in the studio with Sonya Philip

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon 

sonya's loft

The other day i was lucky enough to visit Sonya Philip in her very cute light-filled San Francisco studio. It's in a building that used to be a plant for best foods [see my feet standing on the BF logo below], but has been converted into mixed use spaces. She shares her space with 4 other artists, but she has the loft area pretty much to herself...

Sonya and I are internet pals. Sometimes we tweet to one another. Clearly we have a fiber connection. I've admired her work for awhile. I'm particularly a fan of her ordinary object series where she inserts knitting into completely mundane everyday thing [like milk cartons, McDonald's bags, birth control pills, etc.]. The knitting appears in a circular shape usually in a colorway that matches or contrasts the object. I love the juxtaposition of the so obviously handmade with in a so obviously manufactured and usually discarded item. It also  makes something that we normally throw away into an ART OBJECT - something to be treasured rather than thrown out. 

She's currently working on a project where she's sewing 100 dresses - I love the idea of ritual, and making functional objects - and she's making some cute frocks !

It was definitely a treat to see her space. Thanks for having me Sonya !

overview of her space
5 artists/creatives/makers that you know personally who you find 
inspiring and influencing?

Kristine Vejar [ed. note: she runs an amazing store called a verb for keeping warm in my hood in oakland]

another overview
And 5 artists/creatives/makers that you don't know but love from afar?

The last thing or two you read that had you marking or dog earring pages?

Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin, love your thread!

the thread the thread !
Your top 5 tools/supplies

size 0 bamboo knitting needles
Habu yarn
Japanese print fabric
Singer Featherweight
Gutterman thread

A material or idea you most want to try but haven't.

Sewing with Tyvek and knitting with horse hair.

random coolness around the studio
Name a song or album you will grow old with.

ooohh rick rack

Favorite beverage?

Lately, a gin and tonic with Hendrick's gin and a slice of cucumber.

a whole wall of ordinary objects. she created 50
How many studio spaces have you had? Is this current one your fav? Why 
or why not?

I've had three studio spaces. The first was essentially a storage room  in a basement. I was there for a year, then moved to 1890 Bryant. I've had two studio spaces in the building, one without windows and the current one with lots of light. I love it. Being able to look outside, see how the sky changes, what the weather is like, makes me feel part of the world, rather than trapped in a tiny cubicle.

some of my favorite ordinary objects
What is crucial for you to have in order for your studio day to be 

A list. I write them down in notebooks, have a running to do list on my computer, make spreadsheets If I'm on a deadline for a show, I will draw up calendar. I jot down ideas for future projects. Planning is essential.

another ordinary object. i love how the knitting blends in here.
Do you have a studio routine? If so will you share it with us?

Since I have kids, my studio hours revolve around their school day. I usually get to my studio a little after 9am and stay until 3 or 4pm. Having such a set time, forces me to work in those hours and I'd like to say solidly, but there are frequent email and twitter checking breaks.

circular work and shelving

Is there a place that you've been that really resonates with you?

Really anywhere next to the ocean or a body of water.

Where have you felt the most "at home"?

I have a deep and abiding love for San Francisco.

sonya !
Dancing? Pro or con?

Yes! But not nearly enough. Time to turn some music on and show my 
"moves" to the kids!

If you want to learn more be sure and visit her website. Sonya also teaches classes one just happened on Sunday the 29th at the aforementioned a verb for keeping warm, she teaches there quite a bit, so keep an eye out for her. And one is about to happen at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, CO, USA

Next time I'll be back with a make believe collection post... till then....


lisa solomon is a mixed media artist who lives in oakland, CA with her husband, young daughter, a one eyed pit bull, a french bulldog, a cross-eyed cat, a 3 legged cat, and many many spools of thread. she moonlights as a college professor, a graphic designer, and is a partner in MODify/d a crafty biz that up/cycles and re/purposes discards from the fashion industry.

Jan Halvarson


Kathryn said...

Thanks for the peek into Sonya's studio! Love her work! And what a space, oozing creativity!

Jesse said...

Lovely to see Sonya's studio!

painted fish studio said...

loved this! i've had the pleasure of spending time with sonya but haven't visited her studio. thank you for the tour! #bo2012!

cal said...

ooooh, always fun to peek into creative people's spaces! i adore sonya, and am always inspired by her motivation and productivity! thanks for this peek into her brain.

michel stong said...

I have a home office/studio and I am looking to revamp our 'professional' studio. These photos are great inspirations. Shared them on my Facebook page. Thanks,

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Thanks for the intro to Sonya Philip, Lisa. I like the ordinary objects too, especially the tiny objects like the tea bag and the BART card.