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Monday, July 17, 2023



What’s in a Name?

Maybe because the space where I make my art has changed over the years from the kitchen table to the extra bedroom to the downstairs tv room to an actual dedicated space, I have never been comfortable calling it my art studio.  My immediate response is to associate “art studio” with paints and an easel.  Then, the word “studio” sounds a bit close to the word “study” and “studious”, and according to the Oxford English Dictionary, they all come from the Latin studium.  Maybe I am too literal minded about this, but I don’t feel I “study” art in a “studio”; I feel I do my best to create it.  I might study art in a museum or even a gallery, online or in classes.  If I am ambitious, I may create a maquette, or a sketchbook before I produce the artwork; but that is not the same.  

So, over the years I have heard the process of creating art described as an attempt at alchemy-turning base materials into gold- and alchemists worked in laboratories.  Oddly enough, the word studio does not show up in print until 1785 and seems to be associated with the idea of creating a “study” for the actual piece.  Laboratory appeared in print from the 1580’s onward, as the place where alchemists work.  The current definition for laboratory is “a place for providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study”.  As this comes closer to the way I work, I feel comfortable referring to the space where I now work as my Art Lab. 

This is not to say that if you’ve been comfortable calling your space an art studio, you shouldn’t do that!  I am just sharing my thoughts about what my space means to me and why.  Your thoughts?  Does anyone use other terms for that place where you work your magic?  Please send any responses to or to

We've been looking for a special "heading" to use for Bonnie's articles and have decided Notes from the Art Lab by Bonnie Halfpenny is the winner. 

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