The Penny Drops is getting a new Studio!

The Penny Drops is getting a new Studio!

Ok, chances are this isn't news to you - I've shared my new Studio build fairly frequently in my Instagram stories and emails - but it's just occurred to me there's no record of this *kinda huge thing* in the Penny Drops' story on my website, so here we go...

Where it all started

Let's go back to the Southland Art Trail of October 2022! Halfway through Day 1, I retreated inside during a quiet patch and announced to the family that I needed a bigger studio. (There may have been some initial scoffing, but let's move on quickly from that to the resolution that it's happening...).

I spent the rest of the year dreaming of relocating something 'old and character filled' to our farm, and fell in love with an old, unused school building that I knew was coming on the market (spoiler alert: it still hasn't). The wall of sash windows provided incredible light (and character), while the layout of one room divided by a half wall instantly had me envisaging a gallery space on one side, with a studio/work-space on the other.

A decision is made

By the end of January 2023, my husband had talked me into building new.

After traipsing around Southland looking at gorgeous old windows to ensure the new Studio would still have some character - hello lead-light arched window 😍 - I got sensible and bought a batch of brand new double-glazed aluminium windows.

The measurement of these windows kick off the plans, the only aspect retained from the earlier dreaming and scheming is the half wall dividing the Gallery and Studio spaces:

ANZAC Day 2023 (April) we had our first meeting with the builder and draughter. More technical plans ensued:

Fast forward to March 2024 and consent is issued. The builder immediately cracks into it, steadily making progress. The Studio is being built in his yard, so each time we visit we see big changes.

Things don't go entirely to plan

A steady spell of wet weather ensures the timber framing is slow to dry, delaying inspections that predicate further progress. And the French doors we buy off Trade Me turn out to be upside down, meaning the wrong one opens.

But it has all been overcome and finally, dare I say, the finish line seems close.

Earlier this year I agreed to an exhibition in Dunedin which has turned out to be the perfect use of time while 'waiting' for the Studio - although the extra space would have been wonderful as paintings piled up around me!

Looking forward & getting excited

For context, last year after the closing of the 'B' Exhibition, I felt a weird sense of rudderlessness. A feeling that going back to the way things had been before was no longer enough. A passage of writing by Lisa Buscomb of @words_by_wilde_road helped me reframe this period as an in-between, "a season of just being, of trusting" - giving me the assurance that there would be more.

As the 'Softly' Exhibition draws to a close, it's been great to have The Studio to look forward to. Knowing that on the downside of the Exhibition, there is a new project to sink my teeth into... completion is just weeks(?) away and soon the fun part gets underway:

Looking forward to having more updates for you soon! 

x Mel

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1 comment

Wow, so excited for you! What an amazing space it will be. 😁 I bet you’re crazy keen to get in there!


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