An interview with author, photographer and teacher Emily Quinton

Helen —  July 22, 2015 — 16 Comments

An Interview With Emily Quinton

I have a bit of a special treat for you today. In tomorrow’s podcast I’ll be reviewing the book Maker Spaces, by Emily Quinton. Emily is the very talented photographer who runs Makelight Studios here in London (that’s one of her gorgeous photos above) and I’ve been lucky enough to attend one of her workshops, where she teaches photography to anyone who wants to learn to make beautiful images, using whatever camera or smartphone they already have.

Emily recently brought out her first book, which is focused on the studios and creative spaces of makers. As soon as I got my hands on it I knew I wanted to hear more about how it came into being, and Emily graciously agreed to talk to me about creating Maker Spaces, and the inspiration she found in the process. I’ve put my questions into italics to make it easy to follow along.

Emily Quinton Makelight Studios

Makelight Studios, from Maker Spaces
Photo credit: Emily Quinton

Where did the idea for the book come from?

Since becoming a mother 8 years ago I have paid a lot more attention to creativity at home. I have always made things and so has my husband, so when we came parents we wanted to share our love of making and creativity with our children, and create a home environment that could enable them to enjoy art as much as possible. Becoming a mother also made me realise just how much I am affected by the space around me. I have had to put a lot of work into not getting too upset by all the chaos of my four children every single day.

I was really intrigued to find out whether other creatives were so emotionally connected to their spaces. In addition to this I am fascinated by the modern maker movement and the combination of a return to traditional crafts alongside modern techniques like 3D printing and laser cutting.

How did you choose the makers to feature in the book?

This was the hardest task throughout the whole process. There are so many amazing makers out there and there were so many that I wanted to feature. I found most of them through social media, blogs and my online network. They all had to make amazing things and have wonderful homes and studios. They couldn’t be too similar to any of the others in my list and needed to live and work in one of the places on my locations list.

Did you do all the photography for the book?

Sadly not. My publishers decided I couldn’t write and photograph the book by myself. I will argue otherwise for future books!

What inspiration did you take from the makers you featured?

They all inspired me with their incredibly attention to detail in their spaces and their understanding of the importance of letting a space grow, develop and change as you and your work do. All the spaces had a great feeling of flow and positive energy.

Kimberly Austin Maker Spaces

Kimberly Austin’s studio, from Maker Spaces
Photo credit: Emily Quinton

Did visiting these amazing makers’ spacers make you want to set up your own Makelight studio?

Definitely! My studio has been a dream for a couple of years now and seeing other makers’ spaces really encouraged me to make it happen. It also made me determined to create a space that other makers can come to help them with their own work.

Any tips to share for setting up a really inspiring maker space that you’ve picked up from doing this project?

Create the space you want and need for your work. Create a space from your heart and not just from a Pinterest board! Make a space that is beautiful and reflects your work. Create a space that feels like an extension of your work and consciously realise how closely connected the two things are.

How long did it take for you to write and photograph the book?

The whole process from signing the contract to delivering the final manuscript was 7 months.

What is next for you? Any more book ideas in the pipeline?

I have a few more book ideas, which I hope to start exploring next year but for the rest of 2015 I am focusing on the Makelight Studio and to my online photography courses.


Teresa Robinson's Studio, from Maker Spaces

Teresa Robinson’s Studio, from Maker Spaces
Photo credit: Emily Quinton

I’d like to thank Emily so much for coming on the blog and sharing her journey to Maker Spaces with us.

Be sure to tune in for tomorrow’s podcasts for more about the book and info about how you can win a copy for yourself!

16 responses to An interview with author, photographer and teacher Emily Quinton

  1. This book looks LOVELY! To be honest, I find myself most productive on the subway while I am commuting to and from work. I also love to bring knitting along to the park and other outdoor locations.

    My at-home workspace needs some serious organization– which will probably have to wait ’til fall since these summer days are just too nice to be inside! 😉

  2. I have a craft-couch which is my maker space at home. However, one of my favourite maker spaces is the park down the road. For some reason when it’s a beautiful day and I’m outside, the creativity flows.

  3. Melinda (YarnderWoman) July 25, 2015 at 12:55 am

    A lovely article and thanks for the review on your website.

