5 Common Art Studio Themes

judith content bead storage
Judith Content mixes inspiration with organization in her bead storage.

cate pratoOver the course of the years I worked on Cloth Paper Scissors Studios magazine, I've seen hundreds of artist studios. Each one was unique.

But as I read the narratives of artists eager to open their studio doors to our readers, certain themes repeated.

1. It's important to have a space for creative pursuits you can call your own. The size of the space doesn't really matter. It could be a card table in the corner of your bedroom or a freestanding 20' x 20' building. What matters is that you are sending a message to your family, your friends, and yourself that you are an artist and making art is an important piece of your life.

2. There's no right way, there's only your way. There are many best practices for how to arrange an art studio, and Studios has covered them all. But at the end of the day, only you know how you and your art function best. Gather all the good ideas for layout and organization from professional designers and other artists, and then do what feels comfortable for you.

3. Ten minutes of clean-up can save you time and money. There may be someone out there reading this who thinks she or he has an overabundance of studio time, but they haven't complained to me about it. Likewise, I can' t recall ever hearing, "If only I didn't have so darn much extra money for art supplies."

tim holtz art studio storage
Tim Holtz uses every inch of his
studio's vertical space 
to store his supplies.

On the other hand,  I have heard plenty of stories about artists who spend an hour looking for their favorite stencil or who have to go out and buy another packet of inkjet transfer paper because they can't find the one they bought two months ago. And I will admit that this used to happen to me all the time, for years, until I just learned to suck it up and put stuff where it belonged at the end of a session or projectwhichever is most appropriate.

4. Artists can turn anything into a storage container. Metal garbage pails, wicker laundry baskets, vintage vases, ladders, discarded mattress springs, muffin tins, printer's trays, ice cube trays…and on and on. If it's concave, stackable, or you can hang it on a wall, creative people will do something, well, creative to store their supplies.

5. When in doubt, go up. Only a lucky few have a studio with the square footage to accommodate a worktable that could double as a landing strip and closets that would meet Carrie Bradshaw's wardrobe needs. The rest of us have to look up for guidance when it comes to storage; floor-to-ceiling shelving, pull-down tables, over-the-door hangers, baskets hung from the ceiling, stacked vintage suitcases…you get the idea.

While these themes are common to many art studios, each artist I have encountered approaches the challenges presented by a small space, a tight budget, or an explosion of supplies in a different way.

I've collected some of the best examples of these artists' styles and put them in one book. It's filled with tips, tricks, lists, resources, and tons of decorative eye candy. And now, I'm very pleased to announce that Inside the Creative Studio: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space, is available for pre-order.

I hope you are as inspired by the artists and their spaces as I am!

P.S. What are your favorite studio organization or décor tips? Share in the comments section below!

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