InteriorsStudio Tour

Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords

by Lauren Chorpening

Emily Jeffords moved into her first small studio with just a table and a box of paints. Her impressionistic oil landscapes now take up two of the largest studios at the White Whale Studios & Gallery in Greenville, SC. She shares one of the spaces with her husband, Daniel, who is a software developer and entrepreneur. “I am most thankful for the space to create,” Emily says. “I am always amazed at the enabling power of space. There is a lot of energy in this space because we give much of ourselves while spending time here. I work out of a beautiful communal studio housed in an 1890s mill house. The building is rich with history of many passionate people learning and living and I am honored to be a tiny part of its continuance.”

Emily’s family moved frequently when she was growing up. Their time spent living in the Middle East and several places in the States were foundational, as her varied background and experiences encouraged her creatively. “Seeing a wide scope of the world has increased my appreciation for art, landscapes, and our innate human connection to land and nature,” Emily says. For her daughters, their time in the studio will undoubtedly be one of the avenues that opens their own eyes to the creative process and the world’s need for art.

The bright, white studios are the perfect backdrop for Emily’s color-rich paintings. “As someone easily distracted by clutter, it was important for me to treat the interior design as simply as possible while still providing all the functionality a busy, working studio requires,” Emily says. “We white-washed everything and chose to decorate with only white furniture, creating a blank canvas for all the activity and artwork that happens in this space.” The gorgeous, historic space is set off with Emily’s beautiful pieces and has allowed her the inspiration to keep creating. –Lauren

Photography by Paige French

Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"In this studio space I create most of my paintings. It has soaring ceilings, the freshest light, it smells of coffee, lavender, and paint and, while here, I try to avoid my inbox, paperwork, and other stressors that distract from my work," says Emily. "There are other times and places for those things. This space is for moody music, flooding light, color, and paint."
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
The landscapes are painted on canvas with oil. Large-scale and mid-size paintings are what Emily creates most frequently.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
There is something so beautiful about used tools with a little patina.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
Each finished painting spends time in the studio above the mantel before being sent to the collectors.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"Painting feels so fluid and natural to me – almost like speaking (but much slower and messier). This is definitely one of the places on earth I feel most at home," says Emily.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"When I start a fresh painting, I love to develop the color story in the palette before working on the canvas. It helps to guide my choices throughout the process."
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"I love displaying my tools and supplies. Brushes in jars are not only lovely and textural but keeps them quite accessible! Because I paint in oil, the air quality is very important to me. Ventilation and high ceilings are definitely helpful, but I love filling my studio with plants as well," says Emily. "Plus, who doesn’t love a good Staghorn Fern?"
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"We decided to keep this studio as minimalistic as possible so that the light that floods the room from three walls of windows and the house plants are the only true embellishment," says Emily.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
The upstairs studio is the one she shares with her husband, Daniel. She uses this space to answer emails, process orders and to house the print side of her business.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"My daughters have grown up in my studio. When they were small they would crawl around and I would hold them on one hip while I painted with my one free hand," says Emily. "Now, they bring stacks of books, talk about dragons, and sprawl out on the floor creating other-worlds with watercolor paints."
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"I call this my 'Calder Chandelier.' Alexander Calder’s work has always inspired me, especially his circus creations and wire portraits. This chandelier came about after studying his work and a couple late-night espressos. The blue and white pieces of artwork are part of a collection of cyanotypes I did with my daughters this summer," says Emily.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"This is the print area. We work with a local printer who creates super-fine quality 'giclee' prints on canvas," says Emily. "They come to the studio in a huge roll and we carefully cut them by hand to avoid any damage to the canvas, package, and ship each order right here!"
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
"I have had this palette knife since day one of my first painting class in college and we’ve been through quite a bit together since then," says Emily.
Studio Tour: Emily Jeffords | Design*Sponge
Emily's two studio floor plans. Studio A is her painting studio. Studio B is her business and print space.

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