Wednesday, September 09, 2015

keeping my creative space organized

When it comes to making art, I am a big, dirty, disgusting SLOB and I always have been! I am messy, I leave things out, I let paint drip, splatter and spill on everything. I always forget to wash my brushes, I leave my supplies everywhere and I am constantly losing things. I know that I will never be a clean and organized artist- a big part of my process is letting expression and creativity happen in the moment and often this means making really big messes. But over time I have learned a few tricks to keep my space and my brain a little more organized.

CREATE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

When I was younger I used to have all of my supplies sitting out. When I am in the "creative zone", I really like to see everything so I can grab things in the moment. Over time, this approach only lead to lots of clutter which ended up overwhelming me when I was making art. I had to learn the hard way that when you spend a lot of time creating (or when it's your job) you gotta have a place for everything. I will never be that person that picks everything up at the end of the day and organizes supplies by color but I do like having a place where I can contain my supplies and keep then out of the way.



I found that children's toy storage furniture works really well for me! There is a place for everything but I can still see the things that I need to grab when I am creating. Clean up is also really fast and easy- I literally throw things back into the bins when I done.

USE CONTAINERS AND BASKETS TO ORGANIZE AND DISGUISE

Since I make art for a living, I have a ridiculous amount of supplies and lots of back up supplies sitting around. Every six months I put in a big bulk order for sketchbooks, markers, drawing pens, paint and more. This means I have a lot of stuff that needs to be stored and I like using a variety of baskets and containers.
I buy baskets from Goodwill and containers from the 99 Cent Store and toss my excess supplies in them. All those baskets and containers have a place on the shelves in my studio.

I also have rolls of paper, canvas, fabric and old canvas paintings sitting around which can get tricky to store. I've found that big baskets and laundry hampers are perfect for holding all those large rolls. 


MAKE SUPPLIES MOBILE 

I spend a lot of time going back and forth between my studio and our home. I also spend a lot of time creating on the go. I really like having pouches and purses stocked with my favorite supplies- pens, pencils, paint, markers, watercolors, my favorite brushes and a sketchbook. When I am heading out the door, I grab a pouch, toss it in my purse. 

Since I juggle a lot of creative projects, I actually have a different pouch of supplies for different assignments. 

For example- 
I have a pouch filled with my favorite drawing pens for when I sit down to create coloring pages. 
I have a pouch filled with my favorite art journal supplies. 
I have a pouch filled with my camera and video accessories for the days that I film online courses. 
I have a pouch filled with art supplies for travel.

For most people this might sound really excessive but again, creativity is my job and I depend on staying organized with the many projects that I juggle.

EMBRACE THE MESS

Creativity can strike at any time and when it does I say embrace the chaos and mess that goes along with it. Often I will go for a month or two working around the clock on creative projects. During these marathon sessions, I let my space get messy without the pressure to clean and organize. Typically there is A LOT of stuff laying around- bottles of paint, old brushes, papers, supplies and scraps of fabric and canvas all over the floor. It is in these moments that I give myself permission to just let things be messy- often I am more creative amidst that mess because I've let go of the pressure to clean!

When I meet my deadlines and complete my projects, I go crazy cleaning my studio! And as as much as I love a good mess, I really do love picking things up and getting organized and prepared for the next round of creative projects!

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite ways to organize your creative space?

24 comments:

Purvi Gadewar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Purvi Gadewar said...

I am super messy too while creating...I only have a table for my crafting purposes so I like to organize my space by the type of products...like all the colouring medium in one tray...all the paper in another...stamp carving supplies in one...

Elisabetta Brustio said...

