Over the Christmas break, I moved into a new studio space. It feels like I’ve done this a bunch of times lately, but this is the one.
We’re out of bedrooms for me to work in now, since we’re expecting Baby G No. 4 (our grande finale!) in July 2020. We decided to move the playroom into the adjoining family room in the basement. I had built the playroom for the kids when we were expecting our second, but they never really used it. Instead, they would move the toys over into the family room! They’re thrilled now – they have a couch in their playroom, as they like to tell people.
So I turned the playroom into a studio. A few coats of white paint, a special painting ledge to hold many pieces at once, since easels take up too much precious space, and very carefully selecting what was allowed to make its way into the studio has given me the ultimate creative space. It isn’t massive, measuring at 10×13′, but it has the right amount of room for me to make many pieces, store many pieces, display all of my supplies and favourite paintings, and work on my business and writing projects daily.
It’s all about organization, purpose and focus. I have implemented a weekly cleaning routine, in which I dedicate 15 minutes of my Sunday morning to washing surfaces, dusting everything, clearing things that are out of place, and vacuuming.
Once everything is back in its place, it’s easy to dig into my creative work for another week. And that’s the other thing – EVERYTHING has a place. It makes it so easy to tidy up. Anything that doesn’t have a specific home goes into a fancy bowl, which I purge every other week.
I use the KonMari method of using repurposed boxes and containers to hold specific items, and this helps to keep everything organized. By keeping it visible, I can’t hide it away. If I can’t hide it away, I will take care of it! In the photo above, you can see everything from my purge-bowl, to a box I keep receipts in, a binder I track finances in, extra cleaning products, watercolour paints, electronic accessories, inks, pen kits, glue, tape, business cards and other promotional items, envelopes, unused notebooks and sketchbooks, various office supplies, extra canvasses and oversized art paper, and my art printer. But, you didn’t notice all of that, did you? I know where things go, but they’re not overwhelming, because they’re organized.
This is the view I see when I walk in every day. It is vibrant, uplifting and reminds that what I do matters. I love being able to display everything on such a gorgeous backdrop, with the old barnboard and painted brick. It’s like the house I’ve always dreamed of. That I live in!
In addition to needing a new studio space, we realized when we were having another baby that we’d be needing a new kitchen table, too. That’s how I scored this sweet piece of furniture that I now use as a desk. I like to spread out when I work, so it gives me plenty of flexibility. Plus, I like being able to prop my feet up on the legs! It looks perfect for this space, too.
I am a firm believer in easy access to tools and materials. Hiding things away is the best way to not use them and to create messes and piles of frustrating junk. I think you can take things you use, and make them part of the design so that they are intentionally placed and just part of the look of the room. Some might say it doesn’t matter in a studio, but that’s the opposite of true. It matters MOST in a studio. This is where I work. This is where I create. I need zen, inspiration and to feel at home.
So there it is! My studio. I’m so proud of this, because somehow, I imagined it, visualized it, and pulled it together. It’s functional, motivating, and focused. It’s exactly what I need. Even at just 10×13′, it works, because if it were any bigger at this point in my career, I would feel overwhelmed and unfocused.
We often believe the myth of more, but when you really start to unpack what makes things worthwhile, size and quantities aren’t part of it. It’s quality, experience and purpose.