Monday, October 15, 2012

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

When I made the move to Richmond, I decided that I wanted my studio separate from my home. There were too many distractions in my apartment studiolo in Venice (couch, dishes, cats) and I knew I hadn't been as productive as I would have liked to be. I rented a great 161 sq. ft. place in an artist's co-op about 10 minutes away, and I have to say I'm really enjoying the drive and the hustle and bustle of the facility. After unpacking all the boxes (who knew I could squeeze so much into my old, tiny, studio?) I started going through photos on Flickr and Pinterest of other people's work spaces so I could get some new ideas on how to set up mine.

Views of my new, unfinished, studio at ArtWorks Virginia. 

The results I got were so interesting. Some studios looked like they were ready for a magazine shoot, and others looked like the artist was working furiously just moments before the shutter clicked. I've read posts online of folks who think they have to clean up before (or after) each creative session. I know jewelers whose benches look like a hurricane just hit (but they know where to lay their hands for each tool or supply needed).

I think I'm somewhere in between. My last apartment was a single. One room. Living, sleeping, dining, entertaining, and working - all in one space. So of course I wanted to keep the studio area neat and clean. I know I do more creative work when I start with a neat bench top, but the floor and surfaces were always a mess. My new studio has a big glass window that let's passers-by take a peak at my process. I don't want to appear slovenly, so my instinct is to keep it in tip, top, shape. But my natural working habits don't mesh with the concept of a tidy space.

Where do you fall on the photo-ready or well-used look of your work space? Do you care what others think when they view it, or is your motivation based on your working methodology? 


Lorena Angulo said...

Great Post !!

I have to confess that I sometimes work in the middle of a war zone !!
Lately my studio is such a mess I am ashamed to confess this, I get so busy doing some other things that cleaning is not a priority but I do like to have a semi clean space all the time.

thesilverpendant said...

I love this topic. I love the look of a work space that says great creations abound. I love partially finished pieces cluttering work surfaces. I also love being organized, because when I want a certain tool or item I want it now--not after ten minutes of fishing around, looking for it. So, I'm in the middle road. My vacuum is in sight but tucked under a bench cuz I use it a lot. My studio is messy sometimes, tidy at other times, dusty in some place, shiny in others. A lot depends on how late it is when I reach a finished point and how I feel about my sacred space at any given time.

Lora Hart said...

I'm in the middle somewhere too. I have to admit to being jealous of metalsmith's with extremely messy benches. It makes me think they're somehow more creative than I am or work harder or something. But I have to have a neat workspace to be really productive. Not to say I *haven't* worked in 4 square inches in the midst of a tornado zone, but I like starting out in a clutter free zone.

Julie Cannariato said...

Wheww! I am so relieved. It is not just me! My daughter and I have several studios in our home. The garage has our lampworking station, downstairs we've converted the 10 X 10 breakfast area to Raku clay, metal clay and metalworking (with a jewelry kiln) and upstairs is an 18X13 room devoted to everything else from beaded jewelry and glass fusing to creative gift wrapping and beyond then, in the sunroom we have another jewelry kiln and a large glass kiln. In the Bishop Arts District we have a small studio for demonstrations with a 4th kiln. With ALL THIS SPACE my work areas still seem to look like a warzone yet I always know where to find the tool or supply I need. I do dust and clean to keep contaminants out of my art. I feel most comfortable having the tools I work with RIGHT NEXT TO ME. It is a Feng Shui thing for me and I have noticed it in my office as well as my studios. While it might look like clutter to someone else it is how I do my best work. I am relieved to hear other artists do not always have that picture perfect studio we see in magazines. Thank you so much for this thought provoking (and comforting) article. Julie Cannariato - ArtZcat Creations

Lora Hart said...

Thanks for adding to the conversation Julie! I've been wondering if there's a difference between what we might think of as 'craft' artist's studios and full time working bench jewelers spaces. I think there's probably many different ways of working, and it's nice to know that whichever suits us best - we're not alone in our choices.