What does a creative’s studio look like?

I have heard the cry for help before: “I can’t get inspired to do my work until I have a space set up just right!” I always shrugged it off as an excuse, a reason to procrastinate. “Just setup a little spot somewhere in the house and just take what you need for your project there!”, I said. I did this regularly. I put a nice vase of flowers on the table, grabbed a warm cup of coffee or tea, picked up the art supplies and got to work!

After a few years of working like this, spreading projects all over the house, I finally hit the breaking point. It started to feel like I was spending more time moving art supplies around the house than getting work done. As a freelancing artist, my work involves not only drawing and painting, but scanning, doing computer work, answering emails, doing accounting, advertising, etc. Oh yeah, and sometime when there is a moment free, I should get around to developing all of those great ideas I have written in my notebook!

If that wasn’t bad enough, I like to have people over for dinner, and I like to have guests visit us for a few days at a time. Uh, oh. That means cleaning the house. That’s right, now all of my half finished projects need to find a place to disappear so I can pretend my house is not a giant studio.  Once again, the art supplies make their journey to different drawers, cabinets, etc. Next time I start working on a project, I will once again spend a significant amount of time just finding things…..

So, what is one to do? I like working at home. I don’t want to move my work to a remote studio. I have tried taking over one room in the house, but then it gets so full, I can’t find a clean surface to work on. I chase the light when I paint, so I tend to move around to places that are comfortable to work in. I also like being in the middle of things. This way, my husband and I can drift in and out of conversations throughout the day.

I don’t like to complain, so naturally, I need to find a solution to this dilemma. I spent  a few minutes writing down what  I think I need in a “studio”. I laughed so hard when I saw the list, that I decided to post it. I don’t have the full solution yet, but at least now I know what i am trying to achieve.

Home Studio Organization Project

The Office Station

This is the place where I can get my “business” stuff done. It needs a desk for my laptop and my scanner, and a place for my printers. The paper for the printers should be nearby if they are used often. Fine art print papers can be stored elsewhere as they are only accessed when I release new prints.

The Illustration Station

This is the spot where I can sit, look at something pretty, and let the creative juices flow. It should have a big surface where I can spread out papers, drawings, my watercolors, pencils, markers, pens, brushes, erasers, etc. Ideally, I should be able to hang things on the wall related to the projects I am working on. Natural light is a must.

The Craft Station / Framing Station

This is where messy things get done. Collage, art journaling, stamping, paper arts, things that need glue, messy paints and inks, etc. Nearby should be craft and framing supplies: stamps, inks, papers, glue, scissors, cutting mats, table cover, mat cutters, detail cutting knives, mats, frames, framing supplies, etc. It needs to have a large flat surface to work on, and a floor that can take a little abuse.

The Sewing Station

As a fabric designer, naturally I want to sew things with my fabrics :).  So, there needs to be a place to sew. Here, I need a sturdy table, and a place I can store my fabrics, needles, threads, and two sewing machines.

Painting Station

I think of this station separately from my illustration station because my fine art painting feels like a different activity than my illustration work. Each piece takes much longer to complete.  Some paintings may be in work for several weeks. I like to experiment with different media, so this may get messy…. Acrylics, watercolors, oils, pastels, inks may all make it into this space. Here, I need to have access to my painting supplies, canvases and mixed media supplies.

So far, I have identified five distinct activities that appear to need their own spaces. No, I am not going to buy the house next door to get organized (though that would be cool!). I will achieve this in my own home.

I even bought the magazine “Where Women Create” to get some inspiration!

Stay tuned for the next episode of how I get this accomplished! I will post pictures as I get things figured out :).

If you have ideas, please share!



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