Building a Studio Space

In September 2017 I started regular visits to Buhl, Idaho to begin in-depth learning about permaculture farming including an internship, and to try to paint more. Alas! with the move, I no longer had a studio. But the Universe (aka the great whatever) had a surprise for me in the form of a gracious offer from a friend to put the studio right on the permaculture farm. So I decided it would be a great place to center a creative workspace, and it was time to go ahead and build.

I’ve never done any kind of home construction prior to this project, but I’ve had armchair interest in small portable homes and shipping container construction for a while now. So I decided to build my art studio in a shipping container, which can be moved when needed. The shipping container was delivered in early October (the day before I left for a month of international travel). Construction in earnest began in early November. Since then, I’ve had more time than money and a keen interest to learn some new things, so I’ve done most of the work myself. But there is a growing list of fine people who have lent a hand along the way (see below).

While having the shell made the structural part of the work easy and the outer dimensions fixed, I still had to frame the interior space to make it comfortable and functional. This included insulation and heat, electrical, walls that art can hang on, storage, a sink that captures my dirty water for appropriate disposal, and above all adequate lighting. It has taken about two months to get all that in place. But now the space is usable and I have been able to to get back to painting after over five months of not having a studio.  And it’s totally portable and can go anywhere I do.

Here are some photos taken along the way:


What’s left is mostly the finish work–paneling and trim, ceiling, floors (which I will do in the spring), install a wood stove, and countertops, and then window and door trim.  Eventually, the power will come from solar panels and the whole thing can be packed up and moved when I move. I’ll continue to work on that over the next couple of months as I have time between art deadlines and working at my permaculture internship.

Lastly, a most sincere and heart-centered thank you to the fine friends who contributed brains, hands, sweat, mentoring, and time to support my art studio build:

Aaron Beard James Loomis LaLa West
Kristen Staley Jeff Reese Megan Bracken
Olga Nikishin Angela Barkes Danny O’Malley
James Reed Cameron Pepper Matt Murray
Craig Thompson  Tom Lewis

January 2018
Buhl, Idaho