Perch Studios provides co-working space, art exhibits to Carrboro

Artist Anna Troupe, center, is joined by friends at her opening in January. (Photo courtesy of Anna Troupe)
Artist Anna Troupe, center, is joined by friends at her opening in January. (Photo courtesy of Anna Troupe)

Around 10 years ago, a puppy tore up the cover of an old book belonging to Anna Troupe.

Trying to salvage the cover, Troupe meticulously attempted to piece it back together. That process eventually inspired her to make collage artwork, which evolved from a hobby into a profession.

Troupe’s work is now featured in an exhibit at Perch Studios, at 204 W. Main St. in Carrboro.

“It was quite a while before I felt willing to show my artwork and try to sell it,” Troupe said. “I feel like I am still developing what I do with collage and am excited to see where it goes.

“Conceptually, it’s very personal for me.”

Perch Studios is a co-working space — one people rent out together and share.

“(The space) is for anyone who needs a place to work for any reason — because the café is too noisy or their home is too distracting or their office is too far away,” said Vinci Daro, who is in charge of the space.

Perch Studios also contains an acupuncture studio run by Kim Calandra, who offers sessions two times per week and said she is trying to make acupuncture more affordable.

“Everybody who sits for work has some kind of ailment so it’s very complementary to the space,” Daro said.

Daro said Tim Peck, a Carrboro contractor and plumber, has owned the space since 2006. Perch Studios hosts an open house or art exhibit that opens once each month in conjunction with the 2nd Friday Art Walk. Before Perch Studios became a co-working space in August 2013, it housed the studio of artist Jennifer Padilla. Padilla continues to work out of a studio there.

“I think it’s a great space. It does what co-working is supposed to do,” said Carrboro Economic and Community Development Director Annette Stone. “(It) gives folks an opportunity to grow as a business and as a person and entrepreneur.”

Stone said the Carrboro cooperative on West Weaver Street provides a similar space to Perch Studios for co-working.

Daro said the people who use Perch Studios come from a variety of professions. There’s a biographer, a health care software developer, a comic book developer and a civil engineer.

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Anna Troupe’s work, Fruity Custards Everyone!, on display at her Perch Studios exhibit opening on January 10. (Staff photo by Alex Dixon)

Daro works in math education and said she also uses the space.

“We find out at the surface level what everyone does but we’re not working together,” Daro said. “Everyone’s just doing their own thing and everyone’s focused, so that’s the nice thing too — no one’s boss is in the room.”

Lindsey Alexander, a former editor at HarperCollins Publishers who now works as a contract editor and writer, said Perch Studios has different tiers of memberships. She works at the common table, which is $100 per month.

“Working from a home office can be isolating, and you also don’t have a firm reason to put work aside at the end of the traditional work day,” Alexander said. “Working at a co-working space, on the other hand, gives me a much stronger incentive in order to wrap up a day’s work by 5 p.m., go home, and recharge for the next day, rather than letting work slide into dinnertime, after dinner, first thing when I get up.”

Troupe’s exhibit opened on Jan. 10 and will be up for the rest of February, giving members of the community and the co-working space a chance to come view her collages.

She said the inspiration for her work comes from a variety of places, just like the materials.

“There’s so much great graphic design on everything now that I find interest in the paper bag from Walgreens or some weird junk mail advertisement, lots of things I would normally just throw in the recycling bin,” Troupe said. “My favorite thing to use lately is old gift wrap and greeting cards that I get from the scrap exchange in Durham.”

Troupe, a graduate student at N.C. State’s College of Textiles, says she is starting to incorporate her collages  into fabric and product design.

“All these remnants endear themselves to me for their unique beauty, they feel like gifts when I discover them honestly, and then it makes me happy to try to utilize that beauty in a work of art,” Troupe said.

 Story edited by Aaron Dodson

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Author of the article

Alex is Co-Editor of the Carrboro Commons and a journalism student at UNC-Chapel Hill.