Nestled in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Santa Fe, our studio and home originally belonged to Colin’s grandmother, renowned sculptor Una Hanbury. There’s something hugely satisfying, meaningful and inspiring in the fact that every day, we get to continue the decades-long tradition of creativity in this atelier. Managing two full-time artists with multiple bodies of work in various disciplines requires versatility, creative use of space and…lots of wheels (more on that bit later).

Our home is a traditional adobe that we renovated to suit our “all art, all the time” sensibilities. Forgoing non-essentials like a dining room, living room and TV, we created a contemporary home that integrates indoor and outdoor spaces and features an 1100 square foot adaptable gallery/exhibition space, a 600 square foot primary studio and a 450 square foot kiln/metal working studio, which has two electric kilns, a front-loading gas kiln and bronze finishing equipment. Basically, we have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, gym and… art spaces.

The Gallery space in the main section of our house. There are windows all along the east and west facing walls which highlight our artwork against a backdrop of mountain vistas and xeric gardens.

The main studio, where most of the action happens, is flooded with natural light via skylights and window walls which open into the back gardens and aviaries (we raise exotic pigeons and pheasants that often visit the studio as we sculpt.)

Our redesign of this space mainly consisted of “how many walls can we knock out and replace with windows without collapsing the roof?” sorts of conversations. Our work spaces have abundant track lighting that is color matched to daylight, providing a smooth transition for nighttime sculpting and painting.

The studio, looking North, in Una’s time and after our redesign

We constructed a large walk-in closet for storage and tools we need to retrieve moderately frequently (but don’t need to have available all the time) and added a wall of steel cabinetry to augment workspaces and (generally) keep our various tools and projects in some sort of reasonable order and accessibility.

Colin has a drafting table for smaller scale painting, positioned against the north facing window wall.

For quick photoshoots (we often photograph our sculptures under natural light from the skylights), we have three colors of paper backdrops suspended from the ceiling. As we’re often on a tight schedule, we’ve found this makes the set up and break down a breeze.


Flexibility is key to keeping the workflow…well, flowing. It’s important to us to maintain a diverse palette of sculptural options, meaning we work in both bronze and clay. Add Colin’s paintings to the mix, and it quickly becomes a very busy workspace.

Accommodating the workflow of two productive artists requires adaptability, consequently, just about everything in the studio is on wheels. The space is frequently (and quickly) reconfigured to suit our current projects.

Wheels make our world go round! (And we’ve tried a fair number to find the ones that perfectly suit our needs)

When we’re working on public art commission projects, or Colin is prepping and painting large-scale works, there’s not a ton of space for other creative tasks (though we do manage to fit in a few).

This fellow is on wheels, but needed to be raised higher for the finishing touches, so he got a lift from some studio buckets!

When the main studio is completely occupied by one of us is preparing for a show or we’re sculpting a monumental commission, our workflow expands into the exhibition space. We reconfigure the side spaces and create more working room. My clay figures can take several months to dry before firing, so I often rotate from working in one area to another, to help keep the fragile, drying sculptures out of harm’s way.

And, I have to admit that a time or two, I’ve taken over the whole gallery space to get many large sculptures ready for shows.

Given our temperate weather much of the year, projects that are particularly noxious or messy are often tackled al fresco.

Also outside, Colin has created a little space in one of the small courtyards where he can do his morning writing for most of the year. There are only a few months over the winter where he has to find an inside location to write.

The kiln shop/metal working studio is a fireproof, block building with a metal roof. Here, we do our bronze welding, chasing and firing the ceramic kilns.

This big, old ugly beast is the gas kiln in which all the large ceramic sculptures are fired

It’s taken many years of building, considering, trying things and adapting to arrive at our current studio arrangement, which works for both of us. We’re grateful for the life we’ve built and the spaces that support our creativity. While I most naturally tend towards “tornado” in my working habits, I have found that taking a few moments at the end of each work session to tidy the area I’ve been working in produces the best results. Then, not only do the spaces in our home and studio look attractive and inviting, but the next time I’m ready to go, so are they. My tools are easy to find and I don’t have to move a bunch of detritus to get to what I need. It took a lot longer than it should have to come to this realization, but I have to admit that neatness and organization are the way to go to maintain  an effective and productive work schedule.

That said, in our studio, everything has its place which keeps things fairly tidy. Having the various spaces that can be arranged to coordinate with different projects helps us to simultaneously pursue multiple creative directions in our work. Even though things can get a wee bit congested, we revel in sharing the same space- constantly talking, giving input, sharing ideas and collaborating on sculptures. Our rapport, camaraderie and support for each other are my favorite parts of how our studio functions.