Clean your Studio, Heal your Artself By Ann Davis

This article is a reprint.  To see the original article click here.  Over the years Ann and I have heard from so many artists how her article changed their lives. Read on and heal your “artself”.
ann davisMy studio has always been an active working space, more of a workshop where things are made than a quiet space for inspiration. I’ve never needed a girly-girl space because I was a “Serious Working Metalsmith” and my professors, teachers, smithing friends all had, for want of a better description, tool shops. Everything creates grime!! To me having a clean space to do enameling meant one square foot of clean tabletop.

I used to do casting production runs. If you are not familiar with that, it’s often making one hundred of one thing in a week, after which of course it was a really dirty workshop. But I never questioned it. My work was fulfilling and profitable, and I loved it. And so it went for 40-plus years and several different studios.

Viewing a Crafthaus exhibit, Studio Sanctuaries, created by Pat Morrow caused me to contemplate and reevaluate the space where I spend so much of my day. I felt it had become divided between the computer desk, bookkeeping, and fun-interacting with friends and the overstuffed, chaotic workshop side. This was something that had been bubbling up in my thought process and banging at the door of my conscious awareness for some time. The struggle between the messy “get to work” side and the computer “play” side finally crystallized into a thought. I had been disrespecting myself, my work- er self and my inner self, my whole self. Continue reading…

Now You See It, Now You Don’t… Transforming Your Workspace by Yvonne Kuennen

    

When you work with metal clay, you tend to fall in love with this medium because it takes up so little space. It is extremely portable and a very small toolbox will hold most of your tools. Many of the basic tools are common things you might find in your kitchen or around the house. Miniature rolling pin, cookies cutters, picks, emery boards, brushes, etc. are some examples of basic tools. In no time at all, the tools multiply, and, before you know it, take over a portion of your house. The other people who share that living space are forced to give it up. It really is unfair – to everyone concerned. (Pictured is Yvonne’s Kitchen/Studio.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is a challenge to organize so many tiny tools. You can’t have too many tools or too many beads (everyone knows that). The question is, how do you know what to let go of? You can’t know what to let go of until you assess what you have. In my study of feng shui, I ran across a book entitled, “Clearing the Clutter,” and then I attended a workshop on the same topic. It turns out the basic premise or use for feng shui is in the clearing of spaces. The best tip I learned for weeding “stuff” out of your life was one about creating three boxes or bins with the labels: donate/re-purpose, pitch and keep. The trick for me was getting the boxes to the thrift store or the trash before I got a chance to pull things back out. Keep telling yourself, “less is more.” It is so true. Continue reading…

A Conversation with My Father About Being an Artist. (My Out of Shape Studio Part 7.)

 

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Last week marked the end of the “60 Day Studio Challenge.” Two things got in the way of my publishing a final article and showing off my finished studio. Number one: I’m not finished yet! I need more time. Sixty days sounded like plenty of time to whip even the most dismal studio into shape. Wrong! Painting the floor and some of my studio furniture took longer than I expected. I’ll explain the floor (admittedly just fishing for sympathy here!). Imagine a 12-foot square room divided into three 4-foot by 12-foot sections. I had to move everything off of one four-foot square section to paint. When that section dried, I had to move everything off the next four feet so I could paint the second section. Ditto for the last section. That’s a lot of moving (or in my case, dragging)! And that was just the painting portion of the project. So I need more time. In choosing 60 days for the challenge I should have realized that I need 60 days in total, not 60 consecutive days! So now that I’ve cleared that up, counting the 20 non-consecutive days I’ve spent so far on getting my studio back in shape (over the course of the past two months), I have about 40 “studio days” left. I will finish. I have a friend coming to work in my studio and former students looking for classes. So I am very motivated…just temporarily stalled.

