An artist’s workspace can say a lot about them. What they put on the walls or what tools they use can reveal more about the person and their process. Frame of Mind is a monthly Red feature focusing on Baton Rouge creators and the spaces they work in.
A spare bedroom is usually turned into a guest room or maybe even an office space, but in the Mid City household of Clay Achee and Kirstin Martinez, the spare room is the center of a creative, puppet-making business, Beyond the Garage. You may have heard of these puppets through the rock 'n' roll band Ziggy and the Junkyard Band.
Beyond the Garage's puppets are vibrant, playful monsters perfect for children or the child-at-heart, and previous commissions have led to puppets of people and celebrities, like Larry David, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia and even a grandmother who wanted herself depicted as a troll.
The small puppet-making studio is jam-packed with music memorabilia and records to keep the creative energy flowing. Collections of fur and fleece of almost every color are stockpiled and organized on shelves alongside buckets of hand picked clothing scraps, like denim that Achee personally thrifts and collects to design costumes. Look through the drawers, and you'll find various pieces and parts that bring a puppet to life, like hand-painted red foam tongues and 3-D printed eyes. Because one of the biggest lessons of running a creative business is learning to be resourceful, scraps of synthetic hair and fur are saved and kept in clear jars.
A hot glue gun, a drill, pliers and a comb are just a few of the various tools laying around, and giant sheets of mattress foam and a bundles of wire help to make up the inside and armature of the puppet. However, the main tool — and focal point of the room — is an industrial sewing machine Achee uses to construct everything.
Physically, Beyond the Garage is an tiny space with a typical artist's chaos. But zoom out and it is a huge, imaginative brand adding a playful spirit and unique DIY creations to Baton Rouge.
More photos from the space can be found online at theadvocate.com.