Clients matter

We wish Pastor Ed Weston well as he retires from Union United Methodist Church in Belleville, Illinois. Under his leadership, the church trustees achieved many mileposts with their church building and property during a period of ten years. U-Studios was involved in many of them, including the expansion of administrative office, new entrance lobby, remodel of the sanctuary, classroom expansion and planning, children’s day care and exterior renovations. 14

Ed Weston was our liaison with the church members during the many projects. He was one of the rare clients that allowed us to do our job in planning and design, which provided a better end product. We will miss his good humor, his rapport with us and others and knowledge of the workings of the church. Thanks Ed.



The value of a sketch determines the future.Sketch

From an early age I was taught by my parents, both artists, that a small sketch or doodle, begins a process of thought and imagination. The connection between seeing and manipulating the pen or pencil by hand provides a touch of magic leading to many creative ideas. My folks referred to the small drawing as a “thumbnail sketch” which typically is a few inches in size.  The question of “What do I draw?” or “Where do I start?” may be a challenge for young and old. But the value of the first mark on a page turns into the second and then the next and next, allowing the mind and hand to develop a path towards simple line concluding with the potential of brilliance.  (more…)

Sometimes, you just gotta make it…

So, the past week or so I have been focused on getting “And Then There Were None” on stage and then struck at Thomas Jefferson School.  All in all, it went great and the kids did an awesome job.  I couldn’t be prouder and neither could they.IMG_0346

In addition, at New Line, last Saturday we hung and focused lights. This was my first time to do lights in the Marcelle because Ken has lit the last three New Line shows.  I suspected that it would be easier than lighting a show at Wash U South because the fixed seating and no catwalks above meant moving an extension ladder around and working it into the rows of seats. In addition, WUS was not cabled for DMX and did not have auxiliary power outlets scattered in the grid…lessons that I used when planning the Marcelle.  That used to take hours just cabling.  We finished all of the the hang, cabling, and focus in just 6 hours at the Marcelle!  What a difference.  Plus, we were able to hang 2/3’s of it from scaffold rolling on the stage. The remaining 1/3 we could reach from a step ladder by moving one row of stack chairs!   (more…)

And we are loaded…

Yea, it’s not the way it sounds…

This weekend, we loaded two shows in two days.  On Friday, I loaded the set for “And Then There Were None” and Thomas Jefferson School.  While there is still plenty to do before it opens, they have a set to rehearse on this afternoon.


Last Thursday afternoon, Larry, Gary and I took a large load on stuff to the Marcelle and stashed it in the green room since it was a nice day. The pieces for the bar were pretty good size and I was not certain that they would fit through the front door.  By loading it on Thursday afternoon, I could have the dock readily available should I need it to get one or more pieces in.  Fortunately, even the front bar, which is the biggest piece just fit with less than an inch to spare.

Saturday, Kate, Melanie, Patrick, Patrick’s daughter Lydia and girlfriend Shelly, Kathleen, Richard, Paul and I loaded in and completely installed the set for “Atomic” at New Line.   (more…)

Step up to the bar…

This week has been a challenge.  After a long but productive weekend last weekend, I was unable to work at all this week.  A battle with the common cold curtailed my activities in the scenic shop.  So, today I got back at it.

IMG_0294Last weekend I detailed the bar and built the top half of the back bar.  This is the last major component of the set to be tackled.  Today, Melanie has to work at her real job and Kate is out of town for a couple of days with family.  So, I jumped into the shop alone to attack the bottom half of the back bar.  It is really just a big box made of 2×2 lumber and covered in luan plywood and I had little trouble dealing with it alone.  After making the box (8-feet long, 3-feet high and 1-foot deep), I applied some 1×4 trim to the fact of it to make it look like doors.  A 2×2 around the top edge, taped in, makes a counter top. (more…)