Finding the right easel can make a big difference when working in a studio in a domestic space, such as in a bedroom. When Stephani Twidwell commented on our Jackson’s Medium H-Frame Studio Easel on jacksonart.com, saying she’d bought it for her studio in a modern flat, we asked her to explain why she chose it and how she found it matched up to her expectations.
By Stephani Twidwell
‘This is a five-star product. The quality you get for the price is fantastic. It is clean, well-built, and comes (mostly) assembled. The centre mast comes upside down, so you just slide it off, turn it around, and slide it back in. And the ladder-style height adjustment for the bottom canvas support means no stripped-out dials. I bought an easel for a similar price point back in the US, and it required wood glue and a drill to make it functional, and has been repaired several times since. This easel is much nicer than that one ever was! This really is a great product.’
In the early spring of 2019, I followed my partner to the UK for his job, and was faced with a choice: Move my studio, or start over. Moving all of my supplies and equipment didn’t make the most sense, financially or logistically. I decided to bring what smaller supplies I could, and start out fresh with the larger items.
First up: a new easel.
When I set out to find a new easel for my space, I had a rough idea of what I was looking for, and a clear idea of what I didn’t want. Back in my old space, I had a student-grade H-Frame easel that I had picked up on a Black Friday special from Blick Art Supplies. It has served me well, but required immediate repair and modification right out of the box, and has since needed the occasional repair. I knew that this time, I wanted something better built than that old easel had been.
After years of wobbly and worn-out radial easels, and experiences with my trusty but not always stable travel A-frame easel, I knew I wanted the stability and reliability of an H-Frame easel. As I also had budget and space limitations, I opted for the Jackson’s H-Frame Studio Easel.
Experience has taught me that when it comes to quality vs. price, Jackson’s products do not disappoint. This easel is no exception. For just about £100, you get a solid and well-built product that requires very little in the way of assembly. The wood is smooth with a soft finish, and all of the hardware was firmly in place. It is light enough that I was able to set it up and move it into my studio on my own. Overall, I can’t imagine getting any more quality for the price.
My plans for this easel are primarily for painting and drawings, with obvious size restrictions due to the small nature of the room. That being said, I was greatly disappointed when I get the easel set up and realized that the bottom support tray, which supports the surface you are working on, does not move independently of the mast.
At just over five feet tall, I am not tall. But the nature of the construction of this easel means that I cannot move the tray up to a comfortable working height without the mast hitting the ceiling. We aren’t talking about low ceilings in a converted attic space here. This studio has a standard ceiling height in a modern flat built about four years ago.
At most, this is an inconvenience. It requires sitting instead of standing for most projects, and that isn’t the end of the world for me. But this is a detail I wish I had been aware of when I was shopping for an easel. If I had known, I probably would have spent more time looking around for other easel options.
My favourite feature of this easel, aside from the exceptional build quality, is the quick ladder-style height adjustment. My old easel, and many of the radial-style easels found in classrooms and public drawing spaces, force you to adjust the bottom support in a precarious dance with the knob. It’s just unfortunate that I can’t adjust the height as much as I would like.
You can view all of our Jackson’s easels and our Jackson’s Medium H-Frame Studio Easel here.
Calling all artists to share their views!
We would like to encourage you to write a review on our website of any products that you have used. Simply navigate to the product you wish to review and click on the ‘Reviews’ button beneath the product image. Be thoughtful and detailed – think about what information will be useful to others.
Each month we will be selecting several well-written examples which will be published on our blog. The writer of the best review will receive a £25 Jackson’s gift voucher plus a photograph of them in their studio (if they wish) and a link to their website will appear alongside their review.