Welcome back to the jewelry community. It must feel good to be back
doing something so rewarding after the corporate environment (I know,
I was there for way too long, too!).
I think the answer to your question really depends on the
individual's work style. I'm lucky, in that I have a home studio,
but also work with folks in a wonderful lab environment at our
community college, where I also work. Truly the best of both worlds.
I can isolate myself "without excuse" for hours on end when I'm
working on something intensely, or I can work in the lab in a more
social environment, and on a more fixed schedule.
The lab/group environment has some excellent benefits:
* Shared equipment that is beyond what I could afford for my own
* Collaboration and idea-sharing when trying to solve a problem
* Creative energy in seeing how others approach problems and design
* There's no excuse for not accomplishing something if you've
gotten in your car and driven all the way there and unpacked your
stuff. You might as well do SOMEthing! Which sometimes is just
enough to kick-start those creative juices, and is always enough to
keep you honest and working.
The lab/group environment also has some drawbacks:
* That piece of equipment that is the ONLY reason you came in today
is being "hogged" by someone else (of course, you'd be hogging it
yourself, if you'd only gotten in 10 minutes earlier)
* Equipment and supplies that occasionally "sprout legs" (usually
ending up in someone else's toolbox for a week until they come back
in and sheepishly return it... but sometimes disappearing
* Seeing other people pick up on your "neat" idea for a new way of
designing something -- sometimes things that you weren't quite ready
to "share" with the community
* Figuring out where those darned Beginners might have put the
whatsis, instead of putting it back where it really belongs! (It's
always the Beginners who get blamed, you know!)
The home student environment has some excellent benefits, as well.
* Great commute, easy to find parking
* Your tools are ALWAYS where you left them
* You will never come in to find supplies you need missing (unless
YOU haven't reordered)
* You can just get to work without the fuss of unpacking and
repacking tools and equipment
* You can leave pieces out for "casual" viewing as you walk by the
bench. That can be a great way to solve thorny problems, as you
"remind" yourself subconsciously of the problem and let your mind
work through it in the background.
* You can customize your work space to your style of working, and
can take into account your personal ergonomic needs.
The drawbacks to a home studio?
* It's so easy to get to that sometimes it's hard to get there.
(I'll just do one more load of wash before I get started.... I really
have to go grocery shopping - I'll work in the studio when I get
* You have no one else to blame when a tool goes missing or
something you need hasn't been reordered. No Beginners here!
* It's isolated from other designers, which can lead to
self-referential designs (get involved in a design community/guild
to help with this)
* Your equipment resources are limited to what you can afford to
purchase/lease... which, in turn, limits your designs to what you
can accomplish with your own tools (not always a bad thing, but
sometimes can be limiting.)
I'm sure we can all think of a LOT more to add to these lists, but
as you can see, it comes down to what YOU like and what will suit
your work style best.
Hope this helps!
Hand-crafted artisan jewelry