Friday, May 4, 2012

Open Studio Friday: Starry Road Studio

Okay I admit it: I am a messy artist.  

I'm much happier making stuff than cleaning and organizing - this is probably true for most creative people. But lately I'm realizing that I actually LIKE my studio "messes" - I LIKE looking around at piles and piles of beads, jars full of brushes and colored pencils, bottles of paint on open shelves, stacks of drawings, bits and pieces of ribbon, thread and fabric, works-in-progress like paintings, quilts, or airbrushed textiles, or crazy impromptu sketches. It fires my imagination to be surrounded by all the elements I work in. I LIKE seeing the textures and colors and tools out in the open, not shut away behind neat little cabinet doors. 

I am learning to embrace my state of creative chaos. I find that I as I get older I am increasingly letting go of trying to control everything in my life. This has had the interesting effect of making the act of creating easy and FUN.

By allowing some unkemptness in my studio I find that I am better able to jump right into the flow of a project and stay with it. There is a sense of immediacy and intimacy with my art space that I didn't used to have. I think of it as like a field of wild flowers vs. a neatly arranged and sculpted formal garden. Its a little unruly but magical.

Now don't get me wrong, I mean, things aren't TOTALLY out of control.

I do keep some things organized.

SEE?!?! (picture below) - what nicely organized beads!!!

Okay fine - I admit that this is only because I love to see colors grouped and arranged next to each other - I just can't help myself - its an artsy thing not an organized thing. 

One tiny thing I'm a just a little bit worried about: all this art stuff is gradually taking over my house. I mean, literally taking over the ENTIRE house. Almost every room is dedicated to art-making (including my daughter Nellie's fiber work), except for: my bedroom, Nellie's bedroom, part of the living room (Nellie has her spinning wheels set up there), and the bathrooms. The kitchen is about 50/50 in use for art so this is the biggest area that requires Nellie and I to focus on keeping clear. I mean, we do have to EAT some times. 

Here's a few pictures of the studios 
in my house, starting with a
very large room above the garage that contains
several little art spaces... this painting nook (mostly for airbrush work): 

Here's a bunch of paintings, textile art, drawings 
and other cool stuff, 
like my trusty old Artograph 3-D projector :


Now we're heading downstairs to the kitchen...
Here I'm fast-drying pottery in the oven to get it nice and bone dry 
before putting it in the kiln for bisque firing. 
(don't worry we are not going to eat these)...

...and here's my clay table (the kitchen table). 
I clean this up every night so that we can use the table for normal 
kitchen and dining (didn't use to, but it started driving 
Nellie and I crazy so this is a new practice).  
And by the way I also use this same table for my photo-station
since it has the best light in the house.

Glazes over by the door - and, oh, that's Nellie's fiber 
on the kitchen peninsula:

There's Nellie dying fiber, on the stove. 
Immediately behind her is the dining room. 
When this picture was taken 3 weeks ago, 
I had my pottery studio in there. 

Then last week we moved that out ...

...and moved Nellie's fiber studio in. 

Here's a few pictures of her new digs - fiber carder, TV, 
and yes that is an actual coffee station she set up for herself, 
along with a box of Godiva chocolates. :-)

Across the room is her dying station; as you can see she hung some artwork 
(before it was all clay-splattered walls). 

Pretty neat, huh?

Okay now we're heading out to the Garage...

Kiln #1 for oxidation firing; kiln furniture 
and workbench on the right. 
This is also where I mix my glazes 
- the shelves at the back is where I store my 
glaze materials for mixing recipes.

Kiln #2 for reduction firing (that's me firing it up for the first time last November). 
This kiln is on wheels with a flex gas hose. I roll it out onto the driveway to fire it.

Kiln #3 for small oxidation firing and for precious metal clay. 
That's the slab roller on the left. 
That white pvc tube with "TOTTEN" on it contains hubby's Dijeridooo. 
I have a picture of him playing it somewhere...hmm...

Here's my new throwing station - plenty of clay ready at hand.

On the other side of the garage is my spray booth for ceramic glazes - I use several automotive HPLV guns driven by a 4 gal compressor to layer glazes onto my pots (sometimes LOTS of layers). 
I need to clean this up for summer glazing.

That's it!!!  Hope you enjoyed my little tour. 
I'd love to hear about YOUR art space!


  1. Oh my that looks familiar!! It makes me want to come and play!!! I could easily take over the house but hubs won't let me. I sometimes overflow onto the kitchen table but try to clean that up every night like you do!

  2. Oh my gosh, your entire house is an art studio! How fun! I've been trying for years to get more space besides my dining room table. As for staying tidy, as I grow older I have found there are much more important things in life than making a space spotless. Things like going to church on Sunday, weekend drives in the country, watching the kids' activities, reading a book etc.

    Thanks for sharing!!!!

  3. Wow, lots of creativity going on there! I love organized chaos in my studio. My studio overflows into my upstairs loft area, which is great, but I don't overtake the house near as much as I used to.

  4. Wow! There is a lot of creative juices flowing in there! Now I don't feel so bad with all of my tools and supplies! Thanks for sharing!

    1. OK. You win. You have the messiest, most wonderful art making filled house in all the universe.

      I love it!

  5. This sound just like me, except I have fewer creative fields of interest, so my mess is "only" in the studio, living room and sometime the dining table. I loved your post: well written, insightful and interesting. Good job!

  6. WOW! I want to move in right now. And what in the world is that projector for?

  7. When you said you had art spaces all over the house, I admit I thought you were exaggerating. Nope. I love it and am kind of jealous. I would much rather use my kitchen for making art than making food :-) thank you for sharing!

  8. I am just beginning my adventure in art and to me, your house is straight heaven! I have a studio room as my sewing area and most of the kitchen as my jewelry making area but i don't have that much to play with yet, I am going to have a place like yours one day! Whether my husband likes it or not! I'm glad he is happy with my new ventures and he is searching for his own, I can picture something like this for us in the future though!

  9. That projector is an antique from my illustrating days in Chicago (pre computers). You can put any 3D or 2D object in the back of it and it projects it onto the worktable below (onto your illustration board). I would often assemble found objects (from nature or whatever) into my projector to form a collage, then project it onto my paper or canvas to copy. You can't buy these anymore and I still use it (tho rarely now)!

  10. Oh wow! Can I move in please?! I really can't decide which of your art spaces I love the most!


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