“Get yourself a little studietto where no one will bother you at all.”
—Cennino Cennini, Book of Art, c. 1400s
it’s helpful to know that the term ‘studio’ derives from a verb as well as a noun. Studiolo denoted the scholar’s study or cabinet, but there was also studiare, linked to a certain kind of diligent or pleasurable work, which could take place anywhere.
Another interesting bit on the difference between a “studio” and a “workshop”:
The idea that the artist’s studio was somehow different from the artisan’s workshop took off in the 15th century. In Hall’s phrase, ‘the Renaissance concept of the studio involved a literal and symbolic turning away from the street.’ The most skilful and profitable craftsman of the Middle Ages was the goldsmith, whose reputation for honest dealing was predicated on the transparency of his working practices. Goldsmiths’ shops were open to the street, and to watching customers. By contrast, the 15th-century artist’s studio was premised on a measure of secrecy.
I like this tension between “studio” and “workshop.” I would like to think of my space as serving both functions, occupying a place somewhere in the middle — a place I go to be, by myself, but also a place where the people are free to visit me. (I love a good visit.)
But even before I built my current studio, I knew that a great deal of my work “could take place anywhere,” and indeed, a great deal of it takes place, as it did before, in the morning at the kitchen table.