Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

To move or not to move?

Dear Friends, I need your help in weighing the good and the bad of a
move. I am a studio jeweler in a relatively low populated area in
Upstate NY.I currently have a studio away from home second floor in
a college town, about 15 miles from home. Its a great space with
lots of beautiful light .I had a painter sharing the space who has
moved out and therefore my rent has doubled. I am not interested in
getting another person as I am not interested in sharing with an
unknown and am enjoying the added room. If I move (back ) home to
the basement I save lots of $$ that I can use to travel to sell my
work among lots of other wonderful possibilities. I have a great
home with wonderful nature all around. However, I will once again be
isolated , but being on the second floor in a small town didn’t add
much retail as I am not interested in pursueing that market which
in itself is very limited where I live. I have a beautiful display
of my work already at a great shop in the area.

I am so fearful of the isolation again of being"home". I do find
getting up and out to the studio is something I have loved…but I
would also love the extra $$ being spent on rent etc.

I do lots of volunteer work and things to occupy myself. It’s just
moving back home that has me freaked. Help! Do I pay next months
rent or get busy creating my basement studio.

Thanks. Kim

It's just  moving back home that has me freaked.  Help!  Do I pay
next months  rent or get busy creating my basement studio.   

If the other people at “home” are not intrusive, and you can follow
your muse in isolation (which it sounds like you do anyway) I’d vote
for saving the money so you can get out for concentrated selling,
buying, and exhibition sprees. If your family makes you feel closed
in and repressed, however, perhaps you need to get out just for your
own peace of mind. With my family, when I was at the leaving home
or not stage, I would have walked over molten lava to get away.
Other families are more supportive.


When I started my first business, the workshop was in a finished
room in the basement. OK, but definitely not great on the mood.
When we moved ourselves and the business to a new home, I was in a
2nd floor converted loft space over a garage. Much better, 2 big
windows in front of me and a great view. My current situation has me
in a back room, not the greatest light, with only a minimal view
through a doorway, across the showroom to the outside world. Over
the years, I have been in a number of other situation. The best
ones, from the standpoint of work environment at least, were the ones
where I could see the world. Distractions, yes, but staring at the
same old walls is just too depressing after a while. I am a hermit
in many ways, but isolation just doesn’t suit me for working.


Your studio will be what you personally make it, wherever you make
it. I read Judy’s posting about basements being depressing and I need
to disagree. I’ve been in business for 28 years and the majority of
that time I have had a basement studio which I dearly love. None of
the basements have started out wonderful places but I’ve made them
into wonderful studios which work the way I need them to. Making
jewelry is dirty and I love not having to worry about doing permanent
damage to a space. I absolutely love working in my nightgown when the
mood hits me in the middle of the night (okay, that doesn’t happen as
much any more but I still work in my nightgown at times). If I want
to run up and weed my garden out in the sunshine for 10 minutes I
can. I love the safety and security I feel working in the basement.
I love my 15 second commute. The only downside is that it can be
isolating so you just need to have other reasons to get out of the
house when you need to. I also recommend good friends who also work
at home! Again, your studio will be what you make it, wherever it is
so make it what you want and need.

Kim, I can imagine this might be a difficult decision to make. One
thing I would strongly ask that you consider is how to make the
basement a viable space for yourself. Not just in terms of a shop
but an environment that you can work in. Change the lighting, put
up a huge poster(s) of some place you want to travel to, put up a
huge board w/ pictures of jewelry or other things that inspire you,
change the pictures frequently if you have to. Consider taking
frequent breaks to get outside. Think of smells, textures, that
will enhance the space around you. What other things you can do to
make this space a place you want to come back to and work in?

From the other side of the coin, look at other ways you might want
generate extra income to help pay for your space. Set-up a website
to help sell your materials. Some other second job besides
volunteering. What other things can you do?

Your choices are less then black and white, it is time to set
outside the box of choices you have so far presented yourself w/.
Get a little creative and go for something new.

Good luck whatever you do.


