I love looking at people’s workspaces, don’t you? Today, let’s take a look at The Scout Project creator Libby Zay’s cozy studio. Her Baltimore-based office is full of interesting objects that all have their own story!
Libby and I are working on a series of studio visits with different Baltimore artists and illustrators. We’re kicking this all off with sharing our respective spaces. Here’s what Libby has to say about hers:
The Scout Project is a merit badge program for curious people of all ages. Basically, I provide badges that people can use as rewards when pursuing a new hobby or learning a new skill. I also maintain a blog that’s meant to inspire readers and encourage them to discover new things.
The office where I write is a funny space. To get to it, you have to walk through our bedroom. It’s not an uncommon setup in rowhomes, and it actually makes the space feel a little more private and quiet. There are two windows that overlook our tiny backyard.
My laptop travels around quite a bit. I work a lot at the kitchen table or on the couch, and sometimes escape to a nearby coffee shop. But most often, I work in here. This is also where I package up badge orders and keep inventory. The man in the newspaper clipping is my dad, who invented a coin counter in the 1980s called the “Ready to Roll.” We traveled to trade shows and fairs so he could sell it.
I love field guides and reference books, especially vintage ones. They always have the best illustrations! I used to live near The Book Thing, a warehouse in Baltimore full of donated books that are absolutely free. It was dangerous. I think my boyfriend, Raul, was relieved when we moved outside of walking distance.
Confession: these pennants are from eBay. I wish they had a cooler story, but I still love them. I’m from Ohio and now live in Baltimore. I have a lot of pride for both places.
The typewriter and most of this thread is my inheritance form my grandma on my mother’s side, who was a gifted seamstress. I have a few letters she typed on here stored away. One of them sternly tells me I should keep my room clean! The box with the stamps on it is a music box made by my paternal grandfather, who I called “Boppy.” He had a woodshop in his basement and he collected stamps and coins.
Inside the music box is a picture of Boppy and my grandma, plus a bunch of other random items (oh, there’s where all my chapstick has been hiding). Grandpa superglued a dime with the successive year on it for each year I’ve been alive. It looks like i haven’t added a dime since 2005; time to hop on that!
All of the badges are kept in this library card catalog that my dad gave me. I worked with an illustrator named Alyssa Nassner to create all of them, and am trying to work with topic experts to outline guidelines for each of them.
This traditional Ecuadorian painting is one of my favorite possessions. It depicts Quilotoa, a volcano that erupted 800 years ago and has since filled with water. The painting is one of the few souvenirs I have from six months in Ecuador. If I remember correctly, I paid $4 for it.
In our guest bedroom/reading room is a little nook with more books. Two of these cowboy hats were my grandparents; they got them on a cross-country RV trip. Raul and I picked up the one on the far right in Bandera, Texas—the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
I worked at a coffee shop for five years, and these coffee bags are from the roastery where the beans came from. I’m hoping to someday introduce a coffee badge. And yes, that’s John Wayne. In case you couldn’t tell, I like Americana!