Thinking about my studio space and how I use it. What stays and what goes? A thoughtful look at curating my studio space.
Curating my studio
Recently I knocked a dish off of my wet table in the studio and had to get the vacuum cleaner to get all the broken glass. While I was down on the floor in an unusual spot, I moved a cart and swept the dust buffalos out. I vacuumed the window sill where there was bits and paper sawdust from when I was sanding paintings like two years ago. When the space is as small as mine is and there’s as much stuff packed in as mine has, it’s hard to clean because there’s STUFF literally everywhere. And anyway who wants to clean, when they could be making? Not this artist! But since Christmas I’ve been spot cleaning my studio and pairing down as I go. And I’ve been trying to think about this space as a curator might.
What questions am I asking to curate?
What do I want to be available for me to use and work on? And what do I want to look at when I’m in my space? Also if I’m not using a thing can I pass on to someone else who might need or want it thereby creating more space/energy/time for me to make my work? What things do I want to move to a place of prominence so I can see them or access them more easily?
I’ve always been fairly ruthless when it comes to letting go of things out of my work space because I don’t have much room. This process feels different from that process though. I think I’ve really settled into it. I’ve settled into the space. And settled into the work. Settled into myself as an artist. It’s been 10 years now, I’m not a newbie anymore. I’m more of a middley these days so I don’t have to feel as frantic as I’ve felt about this process in the past. No one is going to suddenly revoke my studio license and tell me to pack my college dorm milk crates and go.
To go along with my space curatorial process I’ve been really contemplative lately. Thinking about what I want to do. What I want the next ten years to look like. I want to make art. And I want to connect with people. I want to create spaces for myself and others to make art and connect. I want to use what I’ve been given well. Also I want for others to find their creative drive and do their thing. And I want to contribute to that process in some way with or for them.
The studio I don’t have
I used to think I needed a giant studio. I was an artist and I deserved some space, dangit. Have you ever looked at that artist’s studio magazine? I won’t lie, I have lust in my heart for the giant stand-up work table that every other artist seems to have. I don’t have one of those. If I did have one, I could gather artists to work there or really spread out my projects.
I don’t have a flat file for my paper collection either. I get super tired of my makeshift paper-on-pants hangers system on the back of my studio door. Do you know what else I don’t have? A mortgage or rent on my space. That’s pretty satisfying too. Even if it’s not nearly as cool or as flashy as the hot pink flat file I saw on Facebook Marketplace for $500. I’d have to install it on the ceiling and rig a pully system to use it.
The space I do have
Recently I took a Saturday and sorted the never-sorted paper bins. I took those five bins to the kitchen table and my youngest kiddo and I made gorgeous color stacks. I recycled a bunch of stuff and shrank the five bins to four bins. It took most of the day to do it but wow, does it make the studio feel lighter. Turns out paper is heavy even if you are only thinking about it.
My space is intimate. It’s a refuge. I feel snug when I’m in my little corner surrounded by paper and tools and yarn and paint. It is enough space to do what I need to do most days. And there’s plenty of space to leave things out to dry when I’m done for the day.
I’ve been making a Chibi Van Gogh to go on my inspiration shelf in my studio. I cleaned that shelf off this past week too. I love how my little doll is turning out. His tiny bag and ear bandage. The sunflower on his jacket and his tiny paint palette. It feels somehow imperative that I make him. I’ll probably call him Vinny and let him hang out with Bobblehead Bob Ross and Leslie Knope. My personal patron saints.
My mom used to have a sign that said “If you are lucky enough to live at the beach then you are lucky enough.” The sign that I have posted in my mental studio says “If you are lucky enough to have studio space then you are lucky enough.” That’s my studio and I am lucky enough.
What’s your space like? Do you have a dedicated space? Do you love your space? Show whatcha got on socials and tag me so I can ooh and aah over it. Is your space not what you want it to be? Let’s chat about how you can change it up. Shoot me an email or tag me on socials.
If you don’t want to miss any news from me, sign up for my PencilBooth micro-newsletter! It will include a link to my most recent blog post, a couple of other pics/links, and a pic of Anwyn the studio dog in your inbox once a week! Sign Up here.
I get what you’re about the small space. Mine is too and I’m so grateful to have it. I like the idea of curating that space. And that little Van Gogh!
Comments are closed.