Hi; I worked in a basement for 20 years but not by choice! It was a
very sporadic time of production and I dreaded the closeness and the
air that i was forced to live in… basements are dank dirty things
that allow gas to seep in from the earth and hold all sorts of other
bad stuff like mold spores and whatever toxins you happen to store
in your cupboard of insect death! truth is here i am again in a
basement and my production has suffered as well as my psyche…

Ringman John

Sat. night and lots of time before midnight. I just have to respond
to this thread and Kim’s dilemma which is exactly like my own: to
move or not to move. I live in the country surrounded by a peach
orchard and starry starry skies but unfortunately with a partner
that I can no longer abide. I could move back home to use the
basement which needs much cleaning out of accumulated junk (40 years
of an old man’s demented pack ratting: my father) before it can be
used but a big space in a big house surrounded by many mature trees.
Not so bad but herein likes the problem: 74 year old mother chain
smokes. The whole house stinks from many years of smoking and my
mother’s advancing age has brought with it an old lady’s paranoia so
she never opens windows because she’s afraid of intruders. Shall I
leave the peach orchards and a house I pay rent on, don’t own and
can’t fix up for another house I won’t pay rent on but has a fetid
environment? By the way what can be done about the air quality of
this house? You guys have been great and generous with your ideas
before, can you come through once again?

Hi: I have been working in my “garage” for a number of years last
year I finished the remodeling of it…then the last person left the
house…so now I am alone. I am now looking at moving to another
state to a town that offers a good rate on studio gallery space. One
of the reasons I am doing so is I am tired of being alone…I rarely
have someone come to my residence…because I am either working in my
studio or driving down the road to another show or teaching a
workshop. So…my question to you…is do you have someone at home
that you can enjoy in the evening? If so then the savings may be
work it. I am a hermit in some ways as well…I don’t like many
people around while I am working…so that part works for me…but
the evenings when I am not working…well. Something to think about…

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
Willits, CA
"Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it."

Hi Folks,

I’ll try and reply to both the recent inquires and I suggest looking
at a wider range of alternatives then the either or scenarios that
you both have listed. There is more variation. And there is even a
lot more variation then I list below, you each know what is best for

What about renting a different house that has both living and
working space, and you can build a new studio? Or rent something
elsewhere and also rent a small studio space? Or sharing a house w/
someone you know or even someone you don’t? Is the studio you
currently have big enough for more then one person? Do you need
total peace and quiet or can someone work quietly in another corner
of the studio? Can you rent out the studio part-time, so you have
the ocassional company?

It is possible if you, Linda and Judy got together you could help
solve each other’s problem.

You are both extremely creative folks, might I suggest allowing
yourself a little time to step away from the feelings of the problem
and tap into your creativity and come up w/ new solutions that are
just right and applicable for you. This is like having a stone
you’re not quite sure what to do w/, a piece of enamel that fired
badly, or something that won’t solder or warped badly. Or perhaps
other examples for real world problems in your life. You’ve solved
those in ways that were best for you, and this little conundrum can
be resolved w/ the same powerful resources you have available to
you, inside you.

This group will offer many wonderful suggestions and the ultimate
decisionmaker is taking it all in and percolating it through that
lovely gray matter. Relax a little over the issue, let go of some
of the emtion, and contact that most resourceful part of you, inside
of you, and let it help you find the best and most ecological answer
for you.


Judy I guess what comes to mind as I read your situation is that its
the leaving thats important.After you’ve gone through that door you
can start to see the other opportunities.Its never black and white
or one choice over another…it just looks that way to those
of us working primarily in silver!..the rest of the world gets
all these fantastic colours to choose from.We can too.We just don’t
see those choices at times.Take heart.Move somewhere…it
doesn’t matter where.


I am tired of being alone.. 

Linda, I can’t speak to actually being alone, since I have a
wonderful and supportive husband (who even is helpful in little ways
in my metalworking, where I do feel rather alone — it’s hard
to find someone suitable with whom to “talk metals”). We do not
have children, but we have a huge and loving family in the Church
(no matter where we go!). I sing in the choir, attend and
sometimes lead Bible study, am on the Worship Committee, etc. Are
you actively involved in any community groups?

Another thing, which I hate to admit, is that, long ago, before I
was married, I discovered that watching television can work as
antidote for that “alone” feeling. Admittedly, you have to be
selective, since there’s so much garbage out there. But I still
find it fun to watch (mainly old re-runs), when I’m doing
repetitive jewelrymaking things. TV certainly isn’t intellectually
demanding, but it’s a distraction which can be of temporary help.
When I’m driving long distances by myself, I also find booktapes
to be wonderfully helpful.

