Guest Author - Maribeth Lysen
This is the third installment in Organizing your creative space. To see the first two articles see the links at the bottom of this page.
Now that you have sorted all your supplies comes the fun part. You begin to create your space. Your space is a clean blank slate. If you want/need to paint now is the time to do it. Patch any holes and prep all surfaces. Prep work, while not fun, is what makes for a good end result. Fresh paint is inexpensive and color can dramatically change the way your space feels. There are several sources around the web for choosing colors. Do a search and see what colors make you happy. If you are a renter, talk to your landlord to see if it is okay to paint.
Next review your original plan for the space. Now that you have sorted, you have a better idea of what needs to go back into your studio. Make adjustments to your zones as needed. Remember, keep like with like.
Next take the measurements of your space. Measure the shelves, closets, wall space, and insides of drawers if you are going to add dividers.
Now you need to think about organizers and how you will house your sorted supplies. Everything needs a home. Use what you have on hand as organizers before going out and getting anything new. Take a look at old furniture your not using any more or furniture that you can re-purpose for your studio. A can of paint, contact paper, and vinyl decals can go a long way to repurposing what you already own.
Inexpensive scrapbook papers are great for recovering old boxes and giving them a fresh feel. Take a look at packaging to see if could be reused as an organizer. Check the recycle bin for smaller boxes and containers to hold ephemera.
Re-imagine kitchen supplies. An old spice rack can hold jars of paint or inks. Cake plates can hold cups filled with paintbrushes on a work table, keeping much used supplies within easy reach.
If you do need to purchase items start by scouring thrift stores, garage sales, and friend's houses. Look for boxes, old dressers, armoires, and shelves. It is a great way to save money and be good to the planet. As a bonus, taking unused items from friends and relatives helps them clear out their clutter.
Plastic bins can be helpful when storing ephemera, inks, and paints. They allow you to see whats inside. I use small plastic bins meant to store CDs for smaller ephemera like paper flowers. I use plastic bins meant for shoes to hold inks, paints, and glues. They are stackable and store easily inside closets.
If you have a lot of ephemera, it can be tricky to organize. To create a system that works for you, think about how you work on a project. If you tend to work by color, sort items by color. If you work by item, sort like with like. If you do a little bit of both, sort how you think it will work the best. Personally, I sort ephemera by color, but keep things like brads in a clear plastic bin (purchased at a dollar store).
Stickers are all kept in a three-ring binder, sorted by type, in clear plastic page protectors. For example, all the alphabet stickers are together in a page protector. I keep the binder in a cabinet with all the other scrapbooking and card making supplies.
Don't go crazy purchasing organizers or an organizing system. Think about what will function for you, use what you have, then purchase things to supplement. You don't need to spend money to get organized. If you or a friend is handy with tools, adding shelves to a closet can double your storage space at minimal cost.
To begin putting your studio together, start with your work area. This will be the workhorse of your creative space. Think about what that space looks like. Is it a table? What shape is the table? Round, square, oval? Is it an easel? Is the easel floor standing or table top? Are your supplies in a closet? On a rolling cart? On your art table? Creating the best working space is vital to creating your studio space. Put this space together before you bring back in your sorted items. This is the heart and soul of your creative space.
Next bring in all your big pieces of furniture and place based on your revised layout. Sit in your space for a few minutes. How does your space feel to you? Are all the furniture pieces in the right areas? Play with the furniture placement until the space has feels creative and welcoming.
Now begin to bring in your supplies. This is where you can subcategorize your items. For example, all your paints and painting supplies live an armoire. Inside the armoire you could have a box for oil paints, a box for acrylic paints, and a box for all your paint brushes and sponges. All your canvases, canvas papers, and watercolor papers also go inside the armoire.
Remember take lots of breaks. Your goal is a wonderful space to support your artist self. You get there by making small steps toward your goal.
When everything is put away bask in your new space. Take photos and send to a friend who will give you lots of praise for all your hard work. Give yourself the big treat you promised.
Next week will cover maintaining your organized space.