Sunday, January 11, 2009

A few more studio ideas

I've loved hearing your studio ideas in the comments! So, in honor of getting your studio together for the new year, here's a few more of mine - let me know what you think . . .

The Studio Behind the Couch
A friend once described seeing the studio of a professional printmaker she knew, and being shocked by its simplicity. The artist had simply moved the couch in his tiny living room away from the big front window, and placed a table and a few shelves behind it. There was room to walk between the table and the window, and everything he needed to do his work was within easy reach and always ready to go. It had made his living room smaller, but it also made his priorities very clear! Is there a space, like your living room or bedroom, that you could shrink slightly in order to make room for a small studio space? How could you rearrange an existing room so that a little space for art was carved out? Don’t forget that basements and garages are frequently overlooked and underused spaces.

The Fold-Out Studio in a Closet.

Claim a guest room closet, hall closet, coat closet, or linen closet for your studio. You probably need to get rid of a few things anyway, and a little re-arranging can find a new home for the items that are left. If the closet doesn’t have a light, a clip lamp and an extension cord can solve that problem. Use the closet to hold your art supplies and a bulletin board or other “display” area for inspirational images and quotes, works in progress and even completed projects.

If you paint, try hanging the piece you’re working on the back of the door and keep a folding chair in the closet. Open the door, secure it with a couple of rubber wedges to keep it from moving, and Voila! - you have an easel. Or, if you work on a horizontal surface and stand while you work, try getting a fold-down ironing board for the back of the door, or some of the wall-mount fold-down tables available at stores like IKEA. This can fold down and become an instant work surface! If you sit while you work on a horizontal surface, you can try using one of the shelves in the closet as a work surface, or find a small table that fits the space. Or you can keep a folding table in the closet, and display works in progress and inspiring quotes on the door.

The idea is to create a space that you can close the door on, but that is ready to go with supplies on hand and works in process visible as soon as you open the door set up a work surface. You can also leave the door open for those times when you want to put your subconscious to work.

Studio in a Tub.

Keep all of your art supplies and projects in plastic bins, totes, or tubs that can be easily toted and stored. This is especially handy if your primary workspace is the dining room table, or a card table set up in the living room. This makes it easy to clear one room, and relocate the project somewhere else, or just put it away until dinner is over. Tubs can be organized by media or by project.

Studio on a Cart.

A similar idea is to keep your art supplies on a rolling cart, like a kitchen utility cart or catering cart. Some are designed as rolling kitchen islands, others to hold microwaves or TVs. These carts frequently have a drawer, and usually have at least one shelf. I’ve seen very sturdy rolling tool carts at hardware stores that have multiple shallow drawers, ideal for paints, pastels, paper, and brushes. Sometimes the cabinets underneath can be easily covered with fabric, or have doors – great for privacy! The top surface can be used to store works in progress, and can even be used as a work surface.

I keep all of my painting supplies on a cart like this. Roll it up to the kitchen table, or to an easel, or even out onto the back porch, and you’re ready to go. If the kitchen table is your main work surface, it’s easy to turn the dining nook into a sometime studio. You can keep a bulletin board on a wall nearby full of inspiring pictures and quotes, or have a magnet board to easily display finished projects. Keep your rolling cart full of supplies in the dining room and stock it with a vinyl tablecloth or piece of oilcloth that you can throw down on the dining room table to protect the surface. Then, roll your cart over, sit down and dive in! Your supplies are near at hand, and cleaning up your work surface in time for dinner is as simple as folding up the vinyl cloth and putting your project on top of the cart – where your subconscious can work on it over coffee and pie.
Any other ideas for making artmaking space at home?


Michael5000 said...

Did you ever read "The Three Investigators" when you were a kid? If so, how about a studio in an old trailer that has been buried beneath debris and forgotten in the depths of your parents' junkyard?

Bridget B. said...

Ooo! That's a brilliant idea!

Paige Orloff said...

I love all these ideas (including Michael5000's!) At the moment, I'm coveting one of those great 70s tabourets--it's in the window of a local junk/antique store, and I can't stop thinking that it's the answer to all my creative space/organization prayers. So happy to have found your site!