Updated: Nov 2
Today I thought I'd take you on a guided tour of my studio. I love looking at artist's spaces - they are always so unique and interesting. Artist studios are working spaces, so they are usually unpretentious and utilitarian. Some art studios are simply that, but others are like an extension of the artist's work - they have the look and feel of the work imbedded in the walls and the fixtures. These are my very favourite studios, where the whole space has taken on the character of the creative's work. My space is not even a year old yet so it still needs time to stew in my creative gravy before it transmutes into something resembling my inner world, but with every passing month I feel the magic becoming stronger in this space. I just need to get over being so precious about the new floors and figure out how to hang things from the rock hard concrete walls!
My studio is in the middle of our house. I have thought long and hard about finding a studio outside the home, but I really love my house and hanging out with Frankie (my cat) and being able to work whenever I like. It does mean that a big space gets taken up by creative ventures but it's kinda nice to have that energy about. Besides, most of my favourite creatives worked from their own home. Frida Kahlo, Mirka Mora, Vali Myers, Beatrix Potter, Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois and many, many more artists lived and worked in the same space. For some of these artists the whole house became fair game as a work space, or better yet, it functioned as another canvas for their artistic expressions.
I would guess that my space is the size of an average living room. However, unlike the average living room it has a large amount of 'stuff' crammed into it. I like space around me so I'm still trying to find a configuration that gives me ample room and that also provides a lot of desk space for working on. Right now I have a table for current work sitting in the centre of the room but it bothers me endlessly and I'm thinking of just working on the floor instead, or maybe creating an L-shaped configuration with my other desk. That's the thing about studio's - you gotta be able to move things about to suit whatever you're working on and make the room you have work! There is no built in storage in the space which poses more of a problem for me than I initially thought it would. We have a small cellar under our stairs where I store some of my lesser used materials and old works. The thing about not having a lot of storage is that I have to be really mindful of accumulating things and that's not a bad thing at all in my opinion. I'm conscious of trying to keep things pared back at all times, so I only buy materials that I really need to finish a project and I try not to hold onto things that I don't know I'll ever use. With this in mind, my desk is still often covered with materials and leaves me little room to actually work, haha! I am constantly battling to shift things from the desk to the trolley that I got to hold all the bits and bobs.
Currently on my desk you'll find ceramic trinkets that are waiting to be made into jewellery, a precarious pile of books, journals, scrap paper, magazine images, inspirational ephemera and general chaos, a bunch of materials in various ceramic vessels and glass jars, palettes, brushes, and a whole assortments of random things. It's always like this and I'm constantly shuffling things about to find room or try and create some order. But I like it that way - it keeps things interesting!
I don't do a lot of canvas painting these days but I still like to have canvases and paint about for when the mood strikes me. Inspiration is a fickle friend and visits at the most random times - it also has a persistent whine that will make you yield to its demands even if that means you need to get a train two hours across town to find the right materials! So, there is always paint and always canvases about for when the paint bug bites. My mum bought me the easel several christmases ago and I love it very much - there's something so classically arty about easel painting! I found the metal trolley (you can glimpse it in the bottom left corner in the image below) in a local thrift store a few months ago and it is so perfect for holding my paint and palette that I still feel pretty damn chuffed about finding it.
I have a metal storage rack in the corner that hides all manner of things behind some badly strung curtains. It's a terrible solution to a storage problem that will probably remain forevermore even though I first intended for it to be temporary. I try to believe it has some resourceful charm to it even though things fall off the crammed shelves all the damn time. And let's be honest, it has none of the charm of the lovely armoire beside it which really deserves to be in much more esteemed company. I rescued it from a dusty old second hand store earlier this year and polished it up with loads of elbow grease and an oily rag and it's truly one of the best things I've ever purchased. It's impractical as heck for an art studio but I couldn't give a hoot because it brings me immense joy sandwiched there between the cardboard box tower and block of old, bad paintings that I can't yet bring myself to destroy.
Because I trust you, I'll tell you a secret that is a bit embarrassing....most of my large finished pieces on paper live underneath the armoire. Oh no, did I just admit that out loud? Yes, my friends, I store my precious finished works on the floor under a cabinet because I just don't know what else to do with them! They are protected by board and plastic sleeves, but still, it's not how such precious things should be stored. Finding a solution is currently a priority so hopefully, fingers crossed, that will be worked out imminently.
On top of the armoire I keep all my finished journals and a whole heap of other stuff that has nowhere else to go. I keep thinking that I want to use it only for displaying finished sculptures and the like but the other stuff always creeps in and I haven't got around to trying to curate a perfectly finished armoire as yet. You can see that I made some kinda start, but the stuff, well, you know how it goes.
When we first moved into this house and I saw the room that was to be my studio I knew that I wanted it to have a bit of 'street appeal' as it has no doorway and thus is open to the main thoroughfare of our home. I thought it would be nice to display some of my funny little ceramic pieces in a display cabinet at the entrance of the studio to create a little entryway that delineates the room as a creative space. I found this beautiful antique display cabinet at a local antique importers and I couldn't have asked for a better piece to fit the space or give it the right kinda 'vibe'. I love mixing the old and the new and dig the idea of antiques sitting with contemporary art. I've filled it with my nudibranchs and other trinkets I've made and the display is always changing as I sell pieces or try new experiments in clay.
Below I've posted a few more visual snippets from my space. It's ever-evolving and now I've made this blog post I feel the need to start shifting things about again! That's the way it goes! If you've made it this far, through the swamp of endless ramblings about my curious creative cave, then thank you very much. It's been an absolute pleasure to guide you through my studio and I hope that one day you will come and visit it for real.
Blessings friends! Bye for now. Til next time. xx