I began to feel that this would be the new home to Karen Embry Designs, all of my art supplies and so much of the other STUFF that creative people own - which includes a wide variety of "YOU NAME IT" odds and ends.




This studio is the only and smallest space that was left in the building for rent. I didn't need a huge area and besides if you give me TOO MUCH room I will fill  lit with TOO MUCH stuff. High ceilings give it good possibilities for storage space. Lots of work to be done! 




I was ready to transform this place! I brought in my ladder and paint supplies... and my portable heaters! In winter this building gets really cold. Not much insulation and of course there are no heating systems, so each artist is on their own to supply heat and air conditioning for their own individual units.





I primed and painted, and primed and painted... there was quite a bit of old paint in there that I was worried it might have lead in it, so everything needed to be covered with primer first.  The ceiling was a whole other story. There were tiny crevices in between the bead board that needed caulking...and I caulked every nook and cranny! My oh my, did my shoulders and back ache!! 




Once finished painting, what was I to do with these ugly floors? These were the original wood floors to, but the hallway original floors were in much better condition. These floors were a bit drafty too. My first thought was to paint them with outdoor porch paint. That should be durable enough for now... wait, on second thought...what about a carpet remnant?  Off to the flooring store!





                   

Yes, I know - this is some pretty wild carpet, huh? The sales representative at the carpet showroom said they had some problems getting rid of this unusual pattern. Most people would not select something like this for their home, so I got a really SWEET deal on it. I LOVE IT!!! Funky and FUN!!! The studio is on its way to looking much better now.







Now it's time to find the furnishings. I had already scavenged a few pieces of vintage furniture that I found out in the halls when one of the other tenants was disposing of it. It was a couple of pieces of old furniture - a dresser and desk and I had some ideas of how to revamp it a bit and add personality to them. 


BEFORE...




AFTER!

You can see now that the room is being transformed. Adding in my personal effects and equipment is making this more like a studio home.



A collection of my art on the walls and samples of my licensed art add some interest to the room. 



This is the creative space that includes my desk and supply of necessary creative tools. (I told you I had lots of STUFF!)  The cabinet on the left was donated by friends - I also changed the knobs on this piece of furniture and added some check stripes to the top edge. FUN!





This is the view as you enter my studio...I wish it was always this neat! I only have the one window, but I have a nice view of the Tampa skyline that includes Tampa Stadium and downtown Tampa - plus my studio is only about a fifteen minute drive from home.




I found this corner shelf at the thrift store - it was only $19.00! Can you believe it? It was perfect for this space! I covered the inside shelves with some old scrapbook papers to make it look a little more vintage. I think I have found a way to combine whimsical and vintage. It's a little unusual, but I just LOVE the look!! I guess I could call it "whimtage"???? 




And of course what studio would be complete without a chandelier? It was a rescue piece and came from the Webster flea market. It used to be just plain white and no frills. I painted it bright gold then added the strung pearls, beads and hanging glass charms that I found at a yard sale. My daughter added the finishing touches with hand-made lace roses and lime green tulle. Pretty!!!!




 Buttons and beads...




 Glitter and flowers...




 Magazines ...




Vintage tin with collected baubles...




   My handmade jewelry designs and mosaics too!




 Acrylics...




 Gouache...




 Brushes...




and Books.








Ah yes, every studio needs a studio cat...




Thank you for visiting the studio of Karen Embry Designs. I have had so much enjoyment in creating an environment that is truly an inspirational place to create and design from my heart. I hope you enjoyed the studio tour and journey. It was really quite a progress from start to finish and I wanted to share it all with you.

I wish you the best for the NEW YEAR to come...much health, happiness, love and all of the good things in life!

Thanks also for following our "Hi Resolution - A New Year's Studio Meet and Greet" artist/designers blog hop.    

Hop over and visit my talented friends as they welcome in the New Year with a Studio Tour-


To go back to the last artist studio you visited click the Hop Backward arrow below:

  
To go ahead and visit the studio of the next blog click the Hop Forward arrow below:

30 comments:

drooz doodles said...

beautiful!
so happy and bright... and i just love the history on your bulilding! My studio will be feature in WWC May issue! ( i see you have a stack of the magazines there!)
thank you for sharing!

Devid Cena said...

Hi,

I read you blog.I am really appreciate for this. Thanks for sharing the value able information. we are also deals with paintings for more visits-:

www.artistpainting.net

Beth L said...

Fabulously whimtage for sure. What an amazing transformation Karen you've created such a perfectly personal space!

Phyllis Dobbs said...

I loved seeing the transformation of your studio from the rough to a diamond! Very Inspiring!

Shelly Comiskey said...

Karen it is PERFECT!!! It is so YOU!! I remember when you found the desk in the hall! Your artist heart comes through in every corner! LOVE IT!

joystudio said...

Hi Karen - Wow, what a wonderful old building! It seams a great place and well suited for an artist's studio space. Also, a wonderful correlating connection story with your great grandparents. I was delighted to read about the transformation and see the results of your hard work. Yours is only the second blog that I've had time to see this morning. Glad I stopped by, nice job.

