Fi Shailes
Guest writer
Posted 3 months ago

Step into my office #6: A peek into one freelancer’s workspace

Each month, Coconut meets a self-employed business owner – and we take a peek at their workspace!

From sheds to caravans, we’ve already discovered some extraordinary spaces on our quest to see how self-employed people are choosing to live and work. This month is no exception as we travel into the heart of the English countryside.

Here, we speak to Kia Cannons of Sticks + Ink. Kia is a self-employed abstract artist, and she’s currently based in a rented studio space within arts centre Farnham Maltings (Farnham). She also works as an adviser for creative entrepreneurs, coaching them on how to grow their business using Instagram.

Interestingly, Kia already tried working from a shed, but she’s recently switched to a hired studio as she needed a space which would better fit her working needs.

How did you end up working where you are now?

I moved to my new studio recently having previously worked from a friend’s shed at the bottom of her garden. Before that, I was working at my dining table.

Studio sign    

I needed a bit more space to paint my new series of paintings – I had just been offered an exhibition at a gallery in Paris, and around the same time got a call to say a studio had come up locally, so I took it as a sign and took the leap to pay out for a space.  

I’m a lot more productive in my business now, as the studio is just a five-minute walk from my home – so I can work much more often than when I had to drive to my friend’s shed. I also don’t get distracted with ‘life chores’ like I used to when I worked from my dining table.

What is it that you like about your new studio space?

I love my new space because the natural light is amazing; an absolute must for photographing my work and creating beautiful imagery for my popular Instagram account.  

The wider building (Farnham Maltings) is steeped in local history. In the 1750s it operated as a tannery, and as a creative, I hugely appreciate working somewhere that enchants me and has a lovely energy that is almost tangible as I paint.

The River Way runs past the building too, so I get to eat my lunch outside next to the water. It brings me a lot of joy, after years previously spent working in central London!

My actual workspace is shared with another artist, and my side of the studio features an extremely high-pitched roof, which creates a wonderful light and airy feel to the space.  

Since moving in, I’ve kitted it out with only beautiful inspiring furniture and objects so it feels like a wonderfully inspiring space in which to paint.

I can also have people come to my studio and view my work, or run lessons – both of which I couldn’t do from my friend’s shed space.


In general, I feel this is a great way to work for now. My ultimate dream is still a ‘work from home’ situation; a barn conversion would be perfect, so I could work even more often!

However, in the meantime, this is a great set-up, and it allows me to make much better use of the small window of time I have to run a business (i.e. inside the school day).

How did you furnish your studio space?

It cost me around £700 to furnish the space. I have a standing table, plan drawers, a regular table, storage and a lot of heaters.

This is because the part of the building I am in has no heating – so its hat, coat and gloves on for the first couple of hours when I start the day on a cold winter’s morning!

Do you have any plans this year to make further improvements to the space?

Yes, absolutely. I plan to utilise the high wall/ceiling space by hiring a carpenter to build a drying rack for my works on paper, and to add wooden brackets to my painting wall to enable me to paint various sized and shaped canvases more easily.

Many thanks Kia, for letting us see your studio!  If you’d like to find out more about Kia’s work, check out the Sticks + Ink Instagram page.

Read the last article in this series.

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