How to get my new studio organised

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Many of you will know that last year I moved house and earlier this year work started on creating a wonderful huge art studio for me to work in. I would love to be able to tell you that I am fully installed but alas I am not. So why is it taking so long and what have I managed to achieve so far?

The actual build to first fix stage (when the internal walls are ready for plastering) was completed in April, but I couldn’t start work on the next stages until May as my son and his future wife insisted that they needed to use it for their engagement party. As soon as everything was cleaned up, I went out and ordered the flooring. For the office, I bought a turquoise coloured carpet tile, which was super easy to lay, and there is sufficient left over that should one be damaged, it can easily be replaced. With that in mind, we (Mr. S and I) decided that the interlocking spongy matting often used in gyms would be also a good option as it too would allow for easy replacement if any tile was damaged. It would also be a nicer surface to stand on if I’m painting for a long time and would help with noise reduction.

The idea was great. The reality is that every time anything of any weight is placed on these tiles, it leaves an indentation. Hopefully over time there will be so many indentations that the ones there now will not be so noticeable. Also, once I have everything in situ, I suspect that I will be the only one who notices anything on the floor. 

The next order was for a kitchen area. We went to B&Q for this as I was looking for easy clean, inexpensive white units and they appeared to have the best deal at the time. What they didn’t tell us until after we had placed the order and used a discount code, was that there was a six-week delivery time on those items. I was not happy. Meanwhile we discovered that someone was selling their entire kitchen on Facebook Marketplace. This was an amazing deal which included a brand new, never used, dishwasher, which we now have in the house; a fridge freezer, which is perfect for all the fruit and vegetables I have grown over the summer; and enough units to create a bank of cupboards along one side of the studio, ready for all the boxes of stuff I still have stored ready for use.

I was also very lucky to find out about some items which had been in an office and were going cheap and I have now sanded down one desk, painted it and this week it was installed in the studio. I have two more desks to sand and paint and a couple more sets of drawers which will probably get similar treatment.

The crucial thing for me was that I did not allow any of the items in storage to be brought into the studio space until all the storage solutions were ready to use. I know what will happen if I allow one box in; someone will decide to bring them all in and I will be in such chaos I won’t even want to come into the space, let alone make any artwork in it.

Unlike Mr. S, I do not need to see a clear desk. He is fanatical about never having papers on his desk and has a policy of only handling a sheet of paper once. So, it either gets filed away in its correct home or it gets binned. My life doesn’t work like that. I am happy for papers to pile up in one place knowing that, at a given point I will go through them, dealing with them all at one time giving me a clear space until the pile starts to build again. I love everything to be put away, but I don’t get in a panic if getting things straight takes time.

I want my space to be so well organised that everything has a home and when I need something I can find it with ease. Someone commented on a recent Facebook post of mine, saying how important it was to her that her workspace be organised; in her words “know thyself”. That same person also mentioned that whilst she needs a clear and ordered space, she knows people who can only work in a huge mess. I, too, know people like that. They do have a massive clean-up a couple of times a year, but the rest of the time it is a wonder they don’t break something trying to wade across the floor of their chaotic studio space. Each to her/his own!

I am hopeful that I can get the other two desks ready to go into the studio by the end of next week, which means that I can start to decide where things should live; get the labels ready for the drawers and source the appropriate containers for the materials I use in the different areas of artwork I make.

I have my very heavy printing presses (they take at least two men to move them) situated in one corner so that will be the printing area; in the middle of the studio on one wall I have had peg boards installed so that I have a permanent painting wall; and I have a third area, which I am calling the dry area, where I plan to make journals and get back to doing some dressmaking. In addition, after moving into a new house, I need to make curtains, re-cover dining room chairs, replace the cushions and cushion covers to fit the new decor, when we decide what it will be, and all in pretty much the same space. I think I could really do with a bigger studio, lol. I do know that however much space you have, it is never enough, but I will make it work.

I will also be scaling back on many of the things I have committed to as there are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I want to  before I die, so by reducing the pressures I have placed on myself, I hope it will mean that I can really enjoy the things that I have made time for and all in a beautiful brand new studio. I do feel very blessed.

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