24 May 2011

how to create a mobile studio

Back in this post, how to make art in 10 minutes, Janice left this comment:

"Lynn. This gives me hope. With a second floor studio and a dog who still doesn't come up the stairs, I despair not having lots of time to create. He will stay downstairs without barking and whining at times so I will learn how to use that time. I definitely will need to revise how my studio is set up so I can take advantage of shorter periods. Do you do have an tips on studio organization which makes it possible to do ten minute increments? Do you write out plans/sketches or just wing it?"

I know Janice in real life, she's a pal a couple of cities away from me. She's a doggie mother to a rescue greyhound with very special needs and like all good doggie mother's, she goes above and beyond the call of duty when caring for her friend.

When I read her comment, I asked her if I could blog it and she agreed because I think you'll be very surprised at how simplistic my answer to her was. Ready? Here it is:

I use baskets.

Wow - doesn't sound too thrilling does it? But let me explain why.

I love my studio. I feel extremely blessed that I have a dedicated space but its not realistic for me to be in there all the time. I have a life, I have obligations, I like to be social with other members of the household.

The day that I realized I could drag around little micro studios with me via baskets was a revelation. My project baskets aren't pretty. They are cheapy ones from the dollar store that can get cracked or painted on and generally abused without any upset. When I have a project that I know I want to be mobile, here's what I do:

1) Complete the base work in the studio. This can be screen printing, fusing the layers together, stitching anything that requires the sewing machine.

2) Gather remaining items for the basket. I don't know about you but if I have too many choices, I dwadle. This step actually has more benefits then just pulling things together for the basket. It makes me focused so that I can keep my attention on doing the work rather then getting lost in an endless loop of "what if I did this instead?". Pick out what you want and put it in the basket.

3) Gather tools. Scissors, needles, rulers. Anything you need to finish your project. Remember, the goal is to not have to return to the studio (no penalties if you do) so be inclusive but don't attempt to drag every single thing you own out with you. Keep it simple.

4) Your mobile studio is ready! Your basket is your studio, your work is ready to go and you can drag it with you all over the house and even out to visit friends if you like.

Here's an example of a mobile studio project:

(Ignore the sassy westie, look at the container. Those are the gaggle of Wishing Owls that I made when I went to the Quilting Arts TV taping. I dragged that container around everywhere with me, sewing an eyeball on here, a nose on there. It was the only way I got them done, in little bitty chunks of time and if I had had to sit in my actual studio for the whole time, I would have been hard pressed to fit that into my schedule.)

Does this work for all projects? Of course not. The idea of dragging around an assemblage with me actually makes me kind of dizzy. But I always have some projects going that can be mobile and others that have to live out their creation process in the actual studio. Having these smaller projects is key to my sanity, when I go too long without creating, not nice things happen to my mood.

Just remember that not everything has to be monumental. You can be productive in small chunks, it doesn't always have to be some grand sweeping gesture of uninterrupted time.

If making art require that, I would not be an artist. :)


Approachable Art said...

Difficult to ignore the sassy Westie, lordy he's beautiful. :D Great post, Lynn!

kathy said...

Yes, he is cute.(I have to admit, I looked at him first) Great post, Lynn and great idea. I am a "collector" of all kinds of baskets, totes, containers of any sort.


Hmm, now that sounds great but my dilema is that we are in a temporary location and when we go I cant take it all with me esp as soon I hope to spend a year travelling so my challenge is to modify my arts practice so I can continue to work on the road. Guess who is going to have to have a studio sale before she leaves!!!!

Joey's Dream Garden said...

Great article! This is exactly what I do all the time as I don't have a dedicated "studio", our house is too small and messy for that, so I find it much easier to put everything I need for the current project in a box, that I can take with me from room to room as I need to, and then put away when it's dinner time (I tend to work at the kitchen table, which is also our dining room). I do love your last words on the subject, that making doesn't need to be a grand sweeping gesture - something I'm definitely guilty of, and need to get out of!!
Thanks for yet another great post.
Kind regards

Deb H said...

This is brilliant, Thanks Lynn!

Anita Van Hal said...

OMG! Can I have your dog? I SO want one like that, but I already have a pet dog and cat...okay, I know that's not going to happen, so great post! Love your art and can't wait to get my mitts on my new screens! Thanks for sharing!