Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Hate Them 'Cause They're Organized

I'm a little jealous and a lot in awe of BEST member Jamaila's beautiful and organized space. We are so lucky to have this sneak peek into her studio! And hopefully we can all be this organized one day, too!

The Anapurna studio is an organized sort of place most of the time. We find that we’re more successfully creative when we can find what we need right away, and we’re lucky enough to have a dedicated space devoted solely to Anapurna and our creative pursuits. As a partnership (Lindley’s the designer, Jamaila’s the creative director [aka the extrovert!]), we’re fortunate enough to share a studio space in Lindley’s home, while most shipping and administrative tasks are done in Jamaila’s home office. Here’s a glimpse into the Anapurna studio and a few tips about organizing your own creative space.

Here’s the primary workspace of the studio. The desk serves as the main workstation, with easy access to everything we use the most – beads, findings, wire and cords, project trays, and more. And here’s tip number one: keep things together. We keep beads in one area, ribbons and fabric in the closet, wire and finished cords under the desk, works in progress and beads that need to be sorted/put away in baskets, and supplies for our other creative pursuits, like home spa supplies, in their own places (on a shelf in the closet and in the attached bathroom, specifically!). Try to keep like things in one place, so you can always lay a hand on them.

Our studio is long and narrow, so all of the work areas are on one side. We’ve used the space on the other side of the room for our inspiration area – uncut strands of gems (once they’re cut, they go right into the bead containers!), pictures we love, ideas for projects, and even a few mementos from memorable conventions we’ve attended.

Here’s the storage and photography part of the room, and some more tips:
Organize your space into zones – especially if you do more than one type of creative activity! – so that projects don’t interfere with each other, and if something doesn’t get put away, it doesn’t keep you from working on something else.
Keep things visible but contained, so you can see what you have without strewing it around everywhere (we like glass bottles, clear plastic boxes, and small parts cabinets). And then there’s our favorite tool – the labelmaker! In our studio, we just printed out labels for our things in a font we liked and neatly taped them on, but the principle still holds (and you should see my kitchen pantry!)

Setting up a space for photography isn’t hard – this is our fancy-schmancy “photography studio” – a salvaged table and a window! We use fabric, paper, and other backgrounds to spruce it up a little, and we also take advantage of another tip: lights! They’re not just for photography, though. Put lights everywhere you can in your space. You’re more likely to use a space you can see really well in.

You don’t have to buy specialized storage equipment, or containers from specialty stores, or even anything at all to set up your space. Almost all of the furniture in our studio is, believe it or not, free. The desk came from a day-job office that re-located, the photography table is really an old drop-leaf dining room table somebody abandoned, and the green table holding our photography props was found when someone moved out of a nearby apartment complex.

We keep our massive collection of beads in small-parts drawers from the hardware store – you might have seen similar ones in somebody’s garage, holding nails and screws and other messy things. They’re not expensive, and – best of all – it turns out they come with the equipment to mount them on the wall. Easy access. We sort our beads by type and color – glass, gemstones, metal, etc. – but that’s certainly more of a personal preference than a real tip; you can sort your stuff however you’d like, we won’t judge you.

Here’s one final tip, and it comes from the heart. Art is messy. Don’t let it overcome you. Plan for it by dedicating areas to toss things that need to be put away as you finish with them – you don’t need to put them away immediately if you’re in the throes of creation, but you need to be able to get to them when you’ve got the time and inclination to clean up a little. Try a basket for stray beads, a plastic box for oily containers, or even a multi-segmented tray for all sorts of little bits and bobs you needed five minutes ago but are cluttering your space now. When you’re done with your creative passion, the mess that has resulted will be a lot easier to deal with.
And yes, we know that not everyone has the luxury of having a spare room to turn into a studio. If you don’t have a dedicated craft space already, and don’t have a lot of room to spread out, try this: buy a dresser that blends well with your d├ęcor. Put it near where you usually work, and store all of your supplies in it. It’s simple, it’s organized, it doesn’t take a lot of space, and it’ll protect your supplies from things like cats and kids, too.

Post written by Jamaila of Anapurna.


elsie said...

This is just awesome! I have total workspace envy. And I'm happy to see where my beautiful Anapurna jewelry gets made. You guys rock!

Yummy and Company said...

wonderful post- thanks for sharing those tips! looks like you get a lot of great light in there too.