Founded by Calgary artists Becky McMaster and Andrew Frosst, Workshop Studios is an artist’s dream, the newest tenant in a fabulous old industrial building, tucked away in Bonnybrook. Discerning shoppers and lovers of beautiful things will recognize the address — it’s shared by Paul Hardy and Uniquities, and these new neighbors are fitting in just fine. We spoke with Becky and Andrew to find out more.
What inspired you to start Workshop Studios?
A. We’ve both been involved in the arts in Calgary for a long time, and we’ve seen how little attainable, flexible studio space is available for artists. We wanted to change that while creating a place that we’d like to work. Unlike other studios, Workshop is an open concept, so the artists have a real sense of community. You can talk to each other over the half-walls. It’s been amazing to see the friendships that have already developed here.
What kinds of artists are working here?
We have such a huge variety! The studio spaces are all really different, some are tiny and some are big, but each one seems to fit someone. We have a glass artist who just needed one of our micro studios, we have painters who are loving the larger spaces with huge windows. There are several ceramic artists, furniture designers and woodworkers, illustrators, photographers, and graphic designers.
Aside from the artists who are renting the studio spaces in the building, who else can access the facilities?
We offer memberships for artists who might want to use the ceramics facilities, and once it’s up and running, the woodshop too. Qualified members get the same unrestricted 24-hour access that our studio tenants get. There are also some great ceramic artists who are teaching pottery classes that anyone can sign up for, from six-week wheel-throwing or hand-building classes, to our upcoming Date Night “Throw like Swayze & Moore” classes (one night, featuring wine and DJ).
You’ve also got one studio set aside for an artist-in-residence program, how did that come about?
One of our biggest supporters and business mentor, Ben Falconer (owner of Phoenix Comics), wanted to sponsor a space for a local artist. We were blown away by the variety, thoughtfulness and quality of the submissions that we received in response to our call. We’re so glad to be able to offer the space and time for the selected artists to work, and to have them be part of our community.
What’s next for Workshop?
We’re working hard on getting the woodshop up and running, and are looking at repaving the big yard out back so we can add some more kilns, and more importantly a pizza oven! (everyone already congregates in the kitchen, so…) We’ll be adding more classes too — one of our woodworking artists Brendan Fraser is planning an IKEA-hack-type of class, where you’ll make an Ikea style piece of furniture using refined materials and techniques.
Find out more about Workshop, register for classes, and apply for memberships at workshopstudios.ca
Photography and words by Julya Hajnoczky