Show us your space: Lorna Frye
From light-filled private painting studios to collaborative offices with cityscape views, the varied workspaces of CCAD students and alumni represent the multitude of career paths an art and design school can help forge. Here’s a peek into where several of our students and grads make the magic happen M–F (or, sometimes, 24/7).
A freelance artist, illustrator, and homeschooling mom, Lorna Frye created her business, Creative Touch CNC, out of necessity. The studio was part of Frye’s homeschool, used for educating her children and for her own enjoyment. Then, two years ago, her husband was laid off, and the family needed a quick source of income. Since then, Frye has made engraved signs, 2D and 3D artwork, jewelry, birdhouses, and much more. Here’s a look inside her activity-filled space.
Can you describe your studio?
My studio is a spare room on the first floor of my home. It has three large windows and a 12-foot ceiling. It’s only 11 by 13 feet, yet it contains a vast array of modern and traditional tools that any artist would love to play with daily, as I do. It houses a number of paints, from acrylics and watercolors, to inks and Krylon spray. On the opposite spectrum it has hundreds of electronic components from resistors to microprocessors, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and LEDs. It contains large equipment such as a 30-by-48-inch Platform CNC router, which my husband, Aaron, and I built from a kit. It has a cheap Chinese laser engraver that I heavily modified. It has a Lulzbot mini 3D printer, a drill press, and bunch of hand tools. The most important tool in the room is the Mac Pro tower with dual 32-inch monitors and drawing tablet. Illustrator, Fusion 360, and ZBrush are my go-to apps.
What kind of work do you do in this space?
I do a little bit of everything. I’m sort of an eclectic artist. I’m the person people come to when they don’t know where to go to. I help people get their ideas out into the world. My husband, who holds a full-time job as a CNC operator, also spends his spare time helping bring projects to life. Together we do the ordinary as well as the unusual, everything from signs, to 3D modeled art, whether it be 3D printed or CNC milled, to electronic pieces for escape games to laser-engraved carvings to portraits. There are also my personal projects, some of which are unfinished.
How do you prefer to work (late at night, completing a project all at once, or several pieces in tandem, etc.)?
I would work nonstop if it weren’t for a body that needs sleep and personal, as well as social, obligations. I might be a workaholic or, at the very least, obsessive. I like to have at least three projects going at any given time. I get work done faster that way. When I lose steam on one or encounter something than needs to be thought through, I can switch to another project, and in the freshness and excitement of bringing it about, I find myself fueled with the creative energy to overcome the obstacles of the first. I am a homeschooling mom and still have four teens at home (my oldest two have already graduated) so I am often interrupted. This used to be a problem, but I have come to use their interruptions as an opportunity to talk about what I’m working on, which also helps fuel that excitement and drive, and eventually chases them off so I can return to working. Haha.
What do you love about your space?
I love the closeness of having it always at my fingertips, night or day. I love the light that floods in through the windows. I love the compactness of the room, keeping everything “right there.” What I love most about my studio is the collection of personal projects I have adorning it. Some are finished; others are not—like the third, but unfinished, painting in my set of lion illustrations, which are a spiritual collection for me. They are there to inspire me, to remind me that I don’t just bring the ideas of others to life, that my life isn’t just about work, but that it’s more; it’s an internal well within me that I draw from for myself and for others. I love that my children use the space as well, that they have such a great wealth of tools and materials for their own artistic endeavors.