Look at Art Studio Organization a Different Way

There's a great scene at the beginning of the movie "James and the Giant Peach." (Actually, there are a lot of wonderful scenes, but this one is key to the story.) James and his parents are on the beach looking at cloud formations and when James doesn't perceive something his parents see, they tell him to "try looking at it another way."

low-cost art studio storage solutions
A tall bookcase turned on its side holds repurposed containers in Rebecca Aranyi's art studio. (Photo by Rebecca Aranyi)

Later in the story, James remembers this advice and it saves him and his friends. Now, I don't think I've seen this film in at least six years. But that phrase sticks with me. Not only can looking at something from a different point of view help you in relationships, work, and life in general, butto meit is the essence of being creative. Creative people are able to take what they see, re-envision, and reinvent.

This ability to reinvent is essential to the artist and (unless she has thousands of dollars to spend on furniture and storage components) to her home studio.

Since January is the time of year when many of us decide it's time to get organized or at least clear out some of the clutter, I thought I'd give you some ideas for creating economical art studio storage simply by looking at things another way. 

Using the Winter 2012 issue of Studios magazine for inspiration, I was immediately struck by the cover image. Debee Ruiz's gorgeous storage unit must be high-end and expensive, I thought. Not so! Debee found the pieces separately at a thrift shop for cheap, painted them, and added new (unmatched) knobs to the drawers. The white paint unifies the components and serves as a backdrop for Debee's colorful supplies.

thrift store art studio storage
Debee Ruiz saw the potential in two disparate pieces
of thrift store furniture. White paint and funky mismatched knobs created a functional, stylish unit. (Photo by Debee Ruiz)

Rebecca Aranyi also sees potential art studio organization and furniture in the unconventional. The tall, narrow bookcases she liked wouldn't fit under her slanted ceilings, so she turned them on their sides to make cubbies.

Then, she looked at burlap coffee bags and saw storage potential, cutting them up and stitching them into 10" x 13" x 10" containers for patterns and yarn.

Here are some other unusual ways artists from this issue of Studios reinvent art studio storage:

  • Fabric-covered Priority Mail® boxes store patterns and thread.
  • A metal cutlery drainer attached to a worktable holds heating tools.
  • Skeins of yarn are piled in a vintage wagon.

You're a creative person. Why not bring some of that creativity to bear on your craft room? The next time you need storage containers or furniture, consider some items you already have, and try looking at them another way. You may be surprised at what you already have that will make artful, stylish, studio organization.

For more ideas on how to organize your space, be sure to get your copy of Studios Winter 2012. Eager to get started? You can download Studios right now!

P.S. What is the most unusual item you've ever reimagined for studio storage, organization, or furniture. Share your ideas below.

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Art Business, Blog

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