Five years ago, painter Sandy Sokoloff left Boston to live in the more serene and isolated environment of Grand Isle, Vermont. On a whim, he’d earlier visited Lake Champlain, and when the opportunity arose to work on the waterfront, he grabbed it. He was drawn to the area’s natural beauty, as well as its majestic skies and the distant Adirondack Mountains. “I’ve never looked back,” says Sokoloff. “Winter is especially inspiring—isolation and silence.”
No matter what season, artist Alex Egan finds inspiration and comfort in her home-based studio in Norfolk, England. Outside the studio in her brick farmhouse stretches open fields and woodland where sugar beet, barley, and potato crops grow and animals abound. In summer, she spots dragonflies and butterflies, while in the fall she hears stags roaring. Herds of red deer gallop through the marshy water at the bottom of the field, their hooves creating an intoxicating noise. Hares, pheasants, and wading birds roam the area that’s near the Norfolk Broads, a network of navigable rivers and lakes.
Manuel Knapp, a true master of string as fine art, relishes mornings in his third-floor studio in a half-timbered historic building in Grossglattbach, Germany. As he sips his 9 a.m. coffee, he enjoys the quietness of the attic space and witnessing the town slowly awakening—sunlight floats through glass tiles, spotlighting spider webs as he begins his day creating his string sculptures one piece at a time
Maya Kuvaja loves how she can experience nature from her home-based studio in the Lakes Region of western Maine. Through a single window in a two-hundred-square-foot room, she gazes out on acres of pine and oak forests and visiting animals. The varying light shining through the room influences her artwork. “Bright orange summer afternoons, pale blue winter mornings, deep violet autumn evenings all filter in and inform the atmosphere and mood of my work,” says Kuvaja. “My studio feels like a part of my natural surroundings. It is a space where I am lost in abstract thoughts and tuned in to nature.”
Fiber artist Jo Stealey is thrilled to enter a new phase in her life. On September 1, she’ll retire from the University of Missouri as director of the university’s School of Visual Studies. This fall, she’ll be able to devote more of her day to her art instead of only early mornings or evenings. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to explore where the work can go when more time is devoted to working in the studio,” said Stealey. “Up until now, I have maintained a two- to four-hour daily practice scheduled around my position at MU.”
Catherine Eaton Skinner feels fortunate to have two extraordinary studios to create her mixed-media works. In her Seattle studio, she completes more paintings, taking advantage of the city’s energy, while in her secondary studio in Santa Fe, she does more thinking and planning. She divides her time between the two studios, both built fifteen years ago.
In 2007, Krista Harris renovated her log cabin studio in Bayfield, Colorado. Her 16′ x 32′ studio could not accommodate her large acrylic paintings nor the materials she needed—she was in an experimental phase that suited her. “This was a great investment in myself and my work, giving me validation and freedom,” says Harris. To finance the renovation, she sold her car.