The Reading Studio

The Reading Studio is an off-grid live-in art space, parked in the small town of Reading, Vermont. Reading is where my grandparents settled and raised their family and where my grandmother lived most of her life, I began construction of the studio the year my grandmother Helen Kaija, passed away. My earliest questions for the project, such as “what does it mean to be self-sustaining?” and “how to design more environmentally sound spaces for artmaking?” changed as I began to understand the limits and implications of those questions. Individuals have limitations, now perhaps more than ever. We are part of families, society and brouder world. The construction of the Reading Studio taught me that creation necessitates a degree of collaboration. The original idea of creating an off-grid studio of my own, grew into a shared space where family could visit have an extra place to stay and spend time on the land. It is rare to create those moments, so perhaps rarer is the efforto to accommodate others. By building a space for myself, I in turn had something of my own to offer. I began construction of the studio in the summer of 2013 and just before its completion was accepted into an MFA program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The studio was built on a 8' x 14' flatbed trailer. Materials were gathered from a combination of locally sourced, salvaged, and recycled building products. A series of short stories were published online at the time of construction and now exist in the studio archive. 

Thanks to Geoff & Julie Martin, Kevin, Lisa, Abigail, Lauren, Gretchen, Ben and Oliver Kaija, the studio has a patch of grassy home in Vermont. This project is dedicated to Helen Kaija. 

The Reading Studio. 8’x14’x10’. Locally sourced and salvaged building materials. Reading, Vermont.

© Liljana Mead Martin 2019