Saturday, March 23, 2013

Studio Transmogrification - Phase 1

Ok, I freely admit it…I'm a craft supply hoarder and need to find a 12 step program! I used to be super organized with all my supplies, as proven in my "Dream Scrapbooking/Craft Room" in my former home in Kansas—complete with tons of natural daylight, a bathroom, huge walk-in closet, and a large basement storage area:

*sigh* Nice, huh?! Unfortunately, I only got to enjoy it for about six months before we sold the house and moved here to Washington six years ago, and I've never managed to get my work space back this level. My glass studio is out in the garage, but the upstairs room where I do all my computer work, jewelry design, product photography, order packaging, etc. is now in a long, narrow "z" configuration, with no bathroom, a much smaller closet and no extra storage space in the form of a basement or attic. So while I managed to create some semblance of order fairly soon, there were still several unpacked boxes left stacked up in the corners or squeezed into our garage, while I did the best with what I had to work with.

During these years, my focus has also changed from scrapbooking and card making to lampworking and jewelry design, so many of my paper supplies have been sitting around, gathering dust and taking up much needed space, while the ever increasing flow of new bead supplies have been piling up wherever they can find the room. I had always intended to get my studio whipped into better shape, but life always seemed to get in the way and/or I have been so busy doing local shows, cranking out beads, and filling orders that I never seemed to find time or energy to get the job done properly.

Ironically, I'm the sort of artistic personality that thrives best when working in a clean, organized space—so having cluttered chaos constantly surrounding me each day has really affected me creatively (although some of my fellow artists do better in this kind of environment! LOL). I finally reached my limit when I got to the point that I could barely keep track of where my things were and would get constantly frustrated when I knew I had something here, but couldn't find it when I needed it (usually finding it a few days after the fact, of course!). And with my taxes still needing to be done and not a spare inch of table top available, I knew I needed to carve out the time and get this business taken care of once and for all!

I started with my main work table, which looked like this about a week ago and was so cluttered, it was being used more as a "sorting" area for projects that were in various stages of completion:

Can you even tell where the table is underneath all this stuff?!?? I'm so embarrassed to show this, but it's the truth of how bad things had gotten and if any of you have similar work spaces you're trying to deal with, I hope these next photos will help give you the inspiration and hope you need…

To keep things from overwhelming me, I recalled this bit of wisdom:

Question: "How do you eat a bear?"
Answer: "One bite at a time!" ;-D

So my game plan is to tackle just one small section of my studio at a time—removing everything in and on it, giving it a thorough cleaning, then only putting back the items  that really make sense for how I currently work, and selling or donating anything that no longer fits my creative lifestyle.

This is what things looked like after a good scrub and a refresher coat of glossy black paint—aaaaaaaaah, there's nothing like starting with a fresh, clean slate!! These taller cabinets used to be part of the giant double-sided work island in my old studio and had a much larger tabletop, but I couldn't fit it into my existing room, so I used this old door instead. I had been carting it around for years and previously used it on top of a pair of old sawhorses for my girls to draw, do homework, etc. while I worked, but it works out perfectly in this new configuration. (Tip: the hole where the door knob used to be is also perfect for threading wires and cords if you wanted to place a computer or other electronics on it too!)

And this is what is looks like now, with the stacking bins and organizer trays filled with favorite items I plan to use for my jewelry and mixed media projects. Now everything is right at my fingertips—which hopefully, means much better productivity and the only time I should feel stressed over it from now on is trying to decide what to use with my new designs! :-)

Here's a close up of the stacking bins…

Not just utilitarian, but pretty on the eyes too—because inspiration is half the battle, right?! When the weather warms up, I plan to give these a fresh coat of white spray paint. Now I'm raring to get started on "Phase 2" and can already feel the creative juices starting to percolate as I begin to feel the freedom of having a more organized and functional work space again! *Ü*

How about you? Do you have an area in your life that is in need of a serious Transmogrification? Join in the fray with me and we can inspire each other!


  1. You work area is coming along nicely!! Love love love your previous space.. amazing.

  2. wow wow, you inspire me! my table can't even be seen under layers of beads. LOL

  3. AMazing workspace in the first pic! Shame you had to leave that behind but it looks like you are right back on track - well done!

  4. My workspace continually looks like the second pic, despite my occasional efforts to organize. You're really doing a great job with the new space! Good luck with it!

    1. That's been the story of my life since we moved here…I take one step forward and get one spot reorganized, only to fall two steps back when another area totally explodes into utter chaos! LOL This time, I'm determined to get it done all at once (but in small phases to make it easier to tackle). Good luck on yours too—I know you can do it, Ariella! *Ü*

  5. Looks great Lori! I'm jealous of your space. I double my diner table as a craft table, a bill paying table, etc.

  6. Lori, I'm so envious! Your first photo looks like my kitchen counter!

    1. Thanks, Dorene! Well, I did get those counters made by the kitchen section at Home Depot, so maybe we do match?! That pattern sure works great to hide a lot of dirt and spills, doesn't it? LOL

  7. Great space! I'm new at this and don't actually have a space yet. I should work on that.

    I’m part of the bead soup party. Looking forward to the reveals. I'm now following you. I have a new blog. Please consider following my jewelry blog. Thanks.

  8. Your previous space was amazing, but your new space is well on its way. I hope you enjoy the great state of Washington. It's home for me too. I hope to have a studio that looks half that organized some day!


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