The other thing that prevented me from writing an article about my “out of shape studio” last week was world events. By now you’ve all seen the gut-wrenching images of the young boy whose body was found face down on a beach in turkey. He, his young brother and their mother were three of the 12 Syrian refugees who drowned that day while trying to escape to one of the Greek islands. And those 12 souls were symbolic of the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other migrants and refugees who risk their lives daily trying to reach the relative safety of Europe. My heart aches for them and for their families. In light of these tragic events, working on my studio and writing about having too much “stuff” somehow seemed disrespectful. In fact, anything to do with art this week just felt frivolous to me. Continue reading…

She Ain’t Pretty-She Just Looks That Way. (My Out of Shape Studio Part 6)

Shelley-FrankensteinI can’t remember when in school I was assigned to read “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly. But I do remember that I couldn’t put the book down. In Shelly’s book, a scientist named Victor Frankenstein creates a living grotesque creature in a rather “unorthodox” way. I have been working like Frankenstein on making a jeweler’s bench by taking apart old desks and creating something new. After reflecting on my route to making a bench, I’m starting to feel less like a crafty artist and more like a mad scientist. I seem to be obsessed with finding or creating the perfect bench for my studio. Continue reading…

A Creative Spin by Joy Funnell

toolsWhen I’m working I have a whole crop of tools and little boxes that I like to have in front of me on my work-surface so they are readily to hand. For the last few years I have used a rotating desk tidy which is great (Thank you Tracey Spurgin for that idea!), but now it has got to the point where I struggle to fit in all the tools, and I have a few others I would like to add! When I go to pull something out maybe another tool falls out at the same time. Something had to be done about it!! I laid them all out on the table and they looked quite a lot!! Continue reading…

The “Forever Studio” (My Out of Shape Studio part 5)

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As I was flipping through a home design magazine I came across a follow-up article about a builder who a few years ago built his “dream home” and is now building his “forever home.” Is this the new buzz word in home design? Maybe people need more than a dream home. As I’m plowing my way through my stuff in my studio this idea keeps popping up in my head. I have a vision of what I’d love my studio to look like. But since I’m working with what I already own and plan on being in this studio for a very long time, I think I’m skipping past the “dream studio” and going right to the “forever studio”. I can say that this “60 Day Studio Challenge” is starting to feel like forever! Continue reading…

Keep Your Eyes on the Horizon (My Out of Shape Studio Part 4)

hginthesea.wordpress“It’s for five days” my husband announced as he showed me the tickets to Mexico. He’d checked out a travel agency on his way home from work. (Remember travel agencies? Yeah, me neither…this story is from 1997.) With tickets in hand, we dug out our suitcases and made plans to scuba dive for five days. My husband and I had both taken scuba diving courses while in the military, however, the most exotic dive we’d been on was in the murky waters of Lake Ontario to find a sunken ship. Dream sightings of coral reefs and colourful fish danced in our visions. The travel agent had told my husband where there was a great scuba club. After a plane ride that seemed to last 12 days, we made it to our destination. We found the scuba club, and enjoyed three glorious days scuba diving. On the fourth day, the sea was a bit rough. I had spent time in Newfoundland as a child, and was pleased to discover that the salt water still ran through my veins. My husband…not so much. Oh was he sea sick. The instructor told him to “keep your eyes on the horizon”. So while I held on to my seat and enjoyed the roller coaster ride, my husband desperately searched for the horizon. It helped. He was able to “find his legs” later in the day and enjoy a nice dive with a sting ray and shark sighting, which were highlights of the trip for him.  If he had not been told to keep his eyes on the horizon, he would have missed the next few dives, which were the most spectacular and the most memorable. Continue reading…

I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours. (My Out of Shape Studio Part 2)

IMG_1672I am relieved to find out that I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed by the state of my studio. (Although, I am pretty sure I win the prize for the messiest studio!) I’ve heard from many other artists who are also looking at their studio space with a heavy heart. These spaces are sucking our creativity. I am certain that my lost mojo is in here somewhere. I’m on a mission to organize and reclaim my studio space.  I feel that my work is stale and that if my studio had a good airing out, maybe my jewellery would be better. But what to do with all this stuff?  It’s all good stuff.  I hope readers have some organizing tips for me!

Continue reading…

My Out of Shape Studio. (Part 1)


I am on a mission to reclaim my lost creative mojo.193092-Metal Clay Art_selected-pages-2_Page_1

Poof
, right before my eyes a year (or more) has passed without me being in my studio working on jewellery. It’s been a year of ups and downs…many more downs than ups and I guess working in my studio didn’t seem important, or I wasn’t motivated. Whatever the reason, here I am standing in the door of my dusty and very messy studio. Amazing how this space became a “dump zone” so quickly. I love the light in here and the smell of my art supplies. But this is as far as I ever seem to get with reclaiming my studio. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff, stale ideas and stuff…. I usually just sit here and contemplate renting a huge container and taking every last item out of the studio and only putting back what I really need. But as I look around, I’m not sure what I need. It’s been too long. Continue reading…