These are just some thoughts.
All the best,
Judy Bjorkman

Are these truly your only choices? If so, can part of your parent’s
house be blocked off to give you air control as well as privacy? I
think that most parents would understand the desire for such an
arrangement and I hear of apartments over garages etc. Could part of
the house you are now in be blocked off to give privacy to both
people and if so, would the partner live peacefully with this
arrangement? Some people can not live together but can still be
friends and others can not.

Marilyn Smith

Judy, you might consider some of the following–

(a) sooner or later, you’re going to have to clean out that
basement anyway…

(b) Does your mother value having you around? Do you get along
with her? Can you make a list of what perks there are for both of
you, in living in the same house?

© Someone else can advise you on specifics, but you must install
some way of getting rid of fumes from your work, I assume, and
this could be the thin end of a wedge to a way of getting rid of
the cigarette fumes, as well. (If the air were cleaner, it might
help your mom’s thought processes, too, but that argument is not
likely to work with her, until and if it actually happens.) All
the best, Judy Bjorkman

Hi all: I am curious as to what decision Judy and Kim have made
regarding their dilemma. I appreciate the input from others. I am
not just moving because I am “lonely”, but I can sell my house, buy
another house and still have money left over. So one of the many
reasons is financial. I would be moving to a place that I would like
to retire would be going back to a state that I lived before I moved
to California.

I have tried to get involved with a groups while I am in town…but
my schedule doesn’t allow for consistency. I have great friends that
live the same kind of lifestyle as I do in which I stay connected
with over the phone. If we had a group, none of us would be
present…we are either on the road traveling, at a show or working
in our studio…it would be one sorry looking group!

One of the issues that is very important is working environment and
safety. I think it is more important than loneliness. If I were to
hurt myself…well…I don’t even like to think about it. So, I
don’t polish chains with my buffing machine. I have a great
ventilation system and windows.

So Judy and Kim…what’s up…what did you decide?

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs
Willits, CA

For myself, in synch with all the advice offered here, I am going to
move back to my mom’s house. We’ve discussed the smoking issue and
she is on board. We’ll hire people to professionally clean carpets,
draperies and furniture etc. I will not try to bite off more than I
can chew. I look at the mountains of work that needs to be done and
try not to panic, breathe deeply, meditate, take care of myself and
deal with one small issue at a time. I’ll have plenty of time when I
leave this job to do all these things. Take it slow. Take it easy.
My mom’s house has the big basement and a garage. The garage can
ultimately be the place I hang out most. I feel that an awful lot of
people don’t even have a safe roof over their heads, so my problems
are small in comparison. Like yourself, I’ll rely on my good
friends, my animals, my fish and the fantastic venerable trees
around me to lean on if I have to. There are many solutions to my
dilemma. All I have to do is choose one and if that doesn’t work move
on to another. I give this temporary switch maybe 3 years. If I
don’t like it, I can move on. Discipline, patience, hardwork.

Kim here… reporting back. Thanks for all the input.I can’t tell
you all how comforting it is to know that my situation is one that
is understood by so many of you. I am not alone! Anyhow the
afternoon that I wrote the first email I went down in my windowless
basement. Its really not an awful basement I will add. I sat for a
rather long time and thought out all the things I would do to create
the studio…most important LIGHT! So I had a sketch book and I
drew up a bunch of ideas. Then I went upstairs and went back a few
times to rethink. The next day I went to work and low and behold
…It hit me! I couldn’t possibly leave .I would sufficate and
slowly sink into a deep lonely depression.( I am being a bit
dramatic.)But I realized how much my studio means to me and that
thinking outside the box as in finding another way to produce income
has got to be my answer. As of this moment I have not come up with
that solution , although I have been particularly busy and hoping
its a sign of the future. Speaking of other sources of income…any
ideas? I am in a relatively low populated area which has been
somewhat of a stumbling block. I do limited production and one of a
kind work oriented to gallery and museum shops.And commissions. My
reputation is growing in the area and I am getting some fun stuff. I
have recently started doing some very inexpensive production work
pretty much putting together componants for fund raising groups…
Its almost embarressing how easy it is. It’s almost scary to me.
So thats the update. Any other ideas outside the box??