Create • Inspire • Journey
by Rachelle Eason
Setting Up Studio Space
From Gypsy Wagon Dreams to
A Garage Camouflaged with Paint.
My soul may have been dreaming of a gypsy wagon but my mind stepped in and rallied for a more efficient use of space. My studio then was born into a regular house with a regular garage on a regular street but with not so regular walls.
When we bought this house, our 5th house, in our 31 years of marriage, we chose a house to accommodate our aging children that would leave us to be empty-nesters soon as well as space for my art studio; a space for creating and teaching.
Where I Work My Magic!
Over the more than two decades of being a professional artist, I have had many workspaces. Some have been absolutely fabulous and some I have had to adapt pretty creatively to fill my needs. But, you know, everyone of them have had some the following three things in common.
When I was in fourth grade, I learned mono-printing by carving linoleum blocks, rolling them with ink, and printing on colored paper. My masterpieces of the time includes three prints of my favorite block, a puppy dog I always drew and still love. At some point over my grade school years, my mother had those prints framed and they have hung in every studio I have ever had to this day.
Open access to art materials has always been a must because I always feel finding materials to create with should be effortless. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say my studios have always been organized, they always have been well-stocked with assorted supplies in fairly easily accessible places.
Then there’s the sun; a wooden sun on a stick. I would probably go as far as saying it has been my muse for many years. I purchased this sun at the Shady Side Arts Festival in Pittsburgh in 1994 and it has graced my studio desk ever since. Part whimsy and part witchy, her metal rays of sun are striped and her cheeks are purple. She is definitely my muse.
So as I sit and reflect over the facets of my past and current studios that make them so magical to me, it is obvious that it is not the physical space that has really enabled me to create, it is the energy inside the space that inspires me. After all, in a little tiny rental where we squished our family of six for five years while we were waiting to decide our next move, I created art to fill my selling space at that magical world where a mouse is boss, and in a huge storeroom space I welcomed a small community of neighbors that came together to make their own creative magic.
Setting Up Your Space
When people ask me advice about repurposing a space in their homes for a studio or carving out an escape space of their own for creating, I tell them to focus on three things…
First, find something that you have already created and frame it. Hang it up and rejoice in it. Look at it as the focal point of the journey you are making way for. Yes, it may be a reflection of where you’ve been but it is also a beacon of where you are heading…to give yourself space to create.
Second, buy a basket, a cart, or a cabinet; whatever type of storage will house your materials in an “easy to retrieve and put back” kind of way. You are going to be more likely to bounce into your space for a quick creative release if you are not thinking about how hard it is to find your materials and how much of a drag it is to clean it all up.
And third, choose a muse. Find some object d’art that represents your creative spirit. Name it, shower it with love, relate to it like a friend. It can be a 3D sculpture or a 2D painting, or any kind of totem you connect with. This muse will always be in your spot, inviting you, beckoning you to come in and play for a moment. Who can resist such a fabulous invitation?
In other words, it is not the physical space that makes you creative or, vice versa, limits your creativity. As artists, we are flexible, open to discovery, embrace challenges, and innovate ideas. Rising from hardship and discomfort is in our blood, and where that anguish might make others feel paralyzed in their tracks, we as artists feel energy to make a world that goes beyond such constraints.
Enjoy the Journey
You can work anywhere. You can create from anything. You just really have to be present in the moment to be inspired by what’s around you.
Happy Happy Creating!
Click to see a little ditty of my studio when it was freshly painted and almost empty!