Having a studio space has been a dream come true for me. And yet, it can never meet my every expectation. It has been a learning experience. As the OZ saga went — So, Dorothy, what have you learned? Here are a few things.
1. No matter how large your space is, it is never big enough.
Having a large room, I planned on having several activities going on at once. And sometimes that can actually happen. I do have my serger and sewing machine out on their own table so I can sew at a moment’s notice. I really need them to be out and ready. But the other table surfaces have to serve multiple purposes. And that means I have to cycle through a project and move it all off if I am for instance going to follow up stained glass making with jewelry making. If I had some other places to stow all of the new glass and tools, then that could happen more efficiently. But I don’t. So now I have a dilemma. Either I do jewelry making with some stained glass sharing the table, or I forget about the jewelry. If you know me by now, you can guess that I have been making jewelry on the stained glass space…. Crowded city! But a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do!
2. Chaos ensues.
No matter how good your intentions may be, even if you start with a big table to work on you end up having about one foot of usable work space. I actually first read this on a fellow crafter’s blog, and I get it! In the heat of the moment, with fiber flying and ideas morphing, the scissors and cup of tea disappear under some gorgeous tidal wave of inspiration, and the there you have it: C H A O S. And so what do I do? I end up working on the kitchen counter, then the living room floor, etc.
3. It is never fun to clean up.
Even a beautiful studio is no fun to clean. If I had a child available I would pay them to sort this table [of what surely looks like junk] into meaningful piles that can be put away. I muse about the possibility of tipping the table’s contents into the garbage bin. But I just can’t bear to throw away a valuable… raw material!
Yet one can dream…Anything but clean up.
Eventually I get off Pinterest and set the timer for 20 minutes and dash through the motions of organizing. The timer goes off and I get a piece of chocolate. Hey I forgot how fun clean up can be… Maybe I’ll set it for 10 this time… After all it is my game. I make the chocolate-y rules.
4. Space must be updated periodically to reflect my interests.
Here’s what happens: I am not spending time in my studio. So I must ask myself why? Answer: because I have lost interest in all the projects I am working on that are spewed out on every surface. And I really want to start something new and put those other things on the back burner. Soooooooo, back to the timer and the chocolates. Not a bad system really. I’m not complaining. No, you’re right, it’s not great for the waistline. But if the next time you see me I have gained a lot of weight, you will have know that at least I have been keeping my workspace tidy.
5. It is always easier to read about making something online than actually making it.
Here I have this great studio space, but where am I spending my time? Have you noticed how readily we gravitate to the computer/ipad/internet toy? There we sit in a coma for hours. Shopping for materials also is lots of fun.
Get off your lazy butt and make something! Overstimulation is the hand crafter’s disease!
6. Don’t forget to change the filter in the air system.
It’s so quiet and unassuming that you can forget that it needs attention from time to time. And my filter was actually black before I realized that I should have been vacuuming it and changing it much more frequently. Yikes! I was breathing that stuff.
Speaking of, think about what you are breathing as you sand something, burn something, melt something, tear something. Lots of airborne particles are heading for your nose, your skin. Get a mask, a carbon filter fan, disposable gloves, etc. These are not expensive items. I have noticed that they have come out with little mini filters that you stick in your nose, kind of like earplugs. Of course you can breathe through them! But they might be easier to use and less cumbersome and noticeable.
7. Chances are yours studio space will never be perfect, but have the basics. Here are my favorites:
Have some storage space. I made an attic area for storage, which has been very important. However it does mean that I have to get on my hands and knees and crawl around up there. I am wondering when that will become impractical for me. But you need some sort of convenient storage.
Lots of plugs are a must. I put 2 floor plugs toward the middle of each end of the room. They are indispensable and I wish that I had put in a 3rd one in the very center of the room. Can’t have enough plugs. I love pulling the table to the center of the room. And then I can plug in my fill in the blank…. whatever tool you are working with. Love it!
Track lighting is wonderful. And I can add more light heads as I wish, and change their direction. The new LED lights are amazing.
Have things on casters so that you can move everything around at a moments notice by yourself. So functional, plus I adore how they look.
Have a utility sink. Super duper wonderful to have. You don’t have to track anything into the kitchen to clean brushes, inky hands, chocolate face and hands, blah-blah-blah.
Just do it. The moment is now. So I just have to dive in and let the mess be. When inspiration strikes, just grab it and go. Don’t wait for the perfect moment or for perfection. Or even for a studio space to do it in for that matter. We must be creating. If you don’t have a studio, have a craft closet or a craft armoire or a craft drawer for heaven’s sake. Get those supplies and make something super fantastically cool that you love!
Have a creative day ~ Karen
“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul — and you answer.” ~Terri Guillemets