Setting up a workshop space

I’m taking a deep breath and setting up a space to offer classes and
workshops in a range of media. I’ve been an artist all my life, and
do papermaking, printmaking, fiber art, drawing, painting, etc. in
addition to jewelry/metals.

I live in a very rural area, and there are few art classes, and none
in most of the things I do.

My plan is to set up the space so it can be used for a range of
media, with just a few areas set for certain things (like a soldering

The setting is a small building my in-laws had built as a place for
their daughter from out of state to stay in when she visited, and is
next to what was their house, which I now rent out, and across the
pond from my house and studio. This will give me separation from my
own workspace, which I really don’t want to share!

It will also give me a space where I can have my work available for

Any tips, suggestions, do’s and don’ts would be most appreciated.
I’ve been following the tools for clubs thread with interest, and
like the idea of painting all of my workshop tools a very noticeable
color :wink:

My plan, given my market, is to equip the workspace with basic
tools. Most of the students at the classes I have taught in town want
to do what I call “make and take”, and come, take a class, leave with
a finished product. They aren’t interested in purchasing their own

I’m also working with an area arts commission which has a tourism
grant, and we’re trying to set up some art weekends in conjunction
with area B&B’s and restaurants, where folks could come from the
cities, and have a weekend in the country with B&B for two nights,
restaurant dinner each night, and 1 1/2 to 2 days of art workshops.

So any feedback is most welcome!


Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio


Really good idea to find out about insurance. Not worth any
possibility of a lawsuit for injury, or a slip and fall, ect. Protect
yourself. I was the defendant in a lawsuit when making a wholesale
transaction to a first time customer in the back of my store. A cat
came in through an open door in the back and jumped on the customer.

I told the customer not to touch the cat, I had never seen it
before. The cat was dirty and mangy and I thought it was evident it
did not look healthy.

So the customer pets the cat, the cat bites a thumb to the bone,
customer gets hospitalized, has to have rabies shots, finger swells
up like a grapefruit, and I get served after she recovers.

I have to go before the judge. I tell him I warned the customer not
to pet the cat and I do not feel responsible for an animal that
wandered onto my property and there is no leash law for cats. I
think he did not appreciate it when I told him I did not throw the
cat at the customer. I am offered mediation which I accept. Mediator
thinks it would be a good gesture for me to do something, so I
suggest that I give the customer $500 worth of merchandise. I am
lucky because I give her retail value and she is gone for good.
Hardly circumstances I could have ever imagined.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

Beth - Great endevor!!!

I live in a rural area also. Our area art council has an artist
studio tour every year and they promote just what you are talking
about. People come and tour various artist studios and see them work
and buy goods from them. It is a wonderful weekend event. I cannot
be apart of the tour because my studio is in my home and I carry too
much gold and silver to allow the general public in to my home but I
set up a bench in a local jewelry/bead shop and torch all day. If
you are apart of your local artist group maybe bring it up as a
suggestion. Our event is run by NEW Arts Council of Greeen Bay WI
and it is called the Art Studio Tour. You can look it up for details
for your own group. It is very successful for us.

As for setting up your new studio/classroom/store - have fun! I am

I would love a separate place to do that. I have had some students in
my home - people I know and trust and their lack of experience ends
up really damaging my tools and messing up my flow of my bench. So I
don’t even toy with the idea anymore. I love my tools too much. You
are smart to not let someone us your bench/tools/space. It is too

Good Luck!!!

Richard - you have my utmost sympathy! I live on a farm, with a
large pond, and have a swimming pool. We have cattle. We have a HUGE
insurance policy! And yes, I called the agent today about the change
in use on the “dog house”, and he is looking into what, if anything,
we need to add/change. I’m more concerned about the liability issue
than the theft/damage issues.

We are right off US 1, a major highway, and have had trouble with
cows getting out before…once a little calf got out (they will roll
under the electric fence when they are small - without meaning to),
and ran in front of a car. Killed the calf, fortunately did not hurt
the people in the car, although it did damage the car. Insurance
covered it.

I would rather be overinsured than underinsured! In SC we joke that
the first word many parents teach their kids is “sue”. Can’t have
too much insurance around here!!!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio