Monday, March 30, 2009

Musings on organizing...

Since having a new stove installed in my art studio last week, I've been super-busy cleaning and reorganizing everything. Nothing like a new purchase to inspire me to clean!
I also installed some inexpensive cabinets to store my art tools and supplies, so that meant taking everything out of old drawers, boxes and suchlike in order to reorganize, label, and re-store it all into my new system.
Friends and students often ask me if I'm really well organized as an artist, and, my answer is, well, in my dreams, yes! But reality is something different. It seems that I'm on a never-ending quest to become an organized artist.
My studio is still a mess because this is a huge job; I'm not only a jewelry artist, but a painter as well, so I have lots of paints, gel mediums, canvases, fabric, fibers, yarns, beads, handmade papers, rubber stamping paraphernalia, and book-arts tools and materials to put in order. While working on this task yesterday, I mused over the fact that I have so many friends in the art world who are not organized, not at all, and yet they thrive in a messy art environment. One friend in particular comes to mind; she told me that her studio is so bad, she can't even walk in without walking on some type of art material. Her floor as well as every table surface is covered with stuff. She loves it; it's her element, and it works for her.
This type of creative environment might also work for me, but for one thing: I am a teacher as well as an artist, and since I frequently have students in my studio, I need a tidy space in which to work and teach. I also find that if my art materials are all strewn about in no particular order I'm going to be very frustrated when it's time to find a particular item for a project.
It's quite stressful and time-consuming to search through piles and drawers of stuff in search of a few necessary items, especially little things like jewelry-related tools, beads, and the like. And on top of that, when I'm disorganized I tend to forget what I have, which often causes me to double-purchase items that I don't need.
For example, I recently reorganized my art-book collection and discovered that I had duplicates of three relatively expensive titles. This is a huge red flag for me: It says, time to get it together! So that's what I've been doing for the past week or so. I love what artist Robert Burridge says about art: "Neatness doesn't count." I agree with him, but I also feel that a well-organized studio is so beneficial in so many ways that it's worth putting some time and effort into achieving.
Meanwhile, I've been making art jewelry! Not in my studio, actually, but in the living room, because that's where I've stashed my favorite tools and beads while I reorganize the studio.(I know that some of you are laughing at me now, go ahead, laugh!) Anyway, I wanted to share this new necklace with my readers because I was so happy to find a use for the new beads I purchased from artist Starr May. She's also the talented fiber artist who created a pattern for a beautiful knitted purse called "Desert Breeze." I just took a two-part workshop with her on the purse, which I blogged about in a previous post, at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations.
While taking the class (my bag is almost finished, and I promise to share it with you as soon as possible!), I purchased a few beads from Starr, which are sold through the store. Hence the new necklace, which is a bit unusual, but I'm rather pleased with it. Starr makes some of the prettiest lampwork beads I've ever seen, and her prices are quite reasonable. If you are interested in buying her beads, email her at


Kathleen Krucoff said...

Just a gorgeous necklace!

I tend to have too much clutter in my studio too. Re-organized it about a month ago so I don't waste time looking for things as you mentioned. I've managed to keep it fairly neat since the re-org. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and this lovely necklace. Amazing work!

Carole Segal said...

Hi Sharilyn,

What an exquisite are an artist. I am always cleaning, re-arranging in my studio....while I am cleaning, I think about future projects. Your studio sounds like I might like to be at your studio and see how you have arranged everything. Carole in Montreal