Article: A Peek into my Studio (and into my creativity)
A Peek into my Studio (and into my creativity)
When I am creating a piece of jewelry, I am usually working on several different pieces at one time. Many of them. That is just how my mind works. I have tried fighting it for so long because I was told that isn't what you should do. You work on one at a time, start and finish it, then move onto the next. Recently I decided to give myself some grace and stop with so many of the "should dos" I put upon myself. I'll explain why.
I don't draw or sketch my ideas first. I started sketching them years ago when I first began because that is what I have always read you should do. But, I quickly found that the drawn ideas I had never turned out to look like the finished jewelry I made. So, it was just a waste of time and I don't enjoy drawing either! Normally, I roll about an idea in my mind that caught my attention wondering what it might look like, would it work, what elements would look nice with it. Then I go to my bench and start experimenting. A leaf might end up looking too large with a flower I wanted to make so I put it to the back of my studio bench to sit in a little "for later pile". The for later pile is a mound of almost finished silver elements that didn't make the cut for a particular piece I made it for. They are still lovely but didn't fit in with what I was working on at that moment for it. The back half of my solder blocks are normally packed full of "for later" pieces, the front half of my blocks are for active working space.
Most days I walk into my studio, I'll water my houseplants in there, feed my little pea puffer fish and say hello, with the intent of working on that piece from yesterday. But maybe I just don't feel inspired. I hold it in my hands, twirl it around in different angles, but nothing really comes to me when I think about "what next?". I put it down and start working on something else that I DO have ideas about. Often times, the excitement to do something for that piece wanes as well, so it goes on my bench to sit while I look at it. Some days I just can't get things to solder in a way I want them to. I have heard other metalsmiths say those are the days "they pray to the solder gods" and that makes total sense to me! I put that piece down, take a breath, and pick something else up. This happens all throughout the day, every single day. Start on one piece, put it down, pick up a different piece, put it down, then pick up another.
This is the half of my studio space where I work in. The desk on the left is where I package up your pieces for the mail and write you love letters. My bench area in the center with my kiln, rolling mill, oxygen & propane tanks for my soldering torch in the center, and the left side of my bench is for sawing/grinding/polishing.
On the right side of that space is where I put a cool vintage mechanical drafting table I got for my stained glass projects and supplies. Also, one of the many play areas for my little parrots that I "take to work" with me when I am not doing anything that might harm them. My husband (a HVAC engineer) built me the most kick ass ventilation system so we constantly have fresh air coming through the space. He also built my work bench for me from reclaimed lumber!)
Being an artist is wonderful! But, being an artist and expecting creativity to explode from your fingers tips from 8am - 5pm, five days per week, to pay bills is just not possible. When I am feeling extra frustrated and uninspired, those are the days when I create just for the fun of it. Something that pops into my head and I can complete in a shorter amount of time.
Thankfully, I have another half to my space where I have a little comfy loveseat filled with pillows, Max the cat has a cat tree to lay in the sunbeams, *another* bird play area, a fireplace, my printing and Cricut station, and the houseplants that I hide from my husband. Ha ha ha!
Welcome to my studio!