My husband calls my workshop, “Sue’s World.” Like most artists who get absorbed in the creative process, I tend to get lost in my own little world. It’s no small wonder he gave it that name. The workshop is a space that is all my own. I can make any kind of mess that I please without worrying about the furniture or the carpet. It has nothing but plywood floors, unfinished interior walls and wood tables. Everything a creative woman could want.
The building that currently houses our office and workshop originally began as a one-room storage building that was here when the property was purchased in 1997. It sits adjacent to our cabin. We only have to walk a few dozen feet from our back door to step inside. The original owner apparently had plans to expand the building because there was a foundation already laid out next to it. We used it to store tools and equipment, and later in 2006, we built a small room inside of it to use as our office.
An Inventor’s Dream
Among many of his other talents, my husband Big D is an inventor. His background includes training and experience as a machinist. Whenever he needs a part or piece of something that he can’t find at the hardware store, he will usually make whatever it is from scratch. I’ve seen him do it dozens of times, and it always fascinates me to see his designs. Some of his gadgets are made using spare parts and odd materials that he keeps handy for just such purposes.
Big D worked for years on a particular invention and decided to have it patented. While we waited nearly two years for the patent to be approved, we made decisions for manufacturing the final product and decided to do the assembly in-house. For that, we needed a building. Our eyes turned toward the empty foundation sitting next to the storage building. It would be the perfect size for the production facility we needed. Several months later, that’s how the new building came to be.
As the story continues, our dreams for the invention came to a complete stop before they could actually get started. The patent was rejected. Even though it was an original design, certain mechanisms were considered to be borderline infringements on other existing patents. We would have had to pay a considerable amount of money to be able to continue. Doing so at that time would have bankrupted us. It broke our hearts to allow this dream to die, but still today, I truly believe it was wisdom to do so. We learned so much about the patenting process along the way.
An Unexpected Opportunity
With the invention now out of the picture, we were left with a newly constructed building and a lot of empty space. At the time, I had been doing all of my crafting and painting on a short wooden counter top in the original storage building. I would spend hours there painting and standing on a cold, cement floor with one small window for light. There was no insulation, so it was either very hot or very cold depending on the weather. When winter came, I had to bring the projects indoors and work from a portable table. The new empty building provided an unexpected opportunity to expand my creative horizons.
The first year, Big D constructed a long, wooden table for me to use. We placed it in one corner of the new building. It felt luxurious to have all of that open space around me — including the high, unfinished ceilings above. As my craft business began to grow, that one table turned into a few more.
The Best of Both Worlds
We operate a family company from home. The new building now houses our company’s offices as well as The Laughing Cabin’s workshop. I work for our family company during the week as an administrator, bookkeeping and dispatcher. With the flexibility of working from home, I am also able to spend a few hours creating each day. It’s simply a matter of getting up from my desk and taking a few steps through a door where I am immediately transported into “Sue’s World.“