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Trying to find funding to set up a studio

Jen, You are well on your way to having a studio the minute you set
your mind on making a great deal of the items you will use in your
shop. Charles Lewton-Brain has many very good articles in the
archives here at Orchid on doing that very thing as well as mining
industry for tools and so on. Very informative stuff for those on
tight budgets with an urge to create. I have learned a great deal
about a variety of subjects in jewelry making by simply trying to
manufacture the tools needed for various projects. I can tell you
that, although I don’t have a huge set-up (yet), I have already
saved hundreds of dollars in costs on tools by simply researching
certain techniques (e.g. repousse’, forging, chemical etching…),
identifying the tools used in these operations ( looking long and
hard at pictures in catalogs as well as on various websites), and
getting busy making reasonable counterparts. To be sure, there will
be some items beyond your ability to manufacture for yourself.
However, the money saved on many other tools will greatly assist in
the purchasing of those tools you can’t make for yourself. I am
fortunate in already having a history in metal working (all self
taught) but I’ve found that my artistic matal working capabilities
have greatly benefitted from the practice I got while making some of
the tools I need. There is also a great sense of accomplishment
associated with knowing a tool intimately because you made it
yourself. By all means, pursue whatever grants or sources of funding
you can find, but research those things you can make for yourself so
you can put that money into the items you simply can’t manufacture
for yourself. I frequently find myself heating small bits of metal
over our gas range or sitting and watching the tube while polishing
a tool for the shop. It maximizes the time for me. Your BFA will be
of great value in all of this because you will be utilizing that
education from the very beginning.

I learned a great deal from looking here on Orchid at the bench
exchange section. Amazing work is being produced from very humble
looking benches and shops.

I wish you every success.