The Perfect Mixed-Media Studio Furniture

Not that I want to make excuses or anything, but I think it's very hard for a mixed-media artist to have an organized and tidy studio. First, there are so many different categories of tools and supplies to keep track of. Second, by definition, you're apt to use a variety of these tools and supplies at one time.

mixed media art studios susy pilgrim waters
Susy Pilgrim Waters's desk, as featured in
Studios Summer 2012.

I, personally, don't care if my studio space is tidy, so much as I want to be able to find what I need when I need it and not have to clear a space before I create. Short of having a studio assistant who would clean up after me, I'd like to devise the perfect piece of furniture or storage method to accomodate painting, paper crafts, and other mixed-media art techniques and projects I throw myself into.

So I was intrigued by an interview in the Summer 2012 issue of Studios magazine between Studios Editor Linda Blinn and Susy Pilgrim Waters. Susy is an illustrator, designer, and painter whose long list of clients include Crate & Barrel and The New York Times. Her work appears in print advertising, book and magazine publishing, and commercial licensing. 

Susy's studio is filled with paints, inks, sketchbooks, paintbrushes and a variety of other tools that help her create her designs.

In the interview, a portion of which is revealed below, Susy talks about designing the perfect studio furniture. 

Linda Blinn: What are some of the products you are currently designing?

Susy Pilgrim Waters: My products include leather bags, pashmina wraps, stationery, canvas bags, totes, and silkscreened clothes.

LB: How do you manage and organize all the materials, tools, and supplies necessary for working on these projects all at once?

mixed media artists designer susy pilgrim waters
Susy Pilgrim Waters

SPW: I am strong on the creative side but not so interested in the details of organizing. The licensing work is managed by my agents and the materials are not always here with me but being made elsewhere. Artisans in Mexico make the leather bags (these will soon be made in the U.S.) The canvas bags are made in New Hampshire. We print the clothing and store it before it is sold.  

LB: What does your studio look like right now?

SPW:  My studio is a gorgeous light-filled space that is separate, but joins the house in just the right way. It is full of paper, paint, maple panels waiting for me to paint, frames, and Pantone® books. Illustrations are stored in boxes or in my vintage chest that was originally designed to hold plans and drawings. I also use elfa® baskets and old-fashioned trunks and suitcases to store materials. 

LB:  If you were asked to design a Susy Pilgrim Waters collection of furnishings specifically for art studios, what pieces would you include?

susy pilgrim waters art designs
Some of Susy's commercial designs.

SPW: First would be an efficient drawing desk that would be light in weight, super strong, and have adjustable heights. It would have a special place to hold pens and wet brushes so they don't roll off. I would also design flat files that are extremely slim but magically spaciouswith casters for movability. Each item would have a very clean design.

LB: What materials would you use for the furnishings?

SPW: The desk might be powder-coated steel with a melamine or frosted glass desktop. I also like the look of reclaimed wood with simple, adjustable legs, so you could either sit or stand while working. Obviously, surfaces that can be easily cleaned are very important in studios.

How would you design your perfect studio furniture? How would it look and function? Leave your comment below, and let's share ideas.

For more ideas on putting together eye-pleasing, functional studios (tidy or not), download your copy of Studios Summer 2012.


P.S. Don't forget to leave your "perfect studio furniture" comment below!

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