Saturday, March 10, 2012

Studio "Orgainization"

I agreed to have my studio included in this summer's issue of Studios Magazine, thinking that it would be a good excuse to tidy up and give my lack of organizational skills some serious thought.  Writing the article and having my studio photographed achieved both goals.  Taking a hard look at my relationship to organization and tidiness revealed the following insights:
  •  First of all, it didn't take a monumental effort to tidy up, because I have made monumental efforts to create homes for everything in my studio.  Monumental because organizing does not come easily to me. Having a home for everything, even if I don't put things away, is immensely soothing.  Clutter doesn't bother me so much if I know I can put things away when necessary.  My efforts in recent years have really paid off.
  •  I really can come up with organizational systems, like the wall I build on the back edge of my worktable you see above, if I put my mind to it and analyze the problem.  In this case, the problem was: everything gets buried on top of the worktable, and I can see it.  I need everything in front of me where I can find it and put it away.  Solution: put everything in front of me.
  •  I have made some organizational units modular, so I can take advantage of awkward spaces and move them around easily.  My bookshelves consist of cubes built of pine.  I have them stacked at the end of my east worktable, but they also fit under the gable roof in a tight space behind the new wall (see the first post on Working Large).

I elaborate on all of this in the article in Studios Magazine, so I'll keep this short.  My point here is that I discovered I'm not as bad as I'd thought I was.  I'm sure an organized person could come up with more efficient solutions to my studio space, but I have come up with workable solutions.

Here are a few more shots of my "Working Large" space:

 The front gable wall:

 The New Wall, where I hang works-in-progress:

My makeshift rolling paint cart:

My latest work-in-progress:


  1. thank you! it was very interesting to read. I also need everything in front of me))

  2. I have a rather strange addiction to organizing things and am so impressed by your studio--you've done an absolutely fabulous job!! I won't go on about my total envy of your gorgeous amount of space and bounty of day. Thank you so much for sharing and congrats on the upcoming article!

  3. Enquiring minds want to know.... How do you store your collage stashes? We know you advocate separating by color.
    When I do collage, I seem to work in a frenzy and the result is piles of torn up paper... which I loosely organize (not according to color) in portfolios.
    Thank you for sharing. Looks great! and love your recent work in progress!

    1. Oh, I don't store EVERYTHING by color! I just have a stack of folders (folded sheets of 18x24 paper) for the color stashes. I don't organize my collage material very much. In the flat files I have a couple drawers for "scribble" papers (my own hand painted), another for tissue papers, and a couple other categories. In the article you'll see a photo of my flat files.

  4. hey that's cool that you're going to be in Studios. I'll definitely have to pick that issue up!

  5. I love the way you analyze the problem and come up with the solution.

    I will have to use that formula. Congratulations on being in the Studios mag!!!!! Can't wait to see it.

  6. Congratulations on being in Studios Mag! That's exciting. I enjoyed and am inspired by your studio. Glad you can't see mine...not so organized. Love your WIP!

  7. I will look forward to getting the summer issue! Congratulations are in order. One of my carved stamps is in the newest Cloth,Paper Scissors and I am so tickled. I am sure you are also excited, & your studio looks great!
    Look forward to class with you in April.

  8. Your first point resonates soooo much with me! I'm going to have to put on my thinking cap and make sure I have a place for everything, too (even if it doesn't always get put in it's place). The desk wall is a great idea... hmmm... now how can I make that work for me...

    Airy Nothing

  9. Don't you have anything that doesn't naturally fit in some home? I have so many homes for so many things, and there are always those things that just don't fit anywhere. They are probably the things I need to get rid of and just have a hard time dropping into the trash. I could do better with organizing my space if I could organize my interests. I have far too many hangover thingies - the detritus following a brief and casual flirtation with something temporarily intoxicating. Your studio definitely looks like a space I could work in. I have to have things close by, in sight, easy to reach. You've done it! Can't wait to pick up the issue.

    I also love the new work in progress. It's terrific!

    1. Thanks, Bonnie. It took me a while to MAKE homes for everything, because for me nothing "naturally" fits anywhere. It's a constant uphill battle. YES to organizing your interests! Fun to try all kinds of materials, techniques, products, but for me it can also be a distraction from making art.


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