Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened...

Well my friend, it seems that a funny thing happened while I was spending time being angry and frustrated about my creative studio - I shared my frustration about my messy studio with over a 100 other artists, and I realized a few things in the process:

  • I was not the only artist who feels their studio is an unholy mess and unfit for public consumption
  • Yet, many visiting artists thought my studio space was wonderful, full of color and fun to look at, just as I felt about looking at the creative studios of these same artists!
  • Realizing that my studio is really not the unholy mess I thought it was propelled me to begin a cleaning and clearing process which helped me to clear off my studio table enough to be able to work on when my creative workshop events came up and I needed to prep my teaching supplies...
A studio table with space to work on and prep supplies for my creative workshop...

 Book kits of paper, thread and needles for binding...

This studio clean-up was actually spurred by the possibility that I would have a sewing student (and friend!) coming to work on creating a Halloween costume. The sewing lessons did not take place after all, but it DID galvanize me to do some cleaning to accommodate my potential student and it provided the benefit of a clean and clear table to work on when it came time to prepare the supplies and teaching materials I need for my Bookmaking 101 workshops, which I'm happy to report actually took place, despite low enrollment...

Completed books made by students in the weeknight workshop!

And then there were other creative opportunities that came my way, so the month of October flew by before I knew what was happening...

Things are a bit quiet now so I thought I'd use the time to check in and let you know what's been happening in my part of the world, such as a renewed interest in some jewelry projects that have been waiting for completion since I blogged about them in 2012!

A few of my old jewelry projects I uncovered while making something special for one of my mail art friends

This long stretch of time in completing many of my creative projects is why I am coming to the conclusion that it's time to start eliminating the creative channels that no longer serve me and to keep the creative projects that make my heart sing in my life AND in my studio space. I know that if I begin to clear out that which no longer interests or serves me, it will make space for better opportunities, not to mention some space for storing the creative supplies I plan to keep!!

I will be sure to come back soon to share a few details about the workshops that took place and a fun project for a performance art friend I worked on - it was the kind of creative challenge I really enjoy doing!

By the way - did you know that November is Art Every Day Month?? You can learn more about it by visiting the blog of Leah Piken Kolidas who has been hosting this art-full event for 10 years now! This just might be the year I join the fun =)

Thank you for taking time to read my belated letter to you and I hope you have made time for a creative project or two in your day!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Aftermath of Sharing my "Studio Table"...

Well, my friend, I shared the reality of what my 'studio table' and creative space REALLY looks like right now and the world did not come to an end!


In fact, my eyes were opened as I saw 123 participants (!) in Seth Apter's call for artists to share their own studio tables and the colorful reality of what a WORKING STUDIO SPACE really looks like.

It seems I am not the only one who enjoys busting a few myths, this one being the myth of the 'pristine fantasy studio space', of which I have shared my own fantasy about before:

One of 3 'fantasy' studios I shared in this blog post...at least it DOES appear as if SOMEONE is working on this studio table!

In sharing my own frustration at my messy studio table, I have received some wonderful support and encouragement from the other participants, whose blogs I visited and got inspired by.

And despite visiting many artful studios looking less than 'pristine', as we are being 'conditioned' to think a studio space should be, each space I visited was FULL of VIBRANT ENERGY of creative work being made in wonderful, glorious COLOR!

Here is a short list of some of my favorite studio tables I got inspired by and what I loved about them:

Rita Vindedzis - she shared how her table has to convert to a dining table for guests, but she and her husband usually eat 'Big Bang Theory" style, on the sofa, in front of the TV, which is just how my dear boyfriend and I eat now that we share our new home!

(And my boyfriend and I DO watch this show regularly I might add!)

Jo Murray - his creative space is full of color and works-in-progress with so much visual inspiration and books on creativity that I felt instantly 'at home' looking at his space; and his title "Studio Chaos - Situation Normal" made me laugh! I do love folks with a sense of humor!

Tracey Fletcher King - a lovely studio table filled with color and wonderful light to work in was quite inspiring, not to mention her hilarious take on a day gone wrong, which had me laughing as I could recognize myself in how she looked at her 'day gone wrong', though I'm not always able to see such days with so much humor in the moment...

Terrie Purkey - seeing her table with stacks and stacks of paper made me feel SO MUCH BETTER about my own tabletops and learning that she works in more than one art process (collage, paint, sewing) helped me to see that having more than one art interest can be a bit of a bugaboo when it comes to space for it all...

Kim of Paperie Petals - seeing that this artist works in a space slightly smaller than my own was helpful for me - if she can manage to have supplies organized and be able to work in the amount of space she has, then I can figure out how to manage it too!

Deb's Studio Blog - the space of this book artist reminded me of how my old home used to look, with the hardwood floors and every nook and cranny holding/storing paper, art books, supplies and tools, all with a lovely 'rustic' vintage vibe everywhere you look, but I confess, it made me nostalgic for my old creative home-space...and finally...


Kelly Kilmer - she shared one image of her creative space and it was a great example of an artist with WAY more rubber stamps and art books than me, which made me feel better that my supply collections are not that big! But if she can have it all organized in the corner of her living room, I should be able to organize my supplies in the whole room I have available to me, which got me thinking...

