Monday, January 19, 2015

Studio Set Up

Many artists think there is a kind of magic in setting up their studio space. Some think they need a special room, or furniture, or equipment. Some think they need all the fancy tools. Some feel the need to decorate. Others like to 'keep it real' and have a rustic space. I think you can set up a studio in whatever little bit of space you have, or even in a collection of small spaces distributed throughout your house.

Those great Ikea drawer units have also been discontinued.
My current studio is in an artist's co-op, which is housed in an old factory building. I'm very lucky to have found out about it when I moved to Richmond, Virginia a few years ago. My former studio was an Ikea desk in my tiny 350 sq. ft. apartment in Los Angeles. I was able to make that work because of a few modifications that I made.

First, I discovered an elevated bench pin, which makes sawing metal so much easier on your shoulder and elbow joints. Next, on a trip to Ikea, I saw a bin of under-mount computer keyboard shelves and thought one of them would be the perfect thing to use as a catch drawer! I put a towel on it so bits and files don't roll around. If I'm working with small parts or beads, they don't fall to the floor, never to be seen again. I think Ikea may have stopped selling the Summera shelf (which is a bummer because it was really inexpensive), but you could make one with supplies from the hardware store. An alternative would be to attach one side of a velcro strip to the bottom of your shop apron, and the other side to the underside of your desk. The apron creates a European style basin that collects sweeps (if you saw/pierce), odds & ends, and little fiddly metal clay elements that you may be sanding with buttery fingers. Next on my modification list is a magnetic knife rack designed for use in the kitchen, but when mounted to my studio wall will keep my small files and burrs neatly in place.
Click here if you'd like to see details of
this goldsmith's elaborate studio set up.

In addition to the metal smithing desk, I have another table for my metal clay work, one to hold my soldering set up (which I keep on a cookie tray and set on this desk when I'm ready to work - you can see a corner of it on the right of the photo above), and a high table for photography and to hold box tops of works in progress (so they don't get lost or broken). Harbor Freight has a couple of wonderful work benches if you want something really sturdy. Here's another one with an attached pegboard.

Metal clay artists don't do the same tasks as metalsmiths, so we don't really need a traditional bench (which is higher than a desk, so the artist sits lower to avoid muscle strain from leaning over to see their work), but I have to admit to craving one anyway. Until then, my collection of desks and adaptive tools & supplies will do just fine.

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

1 comment:

Linda Kaye-Moses said...

You can also go to the left side of the home page, scroll down to Galleries and click on Bench Exchange. There are hundreds of images of benches, archived by hundreds of jewelers. Great ideas abound.