Friday, June 13, 2014

Creative Spaces: Where Buffalo Etsians make their magic

A look inside the work spaces of our fellow teammates.
I love seeing where makers and designers create their works of art. Their work table, their supplies, how they decorate their space. Is it neat, clean, always organized? A messy tangle of this and that? Folders full of ideas? Baskets of yarn, jars of beads, old cans stuffed with well-worn paint brushes?
I wonder, do they listen to classical music or something soulful or jazzy while they work?  Whether a little corner somewhere or a grand old attic, each space is so personal and should be just what the artist needs to dream up those designs and create those masterpieces.
The first artist to be featured in this series is Shaun Silverwood of “road kiln”. Shaun creates copper enameled jewelry and art. Besides her Etsy shop, Shaun sells her work at many shows and gift shops.
She started her business as a sole proprietorship in 1996 after taking workshop classes with master enamelist, Shirley Rosenthal.
She opened her Etsy shop in January 2009 and started actively listing her work in April 2012, after she had retired from teaching in Buffalo.

I asked Shaun to describe her work space,  how she organizes her equipment and supplies, what she likes the most about it and what she would change or improve and to share any tips she might have “keeping it all together” while creating and running a business.

Shaun’s studio takes up most of her basement.  She fires her pieces in one section where her kiln is  located and uses the saw in another. In other areas she keeps found objects to be used in her wall hangings. The rest of the basement is used for storing her displays and canopy. She also utilizes a fourth bedroom and den when she has an upcoming art show.

Asked what she might change if she could, Shaun mentioned proper ventilation.  ‘” That is something I might be able to have done this summer.  If not, I will continue opening windows and wearing double masks.”

When asked if there were something she would like for her studio, she said she would like employees, who could help her with the non-creative part of her work such as drilling, cleaning and carding the pennies she uses in her jewelry.

As far as organizing the business end of things, “I am a fanatic about keeping good books.  I have so many spreadsheets set up on my computer in my den. It’s a great place to work as it looks upon gardens and has so much natural light. Since I sell to so many gift shops, it is critical that my bookkeeping is always up to date”.

“My basement is organized in my own haphazard way. I use to clean up every time I was doing firing but now after so many years, I know what I need to keep close by and am comfortable with the way I work when I fire.” “Others coming in who know me would be shocked at what appears to be a mess of disarray…but it works for me”. “Letting a little chaos into my life is healthy as I am so type A.”
I can certainly relate to that Shaun!
Music also helps her while she works. “I like it upbeat and happy and I think it shows in my work.”
Shaun is such a talented artisan and professional.  It was a pleasure to learn about her creativity and where she makes it all happen. Thank you Shaun.
Shaun’s beautiful jewelry can be found in her Etsy shop:

Thanks to Carla Kestner for the wonderful photos.
~ Linda Richards  


  1. I love seeing workspaces! It's cool how Shaun recognizes her Type A tendencies and balances them with a touch of messiness --- not her books, though! :)

    Fabulous first "sneak peek," Linda! Looking forward to more!

  2. Wow what a lovely workspace and fantastic artisan

  3. I really enjoyed reading about Shaun's work-space and her approach to her business. This series should be very interesting - seeing how everyone works and goes about their art. Well written Linda!