Non ho un vero e proprio spazio creativo, ho un piccolo ufficio per il mio lavoro di grafica ma, se devo creare e sporcare un po' preferisco stare in un locale più familiare come il soggiorno. Tavolo e pavimento diventano il mio studio... ma studio temporaneo, da smantellare entro l'ora di cena!
I materiali sono raggruppati per genere ma mi capita di mischiarli, spostarli e non trovare più dove metto le cose! Ogni artista è un po' disordinato!!!!!! :)

I don't have a real creative space, I have a small office for my graphics work, but if I have to create and dirty a little 'I prefer to stay in a place more familiar as the living room. Table and floor become my studio ... but temporary studio, to be dismantled by dinner time!
The materials are grouped by type, but I happen to mix them, move them and not find where to put things! Every artist is a bit 'messy !!!!!! :)

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

I get so excited about a project or starting a new one that I "forget" to put things away! I know it's time to organize things when I'm working on a 12 x 12 area of my large craft table! :) I recently made a colored pencil inspired cork board to help me organize my papers! If you are interested in taking a look:

http://tickledbug.blogspot.com/2015/09/colored-pencil-inspired-cork-board-diy.html?m=1

Nancy said...

Taming the chaos is an ongoing process. I can tolerate some mess, but then I reach a point at which I have to clean up before I can go any further. I'm a tote bag person and keep sewing projects in their own tote bag until completed. Also like the plastic drawer storge units- they are inexpensive and hold a lot like stamps, stamp pads. The 12" x 12" boxes for scrapbookers are also good to store lots of painted papers and they go on sale pretty regularly, stack nicely, and are pretty. And Ikea's little Raskag rolling cart is perfect for paints, gesso, glue, medium, etc. Yup- it's a battle.

astr!d said...

my process is similar- ignore the mess and be in the creative process. when it's over, it also drives me crazy! i'm not really good at organizing. so even when my stuff is put away it still looks terrible!! lol

mizdarlin said...

I am currently looking for a two bedroom place, even though it's only me, but I find that my whole apartment is my creative space,and you just can't keep it organized..hoping that when I really have a separate studio/room, I will at least be able to close the door!

- Yvette Head said...

On my 8 foot work table, I store all my bottles of fluid acrylics in wooden "tool boxes" that my husband made for me. The boxes do not have lids, and are easy to reach when creating my palettes. :) Below my table, all my jars of gels, pastes, gesso and tubes of paint are stored in open large plastic storage bins. Again they are easy to reach, plus I like to label the top of the jars, so it's easier to find. :) I don't have a large space to work, so you have to get creative!

Stephanie said...

Hi Alisa - where did you get the cart in the last photo?? I use a lot of clear, plastic shoe boxes and clear 12x12 iris boxes for paper, stencils. Thanks.

studioGypsy said...

awesomeness.. i am the same way.. lots of open storage where i can see it - or i'll forget about it.. as well as create in the moment - forget about cleaning..until the projects are over! :D

Jayne Capps said...

looks similar to one that Ikea has

curlygirlpress said...

It's a constant battle. I need to buckle down and sort my supplies/tools/materials so I know what I have where - thru studio moves and furniture moves I have pockets of stuff here and there and nothing is convenient when I want to work!

Tonya L said...

I really like keeping things mobile too!

Peggy Festerling said...

Hi,
I have a two bedroom place and decided to sleep in the 2nd, smaller, bedroom so I could use the master bedroom as a studio. It has worked out great! I mean, really, how much space do I need to sleep in?

Peggy Festerling said...

I like using those hanging small bucket shaped containers that hang on a metal bar, from IKEA, for my markers. It's a big time saver to be able to see of the colors at a glance.

Stephanie said...

Right, but this one has 4 instead of 3 levels.

Kashuen said...

I usually use those clear plastic storage bin to keep all my supplies. It is a great idea to use kids toy bin.

Jo Murray said...

There's no doubt that being creative is a messy business. I only clean up when a project is finished.

Meda said...

Sounds like me. Unfortunately I have to work from home at the moment and I suffer a lot because all my stuff is organized in closed boxes, and difficult to reach. I just feel like I want to give everything up and get a job or switch to graphic design.

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Kellie said...

I LOVE the pouches for mobile art!!! I've been searching for cute ones that are big enough for me. Where did you get yours??

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Mark Sindone said...

Your house looks amazing! There's this whole organized chaos feel about it what with all the colours and decorations, even in the way you keep your things in storage! Speaks volumes about what fun loving people you and your family are!

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