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On Your Desk


Today, another workspace from a good friend here in my village: artist Shany Niv. Shany lived in Italy and Slovenia before she and her husband found their way to England and to Chagford -- where she's now as firmly rooted in the Dartmoor soil as I am myself. (While I'm envious of those who grew up in this lovely place, there's something about crossing an ocean to find the home of your heart that makes it truly magical.)

An artist and craftswoman in many mediums (including stained glass and glass jewelry design), Shany is currently focused on the renovation of the house she and her husband bought last year -- a charming, tumbledown building that needed an artist's touch to bring it back to life. Stepping inside its door is like stepping inside a painter's canvas-in-progress, and it's been a delight and inspiration to me to watch Shany's aesthetic vision of the house unfold.

Along with the usual building and painting work that goes along with house renovation, Shany also restores beautiful old furniture scavenged from our local recycling center, and collects fabrics in scrumptious colors and patterns to piece together into quilts and other textile projects. The studio pictured above and below is where she does her design and textile work. (And yes, if you recognize the big drawing on the wall below, it is indeed one of mine. In the photo above, the painting glimpsed at the end of the hallway is by another friend & neighbor, David Wyatt.)


"My workspace is in a wide hallway," says Shany. "The house will be spacious when we eventually complete it, but right now space is limited, so I confiscated two unused walls to create an improvised studio for my quilt making."


"I'm a huge Pre-Raphaelite fan so there's no surprise the quilt I'm currently working on is dedicated to William Morris. Apart from using only Morris fabrics, it also incorporates sketches of Morris by Burne-Jones and Morris quotes."


Below, more glimpses of the studio, and of Shany's dog Ozzie (a great friend of Tilly's since puppyhood):


Below, another gorgeous completed quilt, with a close-up of the handstitch work:


More desks to come....