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Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC

by Lauren Chorpening

I’m thankful that we can transform spaces to create what we need from them. As people grow and change, spaces can adapt. Author, illustrator and hand-lettering artist, Abbey Sy (ABC), has lived in her home since she was born. In the last year, she has converted the attic space in her family’s home in the Philippines to be a functioning, inspired and productive studio.” After I pursued freelance full-time, I began to slowly arrange the elements in my room to make it more conducive for work,” Abbey says. “It took me roughly three to four months to completely refurnish and redecorate this area of the attic.” Re-imagining her secluded attic in Quezon City has allowed her to jump into her freelance business, painting and writing without having to leave home.

Abbey’s beautiful, hand-lettered paintings are done in front of a sunny window. “I wanted to create a homey yet professional space that I can work with. The environment I work in affects my productivity behavior a lot, so I’m glad that I was able to turn it into a place I can effectively work in,” Abbey says. “The window here is pretty big, and I love how all the daylight seeps in when I work during the day.” Abbey’s incredible letters and paintings are the result of cultivating her creativity from the place where her heart is — home. – Lauren

Photography by Ber Garcia

Polaroid prints from Memorieslab
“A” pillow from Popjunklove
The ABCs of Hand Lettering from National Book Store (available at Amazon)
Sketch pad (Daler & Rowney) from Art Friend
Travel watercolor set (Daler & Rowney) from Fully Booked
Watercolor set (Schmincke) from Sennelier
The Great Discontent from Basheer Graphic Books
White work table from IKEA

Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey's studio is on the top floor of the house that she lives in with her mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and brother in Quezon City, Philippines. The attic is hers to create her intricate lettering and run her freelance business.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey's book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering, came out September 2015. Her room has allowed her the space to paint, write and create.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
"The stamp on the right side was hand carved by my friend Kara, and it’s what I use during my book signings. It says, 'Always Be Creating,' because it’s always been my mantra ever since I started," says Abbey.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey's space floods with light from the wall of windows in front of her painting table. "This table is mostly where I paint, because daylight is sufficient to do work that involves color (especially when I paint). It’s usually messy because this is also where I shoot most of my Instagram content. I think the most interesting part of this area is that the window is triangular," says Abbey.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
"These are art materials I commonly use for work. Most of the containers I used were either recycled from old juice bottles or dug up from my mom’s stuff from their old home," says Abbey.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey's desk is layered with her paintings and photographs that keep her inspired.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey's love for travel can be seen in moments all over her studio.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
"I insisted on getting this pair of wooden clogs in Holland because they were lovely. Sometimes I put some of my pens and markers inside," says Abbey.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
"I collect figurines of landmarks I’ve visited - and they’re essential parts of my room."
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
"I like to do a lot of reading at downtime, most of which are [books] about productivity or creativity. I recently got my iMac and it’s been keeping me efficient so far with admin work and other computer-related work I have to do on a daily basis," says Abbey.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
One of the hard parts about transforming part of the home into her workspace is that it came with structural quirks. The attic's dormers and glass pane walls and windows meant that Abbey wouldn't have a plain wall to use. "I don't have a plain wall here in the attic - only glass windows, which kind of sucked at first, but I turned it into an announcement board and I post most of my achievements and artworks of my friends to keep me constantly inspired."
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Even Abbey's "business side" to her studio is full of creative inspiration.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
"My bed is situated at the farthest part of the room. It's at the farthest part because I have to refrain myself from lying down if I feel lazy from working. I like turning off the lights except a small bulb near the bed on nights that I write," says Abbey.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
What I'm most thankful for about my studio...
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey in her attic space.
Studio Tour: Abbey Sy of ABC | Design*Sponge
Abbey's studio floor plan.

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