I am blessed with the most understanding wife in the world, but even she has had enough of painting on the kitchen table, filling the house with the stench of spirit-based paint and brush cleaner. And I'd had enough of trying to do sawing and drilling out on the garden table in all weathers, holding things between my feet and applying power tools in a way that would make Murph wince in anticipation of injury. Luckily, my feet are sturdy, but even I was cursing the lack of a secure table to clamp things too. When Murph suggested (did I mention that she is excellent?) I take over the summershed (it's a summerhouse and a shed in one) and turn it into a workspace, I was instantly grateful and also a little bit guilt-ridden as I have step by step colonised the house with craft shit and assorted tools. Taking over the summershed is the thing I'd love but wouldn't ever ask for. It's a small space, about 2m x 3m but perfect. It had been dominated by a huge daybed since we'd put it up, which was used to read on approximately three times a year and putting it on eBay didn't feel like we were giving anything up. In one weekend the old work table desk I'd had before was dug out of mum's garage, shelves went up (they look wonky but they're actually level, the whole shed is on the wonk) and it was ready to work in. Useless space was suddenly incredibly useful, and a second chair completed the picture.
It's not so much shabby chic as actually shabby, and that fits my working habits completely! No more worrying about spilling paint on the table, and feeling that I can make a mess and walk away from it knowing that I'm halfway through a job is fantastic, and it's definitely helped with controlling the indoor untidiness. Being able to set up a workmate and clamp sheets of wood properly is an absolute delight, and settling down on the rug to drill hundreds and hundreds of holes for giant cross stitch was an awful lot more fun than the daft flowerpot arrangement I came up with last time. I've run power out via an extension lead running along the garden fence, threaded through a door vent into the house so that I can have light and power tools AT THE SAME TIME. Ikr.
Having space to make stuff is something that I've come to value more and more as I've grown up. As a kid, there was always at least one room in the house where you could chop things up and sand things down, but I realise this is a luxury that many, possibly most, people just don't have. Kids growing up in families without a ridiculously crafty parent have probably never known this, and even when they're grown up and have homes of their own it might well not be practical or possible. Particularly in areas of the country where property prices and rents are so high that the entire idea of 'extra' space has been completely lost. This is why I think maker-spaces are so important; they give people the opportunity and permission to use space to be creative and productive. And messy. I have a little 'when I'm suddenly rich' plan to open a range of spaces that can be hired cheaply and by the hour, for people who don't have any room in their homes for the things they'd like to do. I'm a lucky sod.