    My crafting space is a single-seater couch in the master bedroom. I have a table next to me (that gets messy, all too often) for all my project bags with current WiPs. I set up my ipad on the edge of the bed in front of me and can watch and listen to knitting podcasts while I knit away.

  4. My study (it is too disorganized and uncreative to be called a studio!) would ideally be the place where I knit. Your interview with Emily Quinton and your book review inspire me to make this happen! But in the meantime my favorite place to knit is the dining room, which has a large window that looks out over our garden. The table is made out of a beautiful wood and is spacious to work from. The chairs have no arms so I am free to move. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of the book!

  5. Sarah (3Trees) July 26, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    What an inspiring podcast and blog post. I’m embarrassed to admit that I do most of my crafting sitting up in bed, with a laptop computer on my lap or beside me. Typically the computer is playing a podcast, show or movie. As I look around now, I’m a bit sorry to see the colors of my room are almost all neutrals. I now feel the need to add some plants in front of the window and good color (throw pillows? pictures? rug?).

  6. My most favorite space to really work with my fiber is just about anywhere in my house. I have a fiber room that contains most of my fiber and tools and also has a TV for playing podcasts and DVDs that I want to review whether it be for spinning, dyeing or knitting. However, my husband (who is a machinist) loves making jewelry and likes it when I’m doing my thing (fiber or beads) to out in “the studio” (which used to be a garage) with him.

    So, I guess that my studio is wherever I am.

  7. I have had an unfinished workspace/craft room in progress for years and years. It doubles as a guest room with a single daybed. The thing is I tend to use it to look through pattern books and magazines and spread out my yarn and fabric stash when I am choosing my next project but all of my actual making is done on my side of the lounge where I have a comfy recliner, a big light and my messy basket of wips. Interestingly the lounge is quite separate from the messy kitchen area full of toys and kiddie paraphernalia! I loved the comment about creating a space from the heart not a Pintetest board! I think I have a dream image of what my craft room should look like that is so impractical for my needs! Thank you for presenting the book and a lovely podcast.

  8. Thanks for the giveaway! I love to knit on the couch with my dog Milo, and also in our little cabin in the woods, next to the campfire.. Would love to check out the spaces from the makers in the book!

  9. I love looking at the creative spaces of others, it’s so inspiring. I’m lucky enough to have a room but it’s more for storage than actual creating. I do most of my knitting at night in the lounge room while my partner watches TV.

    • I live in a relatively small house compared to other in my area. I share the house with my husband and two young children, therefore my creative spaces are project bags that can be taken anywhere in the house. I have bags for knitting, drawing, scrapbooking, etc. Whenever I find a moment and good spot, I can just take out a bag and start working. When the weather is nice, I even take my creative space outdoors. What we lack in space indoors is completely made up in our gardens and patios. For my family, having all that outdoor space was more important than a big house. I also have one more project bag just for the outdoors…it holds my gardening tools 

  10. My favourite creative space for knitting is nature – sitting at a lake, birds singing, water and the blue sky – that is perfect inspiration for me. And it might be about the natural light, too. For sewing I like to set up my machine on our living room table – plenty of light, a nice view and the music of my choosing…

  11. My favorite maker space is my front porch. Especially With some iced coffee in the summer, my dogs lounging, greenery all around and some knitting!

  12. I’m currently developing a studio space of my own for dyeing and rug making. Thank you for sharing this great resource for inspiration!

  13. What an interesting idea for a book! My creative space depends on my craft at the moment and season. If spinning in winter, I love my living room with the huge windows so I feel very cozy inside with snow and cold winds outside. Weaving requires some temporary-permanent space, so my craft room is where I work. Love to knit outdoors on my screened in patio in summer or in front of the fireplace in the family room in winter. That’s the great aspect of knitting, it is so portable!

  14. I have a little corner in the basement where my yarn and sewing machine live, but my knitting moves around place to place with me. Most of the time I’m sitting on the couch with it, but I also knit some at the kitchen table while others are eating or while I’m having my morning coffee.

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  1. CH 84: KAL Inspired Knitting and Maker Spaces | Curious Handmade Knitting Patterns - July 23, 2015

    […] for a giveaway! You have two weeks to enter this contest. All you have to do is go over to the post on my blog with Emily’s interview and leave a comment about your favourite space to […]

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