Barbara Johansen Newman said...

LOVE the color everywhere!!! I would never be sad in your studio; those are happy colors! But how do you stay so organized????

Barbara Johansen Newman said...

Karen, your studio makes my eyes happy! I love, love, love the colors! Now I have to ask you, since I also work in an old building: do you ever hear ghosts like I do sometimes?

Sharyn Sowell said...

Wow, I was dying to see this amazing studio after hearing about how you were going to work on it. You could not have done a more colorful space- you could go into interior design, it's so well coordinated and functional and just lovely. Great studio, Karen!

Brenda PInnick said...

Karen, your new studio is beautiful! Such a creative space and so colorful! LOVE IT!

Casey said...

Hey Karen!
This is Casey, Shelly's daughter. We met at Surtex a couple years ago, and I just wanted to let you know I loved the the little history of Tampa!! A friend let me borrow 'Cigar City Mafia' and its was so cool learn the history involved with different buildings I see all the time. LOVE your studio and also your studio kitty!! Hope you have a wonderful new year neighbor :)

Candace Jedrowicz said...

You had me at your fabulous logo! It speaks to my soul!
Your studio is wonderful!
I work for cool2craft.com and the coolest part of my job is featuring other folk's work! I'd love to share this post! Check out my page: http://www.cool2craft.com/creative-play-muse/ - And my email is candace@cool2craft.com

Aaron Christensen said...

What a transformation! You can see it's been a labor of love. You have so many great things happening right now and I can't help but bet your super creative space has you inspired and motivated.
Well done friend, well done!
Thanks for hopping with the peeps!

Joyce Shelton said...

Fabulous, Karen! Now I definitely need to drive over to Tampa for a lunch date!

Marty Qatani said...

Very cool... you put a ton of work into it too. The person who gets after you, if you ever give it up, is going to be pretty lucky.

Paula said...

Beautiful Karen-love all of the colors. The history of the building was very interesting, so glad that you included it.
P

sue z said...

This blog post with pictures was really amazing, I love learning about the history of the building, and I really enjoyed seeing the process. What a beautiful environment thank you so much for sharing this, congratulations on your wonderful new studio, LOVE IT!!!

Samantha Walker said...

Karen, I love your space! That carpet is fabulous! I love the details in all your whimiscal pieces! You must be so happy in such an inspiring space. Thanks so much for sharing!

MB Shaw said...

Absolutely fabulous!! I thoroughly enjoyed your Open Studio. Thank you so much for sharing :)
And Happy New Year!

Terri Conrad said...

Hi Karen, how fun to see the whole process of finding the studio to it now being filled with your creative spirit! Fun Fun Fun!

Terri

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Thank you all for the studio tour. You and the other participants have wonderful studio spaces. I totally enjoyed visiting each space. I will be adding a link to your tour on a post of my studio organizing blog within the next couple of days. I have been neglecting the blog readers for too long and this may help make up for it~lol. Congratulations on all of your licensing successes!

Chris Chun said...

Wow - loved seeing the studio transformation. Thanks for sharing Karen. I'm also looking at moving into a studio outside home for the first time so this is very apt and inspiring.

Sherri Blum, CID said...

Wow! You really had a great vision and transformed that space so beautifully! I once had a studio in an old Victorian home and loved thinking about the history of the space when I worked. Your space would certainly have stories to tell! I loved every nook and cranny of your studio and really enjoyed seeing the transformation. Thanks for sharing!

Eunice K. said...

So fun to see the process - especially since it's in hometown! I'm a tampa transplant now living in nyc. Tampa has such a rich history that most people dont know about it and you get to experience it every day when working. Thanks for sharing!

cameronkellyrosenblum said...

Wow! I'm on the Meet and Greet tour and I am amazed at how you transformed that studio space. Truly inspired! Thanks for letting us peek. I feel like I'm getting a little museum walk this morning without leaving my chair.

Karen Embry said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments on my studio tour. I apppreciate EACH and EVERY comment you have left here as I know we are all very busy and the fact that you took the time to post a comment here means a LOT to me. So - thanks again and I wish you all the good things in life for the coming new year!

quietjournals said...

I love it...even the spooky part....and you really help explain ME!....I have tried so hard to be "adult"....this whole trip to everyone is making me feel so "normal"....bless you all!

Barbara said...

Karen, FABULOUS!!!! I had a grin on my face from start to finish. I know I'm way, way late with this, but thank you for sharing. You know I'm a big fan and I knew it was going to be awesome as soon as I saw that you were doing it. Congratulations!

Renée said...

Wow, I stumbled upon your blog by pure coincidence and have been stuck here for 20 minutes already. How awesome is your blog and what a fabulous studio you have. Love the studio cat :)
Thank you for sharing.

Debbie said...

You studio looks so amazing!!! I am so looking for a bigger place with character for The Craft Shack...not much to choose from in the north Orlando area!