It’s been half a year in my cozy little workshop close to Nyboder. I have loved the room and working there, but realized, that as a shop it sucked big time. Not only is it situated in a street that has no other shops. It’s in a basement and in order to reach me, you have to go through the (work) shop of the ceramics artist who owns the place. To top it all off: the whole thing doesn’t have a proper sign. There is a small one glued to the inside of the window, but that’s it. In other words “come in here and buy nice stuff” is in the best case scenario whispered, and that just isn’t good enough.
So, I have for a while been looking for a “real” shop. Okay, maybe still in a basement – they are the cheapest ones – but at least in a street with other (good) shops and especially: all mine. That’s expensive, I found out. Well, no hurry, I was just scanning the market in order to be prepared for next summer, when I was planning to go pro and fulltime, after my current part-time temp ended.
However, all of a sudden the perfect shop emerged: 25 m2 of shop with apr. 10 m2 in the back, situated in a very nice street with no less than three bridal shops, three spa/wellness shops plus a number of nice restaurants, galleries etc. The shop used to house the Ohanas – a pair of goldsmiths who are very talented and amongst others had specialized in Kabbalah jewelry. They had done well for themselves here and hence were able to move to an even better (and more expensive) address in another part of the town.
The brilliant part of exactly this shop was the fact that it was fitted for the trade, meaning all security, also beyond what is necessary for my current level of mostly silver jewelry, was in place. As an extra bonus, they had closed off a small section of the very back in order to create a room for polishing, hence avoiding too much dust and grime in the shop itself!
It was perfect. And it was quite above what I was even dreaming of to pay in spite of being a very good deal in itself. So, I went back to thinking the whole thing over. In order to make this happen, what would it take? First of all: it’s way bigger than what I have now, so I needed something to fill it out. The solution: I’ll take in commissions. That would also mean extra income for me. To the hell of it – I’ll make a whole gallery, now I’m at it! Galley Castens, no less! The second challenge was the fact that until summer, when my temp ends, I won’t be able to be in the shop more than Friday and Saturday. The solution: I’ll create and rent out two benches for fellow jewelry smiths. They will help pay the rent, be able to keep the shop open a bit more and hopefully be a couple of nice colleagues I to share the mutual passion for stones and tools with.
So… I did it. I borrowed the substantial amount of money it cost (though as I said: given the circumstances it was a very good offer) and started working on the room. With not only a little, but a lot of help from my friends, BF and family! I am so touched by how much time they have sacrificed in order to make this dream come true and humbled by having such wonderful people surrounding me. However, it took a bit longer than originally anticipated. I thought, that if we move quickly, i might get a bit of the Christmas sale, but because both I and most of my friends got ill, I had to let go of that hope. But I wanted it to happen NOW and therefore was of cause stubborn and went to work anyways, which obviously took a huge toll:
But Claus was there and helped me remove the old (and actually rather nice) wallpaper – in a very artistic way
And Vinni and Carsten, who are very skilled painters, helped me turning the rooms clean bright and green.
My BF helped almost every day after work and Michael, who is my co-mastermind, helped me make the logistics happen when I lost all overview in pure stress and built all the stuff that needed building.
So, what will it look like now? Well, I’m not entirely done yet, but for starters: It’s green – of cause. The floor is very old, charming and uneven, made of dark wood. I decided to put in a slightly raised floor in the workshop-section, partly to make it a bit more stable (it sucks when you have just lined up for a complicated soldering job, and then everything falls apart because someone walks by on the bouncy floor planks), partly to be able to retrieve tiny diamonds and small scraps of gold when dropped on the floor. A trick the Ohanas told me about and which I promptly copied. We built a half-high wall around my workbench, which I’ll supplement with some bar stools. Here my customers and friends will be able to sit and chat while I work, which I have enjoyed a lot in my old workshop, where I had a window bench for the same purpose.
I was so lucky to keep all the light fittings, including this lovely neo-classical chandelier, which is currently still covered in dust-repelling plastic. Suspended like this in the green room, it looks like a huge and exotic jellyfish silently floating through the oceans.
I love my backroom. The shop itself is what the customers see and hence it has to look good and work well. But in order to do the latter, the backroom – where the big tools and all the materials are stored, needs to work great as well. To me that means a lot of storage space plus a good table. However, the backroom has served as storage during renovation of the shop hand therefore looked like a total mess for the most of the time:
This is what it looks like now, with most of the shelved in place:
I must admit – at the mess stage I was ready to give up. Everything was in complete disorder and I just seemed to shift things around. To be frank – this is what it looked inside my head at this stage as well. Too many things to do at once. However, now everything is starting to come together. Here is what the main room itself looked like yesterday afternoon:
And yesterday evening it was time to move in! I was strangely nervous and slept badly last night. This is it. Things are coming together now: I still need to sort all my stuff out, hang cabinets, more shelves, pictures, lamps etc., have a sign created, create a homepage and other marketing stuff, but at least the main thing, the jewelry, is starting to be ready.
The first 3 commissioners have delivered their pieces to me and I’m having at least 2 more coming in. So far the sure ones are Monbo, Louise Degn, Ossip Frolov and Signe Njust. I also have a few artists who will contribute with small sculptures. Amongst these some very cute dragons from Panik Keramik.
BUT I haven’t had any response on the add I put out for the two free benches – I truly hope they will soon arrive! Does anyone know of some happy people looking for a cozy and well-equipped spot? If so, please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My next update here will hopefully feature pictures of a finished gallery – a place to seek and admire jewelry that caters for a soft and feminine taste with a healthy dose of fairy dust. Or as I have started to express it: “For the shameless romantics”
What a breathless journey this has been and I’m not quite there yet. I didn’t intend it to happen just now, but I felt obliged to act, when the offer presented itself. I have been lucky enough to have an amazing support from my entire network and am looking forward to working inside these new and amazing frames, while relishing John Lennons saying: “Life is what happens while you are busy doing other plans” ;-)