If you want to improve and make progress in your art/craft, you need a dedicated space, but it doesn’t have to be huge or perfect.
Though I’ve been a full time jewelry artist since 2009 and started drawing and painting again over 3 years ago, I did not have a studio for a long, long time.
As an ex-interior designer (and idealist) I wanted mine to be flawless, so I waited… for money to buy the best furniture, for a new home to have a separate art room, for time to make an amazing plan. But I had to realize that unless I’m working and making money, I would never have the money to do it.
So one day I decided to do what I can do, and it was the best thing ever. Now I have a wonderfully imperfect home studio that inspires and motivates me.
( Just in case you’re wondering; yes, I’m always that tidy 😀 😛 )
If you have similar problems, I have seven tips that you might find encouraging and/or useful.
1. Your circumstances will never-ever be ideal, so start with what you have
Find a closet, or a corner in a quiet room, and call it your studio space. The only important thing is that it should be 100% yours, where you feel comfortable, safe, and where you can focus. (If you don’t live alone, you should ask the others in the household first, of course.)
I used the sofa and the coffee table for a long time as a temporary art space, and I had to unpack and then pack away everything each and every time so as my boyfriend could use it too… it was so annoying! Many times I just did something else instead, because I was tired of packing. 😦
2. Be creative, find the possibilities
I still don’t have a separate studio, but we don’t need a huge living room, so now we have a studio with a ‘living-room corner’ in it.
My boyfriend’s home office is in the bedroom, so he has his own place too (he’s a writer and a graphic designer). Our flat is rather small (66 square meters), but it’s only for the two of us, and I don’t want bigger. Who wants to spend all her life cleaning unused rooms? 🙂
Your living space is like an extension of your body. It tells a lot about you, and if you want to change something in your life, it often helps to start here.
3. Have minimal furniture
For most creative activities you need only a few pieces of furniture: a table to work on, a chair, and some storage units for your supplies. All our furniture are from IKEA, simple, cheap, and comfortable, but you can buy second hand stuff too, if you don’t like this style.
In my jewelry corner I use an old (and rather ugly) armchair. I spend 8-10 hours a day here, and it’s important for me that I can change my position time to time. Actually I don’t like this armchair, but haven’t found a better one yet.
4. Set limits
Nothing is worse for the creative mind than endless possibilities. If you don’t have all the supplies available and leave parts of your space empty or unfinished, you will be much more creative.
I tried the other side too, and it didn’t work (at least for me). A bit more than a year ago I did a huge decluttering, and donated all my art and jewelry supplies I didn’t use. I not only felt awesome for being generous, but I’ve also been much more focused and productive since then.
5. Forget about perfection
This is the hardest part for poor perfectionist me. I tend to be very hard on myself, but I try not to forget that perfect things don’t exist. There’s no perfect art, life or person. And if there was, it’d be very, very boring. 🙂
We are all in progress. Enjoy the journey, and make the best of it every day.
6. Decorate thoughtfully
Surround yourself with things that inspire and motivate you. Decorate your art space with meaningful things which remind you of the joy of being a creative soul.
I made the mistake of overdecorating my studio in the beginning. After a while I just couldn’t focus on myself and my art, so I took a big breath, and removed most of it. I still have a collection of essential supplies, books, art by friends and my fav dolls, but they all are important to me.
I’ve started experimenting with a moodboard recently. I’m not sure how to use it yet, but experimenting is always fun.
7. Work for what you want, but don’t forget to enjoy what you already have 🙂
♦ ♦ ♦
I hope these tips were helpful. If you have more, please, share them in a comment! I’d also love to hear what topics you’re interested in, I’m keenly collecting ideas for future posts. 🙂
Next week I’ll write about how I organize my supplies and finished works for productivity, and to lower my stress level.
♦ ♦ ♦
PS: Credits! Some of the art on my walls are works by my wonderful instagram artist friends. ♥ Do check their accounts for more beautiful art. They are, in no specific order: @mabgraves, @zelyss.art, @paolopetrangeli, @feliciaolin, @suzannemonster, @zomgelbird, @darktownsally, @gaborcsigas, @themothstigma, and @nini_ninina
(I hope I haven’t missed anyone!)