Sunday, 27 November 2011

Not just a load of old shed

I thought I would give you a little peek into my shud. Or should I say: my “hovel, swyne kote or howse…to kepe yn beestys”…?

I know that looks like some strange text message (u just have 2 read it phonetically) but it’s the Medieval definition of the word ‘shud’, from which it’s thought our modern term ‘shed’ developed.  My shed (which, being my place of artistic pursuit and thus my studio, has developed one stage further into a ‘shedio’), is indeed a hovel and a house in which to keep beasts.  There are a few real ones in there, usually of the eight-legged variety, but thankfully most of the beestys in my shud exist only as one-dimensional characters: bears, rabbits and the like, in paint on paper.

A very old picture of my (then) very new shedio.  It's changed...

I love my shedio and sheds in general and I’m not alone; apparently there are whole legions of ‘sheddies’ out there.  There is a ‘Shed Of The Year’ competition in this country,  a national ‘Shed Week’ and a popular website devoted to all manner of wooden hut type constructions for fans.  The traditional idea of it being the haven to which the man of the house retreats to smoke his pipe and practise reeling his fishing rod (nudge nudge wink wink) now seems dated, as sheds become offices, studios, worskhops and so much more.  You’d be surprised (or maybe not) at how many Dr Who ‘Tardis’ sheds can be found in back gardens here and one ‘Shed Of The Year’ winner went for a Roman temple theme. A shed can be just about anything you want it to be.

If there was a Roman god of untidiness mine could be a temple to such a deity, but otherwise it wins no prizes.  I’ve just finished a long project and I haven’t sorted or cleaned it since the final brushstroke left the paper, so I took these photos to remind me just how bad things can get.  There is an almost Mary Celeste feel to it right now -everything is just where I last used it, pencils are scattered in disarray like jackstraws, screwed up bits of paint-soiled kitchen roll remain where I threw them. Stacks of sketches are piled up in the corner and the waste bin is full of the ones that went wrong; I shall just have to get in there next week and give it a good tidy-up so it looks more like a studio and less like a swyne kote.  After that the only place here resembling a hovel to “kepe yn beestys” is the howse.

Some very new pictures of my not-so-new shedio


  1. Thanks Dr MVM. It's small (but perfectly formed). I love it!

  2. Have just been sent this link, fascinating:

    Thanks to Pete x

  3. I actually perfer seeing people's work spaces when they actually show evidence of ... errr.... work. There seems to be a blog-mania for taking pics of "homes and Gardens" style twee studios that look like no-one is allowed to sneeze in there , let alone splatter paint. I'm always suspicious of a tidy work space ;o)

  4. Oh fascinating glimpse at your own private shedio - what a wonderful little haven from the stresses of the world. I'm a big fan of sheds too: did you know they even have their own Patron Saint?'s Saint Jack Hargreaves of course!

  5. Oh yes Yve, absolutely agree. I'm rather suspicious of tidy work spaces too, and have to know that it just DOESN'T MATTER if I make a mess, otherwise I'd be far too inhibited to paint a thing! The only problem lately is getting in through the door... so maybe I do just need to put a few things away...
    Thanks, A - yes it is my bijou haven! Maybe if St JH was still alive I'd have to invite him to in to do a bit of whittling - or whatever it was he used to do in his...?

  6. Well I think your shed/studio looks remarkably spick and span compared to my Suffolk schtudio. Mine was all white and lovely ten years ago too but my similar feeling that a neat space is a dead/uncreative space have wreaked havoc and I'm now in the process of 'shed-rehab.'

  7. Thanks Wilthomer, I like groovy...

    Thanks too for comment, Cusp - white and lovely sounds good, but a bit of mess and paint splatters or whatever etc. even better! Hope the shed-rehab goes well (and I love your word 'schtudio'...)

  8. wow - what a lovely place to loose yourself in your work! away from the house that can keep talking at you to do chores . soooo important to have a Room of One's Own (Virginia Woolf) Have you see this? we saw them at Lattitude Festival.

  9. Thanks, daisy! That discoshed looks great - nice idea. Gotta love a shed!


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