This is the first installment of Creative Caves, a blog series that showcases the various work spaces where WOW designers create their wearable art masterpieces. 

Fifi Colston, Wellington, New Zealand

Here is my studio, and how it looks when I’ve finished a project and before I start the next one; I need a clear space to be able to think. There’s a certain order to my filing, in a never-ending attempt at reducing chaos. When I’m working however, there are scraps of paper, foam and fabric everywhere. I share this space with my partner- his desk is on the other side out of shot, where he thrashes away at the keyboard- it’s all paperclips and spreadsheets in his world and he is forced to breathe in my paint and trip over mannequins. I think this is good for him- gives him an appreciation of the artist’s life.

I’ve had many studios over my career both in the home and outside of it, and this, now that the kids are grown and gone, is my perfect space. They are maybe a tiny bit annoyed that we took the wall out between their bedrooms to make it.

I have ready access to the basement where I do my dirty work, kitchen for coffee and the garden for sunshine. What you can’t see in this shot, is the large attic space we have where I store excess fabrics, materials, mannequins, costumes and old wearable art creations. We will move when the ceiling caves in. 

Visit Fifi’s website

Erica Gray, Gold Coast, Australia

The whole house seems to be my studio, at least that’s what my partner says… however my primary work zone is, by order, relegated to one end of our main lounge room.

I’m a sculptor, painter and a wearables designer and a lot of my work currently involves utilising 3D printing technologies alongside traditional sewing techniques. As you may see in my little snapshot, I’m also a bit of a hoarder and find myself continually adding to my collection of materials, sewing bits, Hardware bobs, polyester stuffing’s as well as 3D printing filaments & tools which is mostly stored in other rooms.

On & around my work table is an array of torsos, full body mannequins, dressmaking dolly’s & head blocks which I regularly utilise for my wearable works. When I’m working on my stitched soft sculptures I also utilise the surrounding space (aka lounge, dining, sitting… umm everywhere) to place & drape larger pieces as I stitch and join components together.

So essentially, most times my immediate work area looks like a bomb site (I tidies up a little for you ;-), and while I try to contain my stuff within this space, more often than not, it ends up everywhere, but don’t worry, my partner barricades his office to keep my creeping compositions out… so far.

Visit Erica’s website

Adam McAlavey, London, United Kingdom

My flat doubles up as my studio, it’s pretty small but a nice place to work. It looks out onto local allotments and is right on the edge of Hackney Marshes, a mini wilderness right on the edge of the Olympic Park. The bright green parakeets are always flocking around the trees outside. I love how it feels peaceful and green here but I can hop on my bike and in 40 mins be in the Tate or V&A to get some inspiration.

I grew up making things from stuff I’d scavenged from building sites, now I do a lot of work as a set builder and scavenge lots of stuff that gets thrown away at the end of the shoot. I’ve become a master at using every single nook and cranny to store bits and pieces. I try to keep as much of my work as possible for future performances or recycling into another project. You’ll never see latex casually hanging around or left out in my studio. When I’m not working on it, it’s packed away in black bags as sunlight damages the surface and takes away the shine, and you HAVE to keep your latex shiny!

Visit Adam’s website

Saar Snoek, Sellingen, Netherlands

10 years ago we moved from a big city to a remote village – according to Dutch standards – close to the border of Germany. We wanted to live somewhere where it is dark at night and you can walk for hours without meeting someone. We found a perfect place in a perfect spot, but at that time I could not foresee that I would be making large sculptural felts, so my work space is far too small, only about 30 square meters and an extra storage and sewing room, so it is a logistic puzzle to make everything fit. My huge table has wheels, so I can move it around to make space and I can hang stuff in the ceiling. It looks a bit like a Prepper’s cabin with only useful tools and materials stacked inside. That my place is small doesn’t mean to me that I have to make small work, it just needs a little more planning. Maybe in the future I can build a nice atelier next to the house.

We have a flower garden, a vegetable patch and are surrounded by nature, so when I’m not inside my studio, I’m most of the time outdoors with my dogs, taking long walks and searching for mushrooms, fungi and other nice lifeforms. 

Visit Saar’s website

Shelley Bakker, Prebbleton, New Zealand

This is my creative space.  It’s a bit compact but works well. As I’m sure if I have more space I’d just fill it with more creative mess. I work from home as a home based designer/printer since 2001. Some days when my head is full of exciting ideas, i have to be very self-disciplined to stay out of  my creation space! I have a passion for painting, recycling and also a love of old books (being a printer for 33 years not surprising). I have bits and pieces tucked away in all spaces. It’s a space where I can happily disappear into creative mode and still keep an eye on what’s going on with the family.   

The only reason the couch is there is because no room anywhere else.  Plus one of the cats always loves to supervise and breaks the mess from the rest of the house.  I love sitting there as it has great lighting coming in during the day and I can watch the wax eyes and fantails frolic within the trees right outside the window.

Visit Shelley’s website

Svenja, Queensland, Australia

Fourteen years ago when I moved in with Matt, I set up my gear in his garage. Later on, I moved into the spare bedroom of the house. In 2013, Matt built me my beautiful studio under the house, which consists of a large carpeted room for my sewing work, and a wet area for my felt and dyeing work. Even with all this space, I often have work all through the house (well, my excuse is that the bigger ones just don’t fit under the low ceiling d own there) and sometimes, I even end up in Matt’s shed!

Visit Svenja’s website

Anna Cortada, London, United Kingdom

I’m a Catalan artist and fashion designer based in Barcelona and London. My studio in London is inside to my room, is beautiful and there are 2 big windows. I can see a big gardens, nature and it’s really quite. 

In this pictures you can see a lot of things, pictures, scarf and a lot of colours. My work is based in colours, textures, paintings and fashion clothes. My paintings comes from my mind and are like a pattern for clothes. You can see my mannequin which I used for create clothes. 

I like having the place tidy but because I love creating all the time.

Visit Anna’s website

Jessica Thompson, Brisbane, Australia

One day many years ago my partner Gary created a great big activities space for himself at the back of his house. Then he met me. Then I moved in. Then I took over that space with yarn and claimed it as my own. No pool room. This space is my yarn cave. It’s where I design and create to a soundtrack of grisly true crime murder shows and Rupaul’s Drag Race. It’s a mess yes. But it’s a controlled mess. I’m a clutter bug. It’s a battle for me in many aspects of my life. I never thought I’d have need for a mannequin. That was until I met WOW. Thankfully my friend had a spare one. I call her Wendy. It’s a bit awkward as it’s the same name as my sister in law. The apprentice is our dog Bento. It’s his white hairs that I have to spend ages picking off my creations. He produces a seriously HUGE amount. I really should learn spinning. I’d have an endless supply of material.

Visit Jessica’s website

Photo credits: All photos were provided by the featured designers.