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Justseeds Studio Visit with Meredith Stern

November 21, 2013

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Here is another Justseeds studio visit, in which I ask coop members to describe their current studio and to talk about their ideal workspace. This time with we visit Meredith Stern in Providence, RI:


My current space is something of a cross between an extremely organized contemporary drawing studio and an early 20th century reading room. I’ve got dark curtains over the windows during the winter to keep the heat in (and unintentionally, all sunlight out). The area is very open in the middle, with small areas around the periphery for several of my main practices which includes Dj-ing, writing, sewing, and block printing (which happens by hand without the use of any machine presses). I generally carve linoleum on the floor rug, where I have the most open space to sprawl out and avoid hard surfaces. It seems to be where I gravitate to, even when all my desk areas are completely clutter free.

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My “flat file” which is actually just a large portfolio, lies underneath my printing table. Said table also has a couple large shelves which houses scraps of old and damaged prints, which eventually turn into collages. Above me is a wire lined with clothespins, where my prints hang to dry. This is a system I learned from Alisa in Third Termite Press in Pittsburgh, Pa. I also incidentally have a closet which comes in handy where I toss anything I just don’t know what to do with. Old linoleum blocks, hand sewn outfits, fabric scraps, a punk show flyer archive collection from my high school years, my old journals, as well as unwanted paperwork all reside in this small dark closet.
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Every morning I have a simple ritual- I drink one cup of home brewed coffee, cut by 50% with soymilk and laced with 2 sugar cubes. I sit in the studio drinking the coffee for at least 15 minutes, plotting out my plans for the day. Generally this involves spending at least half my day in this room- the other half is sometimes spent in my ceramics studio, which lies in our basement. Currently I’ve been listening to the Skull Defekts record “2013-3012” on repeat on my turntable, occasionally interrupted with an oldie but goodie: The Dog Faced Hermans “Bump and Swing” LP.
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My current set up is cozy; I’m surrounded by artwork made by dear friends, photographs of family, and with much written and audio material to perpetually inspire. I do miss working shoulder to shoulder with other people, in a communal studio setting. I somehow can focus more when I’m engaged with others. I also yearn to use printing presses, to get a more consistent inking of my plates, and be able to use thicker paper which can hold a deep impression from the weight of a press. I wouldn’t change anything in my home studio, but rather, I’d love to also be working regularly in a print shop; to be around the people and tools which inhabit those spaces. The exchange of ideas, energy, and expertise which lives in community is what is missing from my home studio space.
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