As I visited all the wonderful artists sharing the reality of their creative working spaces, there were some things that stood out for me:
  • Making art gets messy VERY QUICKLY, and it's high time I really EMBRACE THIS instead of feeling ashamed about it because it is strikingly clear that this is just part of what it means to be an Artist and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS!
  • Having one's supplies organized is VERY HELPFUL to keeping a space relatively clean-looking
  • Having more than one creative avenue you work in can lead to overload of supplies, which can lead to disorganization which, I'm discovering, is my biggest problem

And I'm also discovering that it might time for me to look at the artful venues I truly enjoy working in the most, so I can begin to move out the supplies for the crafts I no longer wish to work in...

I'll be sure to keep you abreast of how this project to whittle down to my favorite creative pastimes works out in the weeks and months to come - it will be a process that will take some time to be sure!

Thank you for reading, my friend, and I hope you have made some time for a creative project today =)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Seth Apter's "Studio Table" Challenge

My dear friend,
Today is the day...


Today is the day I share the reality of my creative studio space, not that I haven't already shared peeks of my creative space before, but Seth Apter is hosting a great challenge for artists to share the reality of the 'studio table' and the reality of creative chaos so we can begin to banish the 'shame' of not having the 'dream space' that one sees posted in Pinterest boards, Houzz ideabooks and craft magazines!

I am so glad that Seth put out this call to share what our creative studio tables look like when one is in the midst of creative chaos and it is long overdue. The idea that one can create without making a chaotic mess, is highly unrealistic, yet this myth is quite pervasive and I am happy to help Seth bust this myth!

I am hoping that this might also help me come to terms with the reality of HOW I work and maybe it will be the start of figuring out how to design around that to make a truly FUNCTIONAL studio space for me, because I am tired of being so frustrated and unhappy at my lack of a 'dream space' that I see happening everywhere else, just NOT in my home...

Let's Start at the VERY Beginning...
To begin with, my old creative space began in the spare room of my old apartment, which I quickly outgrew when I began to take on more than just sewing as a creative pastime...



Images from my old sewing room...which moved into the dining room when collage and book arts became my main mode of creative expression:

The reality of 'creative chaos'!


Fast Forward to TODAY...
I moved at the end of last year and tried to forge a new creative space, but it was filled with all the boxes of creative supplies and decor, which was hard to get through...


The new studio space and studio closet, packed to the brim...

...so I began to start using the dining table to work from:

This is just half of the dining table, not the whole story...

...so let me share an overview of the dining table I work on most of the time - clutter is the name of the game, it seems!

But this could not be a permanent solution to my problem, so I began to slowly unpack more of my supplies, such as my creative books, which I found a (temporary!) home for...but at least they were organized!


While this unpacking began to help, I soon came to the realization that I had used my entire home as a creative space, and trying to cram all that into one small room was going to be a Sisyphean task...despite this, I still attempted to make a work table happen...

The studio space before setting up the "Studio Table"...

The day I set up my "Studio Table" - it's a CLEAR table, devoid of clutter, but that didn't last long...

So let me reveal what my "Studio Table" looks like today...



"STUDIO TABLE"
Baring all to share what a creative studio table really looks like when in the midst of creating - in this case, trying to create a 'dream studio'...

My "studio table" today - loaded with supplies to be stored and organized somehow...

An overview of the "studio table"...

...One end of the table with embroidery threads waiting for a new home, fabrics to be put away or sewn up, boxes to be used for storage of who-knows-what, and a plaster cast of my face for making paper-mache masks - one day!

The other end of the "studio table" of ribbon spools, wire baskets of lace and ribbons, piles of paper for book making, yet very little storage to put it all =(


That is my "studio table" as it stands today...

You can easily see why I have constant frustration and unhappiness at NOT having a pretty and organized studio space, let alone an organized studio table!

And I can see that having more than one creative interest could be at issue, since there are supplies for each interest, which can quickly get out of hand. However, I also know the supplies I have for rubber stamping and knitting are pretty small when I see how many stamps and how much yarn my fellow practitioners collect.

Truly, their collections put me to shame!

But having more than one creative interest IS a challenge, no doubt about that...

And I don't yet know how I can approach this challenge just yet. All I can do for now is to take stock of my supplies and discard that which no longer serves me, which is something I've been doing for quite awhile now.

It just hasn't felt as if I've made much progress...

At least I have shared the reality of my "studio table" and I hope that by sharing the reality of my studio table it will help to dispel the myth of the "perfect creative space" so we can begin to embrace the studio tables we now have, instead of having shame around them...

...and maybe THEN I will be able to let go of my personal shame at not having that "perfect creative space" which might make space for the great studio space I'm MEANT to have in my life...

Here's hoping!

***   ***   ***

Many thanks to Seth Apter for his bravery in 'baring all' with this challenge, as well as the participants of this challenge! It's not too late to join in - just visit this post for details, and visit today's post to see the list of participants and peek at real world artist studio tables!