A Woodworker’s Wonderful Studio in Downtown LA
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Name: C.C. Boyce of Few Bits
Location: Artist District; Downtown Los Angeles, California
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Rent
Hailing from the Midwest, this LA transplant has found her love for woodworking creating incredible planters, lighting fixtures and furniture. Inspired by the artist dwellings of downtown Los Angeles, C.C. Boyce’s new wood shop exemplifies all the hard work that goes into hand craftsmanship.
C.C. believes that what makes her space significant is that all the elements work together all the time. Organization is the key essential element in designing any workspace: “The wood shop can get real messy real fast if there isn’t a space to put everything away,” she says. “I built all my storage as needed, as I went along. Some things are not used as much and can be tucked away, but some things are used all the time and need to be stored within reach.”
Having lived in downtown Los Angeles since 2002, it has had a tremendous effect on C.C. “I am surrounded by new art all the time and it’s always inspiring me to create new things. I walk and bike a lot, which I think makes for a different experience and shows me a different perspective. Downtown is a constantly changing and evolving place, which I think helps me push my boundaries and keep things fresh.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Minimal industrial chic?? Haha I don’t know.
Inspiration: Obviously, I needed the space to be a functioning wood shop. But I also knew I would be spending a lot of time there and I wanted it to be a place where I could feel inspired to create. I decided to make a separate space for my desk and an area for objects that I have collected from other artists whom I admire. That dusty pink has always been my favorite color, so I painted the accent wall of the “studio” area that color.
Favorite Element: I’m so grateful to be surrounded by other artists and makers. The building in which I work is subdivided into smaller spaces and there are lots of other artists from a broad range of disciplines. There is always someone around to help problem solve, give an opinion, or just to chat with on a break. I think I would go crazy if I had a workshop by myself somewhere with no one to talk to.
Biggest Challenge: Creating a wood shop from literally nothing. All that was provided to me were 4 ugly sheetrock walls. Mudding, taping, priming and painting those 10-foot walls by myself was a ton of work and took forever, but I knew it was going to be worth it. After I got the space ready, I was on Craigslist and eBay every day for months, searching for quality machines and tools. Along the way, as I worked, I built the storage that I needed and changed the floor plan to suit my workflow.
What Friends Say: The guys who work in my building say it’s a “girly shop,” but I take that as a compliment. My friends love to hang out there, and are surprised that they would want to hang out in a wood shop. When someone calls me for a happy hour drink, I tell them to come on down with a six pack. Nothing beats a cold beer after a day of woodworking.
Biggest Embarrassment: When I tried to move a 600 lb. piece of machinery by myself and it tipped over and fell on my leg. I had to call for a bunch of dudes to help me pick it up off the ground.
Proudest DIY: The big Hickory cabinet in the middle of my shop. It has 3 functions: out feed table for the table saw, work bench, and storage. Having only 500 sq ft to work with presented an organization challenge, which the cabinet solves. It totally changed how I work and how clean my shop is.
Biggest Indulgence: I don’t think I indulged on anything. Everything in there is pretty necessary.
Best Advice: My wood shop teacher and mentor, Jack Selph, told me to be patient when buying machinery, not to jump at the first thing I saw. “There’s always someone selling something else tomorrow,” he said, and he was right. There were a few times that I thought I had missed out on a great deal, only to find a better deal the next week.
Dream Sources: I love to get pieces from other artists and have them in my view.
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
- The pink is Lotus Blossom from Glidden.
- The green is custom color taken from vintage wallpaper. I’ll have to get back to you on the wall color.
- Mini star Piñata by Roberto Benavidez
- Postcards from Lisbet Bussche
- Prints by Cathy McMurray
- There are a couple other postcards, I’ll get back to you with more names.
- Chair in front of the desk is thrifted
- Wall assemblage is made from leftover plywood scraps
Thanks, C.C! And thanks to Rebecca Buenik for styling our shoot!
(Photography: Bethany Nauert)
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