Sunday, January 15, 2012

All Things Considered...

All things considered, it has been a hectic beginning to the new year.   Between my winter classes starting up, my husband getting a huge book illustration job and helping him on a furniture faux finishing job (huge 3 part entertainment unit)  that our fave interior designer came up with a less than a week deadline, the jewelry making has been relegated to class demo projects.  STILL have jewelry to be repacked from my Christmas shows, and dozens of new ideas running around in my head. With 2 special order designs to do this week, my workbenches are covered with "stuff" - jewelry to be packed, paperwork for different classes,  boxes of supplies and toolkits for classes, and just anything else that got set aside this week while I was too busy to bother putting it back in it's proper place.  So today I start to clean and organize again.

   Do the rest of you sometimes get to the point where your studio becomes such chaos that you have to step back, take a day or so, and re-evaluate you use of space?  Especially when you are sharing that space with another artist ( my husband, an illustrator)?  Looking back, I would have taken half of what is on one side of the room and put it on the other, but now it will be a MAJOR moving project to accomplish this.  Starting without planning, our shared studio has evolved over the past 10 years, as different pieces were added in.  My 6' metal work desk we found on the side of the road, a vintage glass front kitchen cabinent from a yard sale that became the base for a 6' workbench,  antique oak washstand that makes the perfect printer stand and stores all the paper & office supplies, flat file full of artwork supporting shelving full of books - why does it all have to be so heavy? 

     When laying out your studio, here's a hint I learned from my late father - using graph paper as a base for your design ( 1 sq to each ft), cut out paper shapes to the proper ratio of the furniture in your shop, and play with them, moving them around on the graph paper until you find a layout that maximizes your space, keeps everything handy, and saves your back!  That old adage, "measure twice, cut once" becomes "move paper - then furniture".  It's really a simple way to help you organize your workspace with a minimum of physical effort, as then you KNOW that you will only be moving the heavy stuff once.  Every time my late Dad moved his shop, he'd sit and do this for hours until he got the perfect layout before he moved anything - and when you figure the weight of showcases, specimens, and stones, he had a lot of weight to move!  So that's my New Year's resolution - rearrange the studio to make it work better for us both, and give usthe room to have workshops and classes here again. 

 So here's to a new year in a redesigned studio - I wouldn't even THINK of showing a picture of what it's like now, but once it's done ( it may take a few weeks - or more) you may get a glimpse.  Lucky me my sister in law moved here a few months ago and has two teen age boys we can call on if we need some muscle.  A few years ago I would have thought nothing of doing it myself, but the closer I get to 60 the more I realize that kind of work is best done by younger backs!

     But here's a pic from when I had my workbench set up in my old gallery shop - I could literally eat my lunch on the table when I wasn't working it was so clean!  Now if I can just get the home studio looking so husband remarked it "looks like a jewelry store exploded in here."  Yep, it's time to reorganize!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day 2012

So here we are at the dawn of a new year.  Last night we watched the last sunset of 2011 with our feet in the ocean, breezes blowing through our hair, and seabirds flying overhead.  There is something about the last night of the year that urges me to return to the ocean and get "grounded" to Mother Earth.  Having spent most of my life living on one island or another, the beach is where I can best connect to the energy of the planet and it's elements.  I love the forests, but the open vista of water always draws me home to the sea, washing away all the cares if the past year and leaving a clean slate for the new.  I've set foot in most of the seven seas now, Atlantic, Pacific, Carribean, Gulf,  Indian Ocean - passing on the Arctic & Antarctic, too cold.  Each has it's own energy, warm or cold, smooth or rough - much like the stones I work with.  I am hoping through this exercise in writing to enlighten you, my readers, to the energy around us, in the materials we work with, the environment we exist in, the relationships we participate in.  All these factor into what we create and how we envision our lives.  Here's to a year of expanding the possibilities, creating beauty in all that is around us, and living in harmony with Gaia.