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



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!

db310b3e-f14a-4636-a906-48fc3a1862e4_500IMG_1945 (2)When I picked 60 days as the amount of time for the challenge I felt comfortable with the time frame—surely within 60 days I could get my studio in shape! I could easily say that I totally underestimated what I could get done and when. The heat and rain have slowed me down. I couldn’t move around in my studio, so I had to put things outside. That seems to be the call for rain, as each time I put more things outside, it rains….then I have to haul stuff back inside. “One step forward, two steps back”. Yesterday I was working on the floor…I’d taken nearly everything out of my studio. As I worked I listened to the radio. “TORNADO WARNING!” came on the air. I kid you not! See that tiny red area on the weather map? Tornado warning. I’m trying not to take it personally that every time I’m working on my studio the weather turns bad. Today was “one step forward…ten steps back”.

dance floorI’m working on my studio in bite sized chunks of time. I’ve had a few solid days out there, but I found that I tired quickly or lost focus. So now when I see a ½ hour window of time…I sneak out. (My studio is in our garage.)I think I’m making more progress in short bursts of time! I was bragging to a friend about my “theory of time” when she sent me an article about the popular time blocking system called the “Pomodoro Technique”. logo1Okay so I didn’t invent this method of time management when dealing with a ginormous project…at least it is working for me. Basically you work in 25 minute time blocks and then take a 5 minute break. After completing four 25 minute “Pomondos” you take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. During the 25 minutes you work on one task, and don’t let distractions that can wait interrupt. The name for this idea came from Francesco Cirillo who first came up with the Pomodoro System. (He used a tomato shaped egg timer when developing his theory and so that is why he named it Pomodoro-An Italian word for tomato!) You can learn more here. I’m making progress on my studio…I have enough floor space to hold a dance!

IMG_5290One night a few weeks ago I sat down in my studio and measured every piece of furniture and equipment. I worked on a floor plan that would not only make me a better jewellery studio, but that would leave room for me to move my sewing machine out of storage and into use. Not an easy task ahead I know as I will have to purge many, many things and pieces of furniture. I have already put two melamine pantry cupboards by the road…and poof they disappeared! I love road side shopping…I found the large oak desk that I have in my studio along the road. But this is the first time I’ve made “contributions”. It’s a weird feeling to find what you put out there is gone. Maybe it’s just me as I have a hard time with de-stashing to begin with.

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Sara Porle’s new layout with workstations.
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Sara Porle’s current layout.
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Sara Porle’s studio.

My new floor plan will see about 1/2 of the furniture and most of the “stuff” leave my studio. I’m making a plan that has work stations. This is a much more efficient way to layout a studio. Many projects can be on the go at the same time, without being on top of one another. I am working with paper and a pencil on my plan, meanwhile, Sara Porle, a Swedish artist is making her studio plans on a 3-d program. I’ve used 3d studio max for this (very handy to try things out without having to move everything around). It’s a pretty expensive program but you can use a free 30 day tryout. There’s also some free software that would do the job, such as SketchUp, Blender or FreeCad – just make sure to find where you create (or edit) the “boxes” with typed in measurements an you’re good to go.”

Michelle Loon’s sanding station. “Frankie the Miele hooked up to a polishing box.”

Another artist working on the “60 Day Studio Challenge” is American artist, Michelle Loon. She is trying to set up a healthy studio inside an apartment. “Any sanding or sawing of dry pieces gets in the air. Even while wearing a mask and running an air filter, the dust lingers before settling. “Wet sanding” metal clay is a useful technique but there is no substitute for going through grits of abrasive for a smooth crisp finish. At work each jeweler’s bench has a fume/dust collector that the jeweler can turn on as needed. [At home] I have a Miele vacuum attached to a polishing, but the nice thing is I can move it around as needed say to clean out the kiln or hook it up to my Jooltool. Friends initially recommended the Miele vacuum cleaners to me as it is great for allergies. The Miele vacuum cleaner is a closed system with collection bags, all air from the motor passes through a HEPA filter, and it is surprisingly quiet as it is rated for home use. For the purpose a dust collector though, the important part is the canister motor. The canister portion of the vacuum can be bought used or refurbished from Ebay or a local vacuum repair shop. It might even come with a bit more character, like Frankie with his red and green panels! So ugly, so cute.”

Poor little desk.
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Too much of a good thing?

And now an update on my “Franken Bench”: I thought I was buying a virgin old oak desk…turns out I bought a desk that has had several other lives. The top is in 3 pieces…and the desk has been modified two maybe three times. In order to cut the top and raise it to be a jewellery bench, I’d have to buy a new wood top, and that defeats the purpose of re-purposing the old desk as it would be expensive to buy a new thick piece of wood. I still figured I’d found a jewel of a desk, so I set out to paint it “Tiffany Blue”. Hmmm…there is a reason Tiffany’s only uses that blue on little boxes. A lot of it makes things look like they are suited for a little boy’s room. Adding insult to injury, I painted a hutch in the same colour. Maybe I can spice it up a bit? I could easily be distracted and work on my desk or a painting…and not finish my studio. I’d better get back in there, my 30 minute Pomodoro break is up.

Before I get back to cleaning up my studio, I want to suggest you keep an eye open in your own studio for strange and weird items. Our next contest will be “Strangest Item Found”! weirdI have a few things in my studio that make me shake my head… How did these c.d.’s (totally not my taste) and typewriter ribbon end up in my studio?  I wonder what I will find hidden away in there today!

Contest information can be found on our site here under “Contests and Calls for Artists” and photos are entered on our Facebook page.


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