Organizing Creative Work Spaces
Designating work spaces with specific functions offers clarity, focus, and organization. The basic spaces an artist should have is a creative space, to make their art, and a business space, to handle all the arts business aspects including paperwork. Storage and types of furniture in each space is an additional aspect which an artist needs to consider.
Having designated areas offers a system for organization as specific materials, supplies, and paperwork goes to one of the two areas. This type of artistic organization should be broad because it is setting up a larger organizational system. Don’t worry about small details, think big picture!
Your creative space should have all of the tools, supplies, and materials needed to create a piece of art work. It may be an actual studio, a room or area in your house, a spot in your garage, or a table in your house. The creative space is where you make art and feel creative.
Creative Space Storage: Make sure you have ample storage for your tools or a space to place them when they are not in use. Put tools and materials that you use often close at hand and store other materials further away. I store my paintbrushes in a brush box which sits at the base of my easel, while my pastel fixative is in the back drawer of an art cart I have. Consider a tool box, plastic drawers, bins, and other containers to hold your supplies when you are not using them. Do this for a variety of reasons. This keeps other people from getting into sharp, dangerous or toxic materials. It provides a home for your supplies so you know where to put them when your done and where to find them when you need them. This also protects your expensive and delicate items and supplies from daily ware they would experience if they were left out. Keep items out and available that you use daily such as pens, pencils, paper towels, or an apron.
Creative Space Furniture: Your creative space should be conducive to creating any and all art work that you produce. It should be comfortable and inviting, and its layout should be placed in a way that supports art making. Do you have the proper furniture to create? A place to sit or stand? What about lighting? Decide what makes you comfortable and productive while working. Don’t be afraid to rearrange your creative space or move the furniture based on your work habits or specific projects.
Your office space may or may not be in the same area or room as your creative space. As an artist myself, I have a filing cabinet and desk at my studio/creative space to work on some arts business tasks, but I leave the computer and other electronics out of my studio and at home in a separate office space. This helps designate what I do at the studio and increases my productivity. I can’t focused knowing an email just arrived or if I am expecting a message from someone. Determine the necessary separation you need between your creative and office space.
If you prefer to work with your creative space and office space combined, separate the space in two so your commission contracts, inventory, and archives (aka important paper work) doesn’t get art supplies on them.
Office Space Storage: What do you need in your office space? What are you planning on storing? I began to work from a series of organized binders that held my arts paperwork. Since then I have graduated to a filing cabinet as my needs changed and as the paperwork increased. Tackling paperwork is one of the most daunting organizational tasks, which is why it will be its own organization blog post. It may be in your best interests to go digital too! But it is extremely important to have a ‘paper trail’ so whether or not its a piece of paper or a saved digital file, you need storage for your office. For now, determine the storage you need in your office space and make sure its available to you when its time to organize that ever growing pile of paper! Don’t buy extra office supplies also. This takes up a lot of space! Have a few extra blank envelopes, paperclips around but you don’t need a whole Office Max sitting in your desk drawers.
Office Space Furniture: Regardless of what others say, I always recommend a desk for handling the arts business aspects of the arts profession. Don’t use your dining room table when your not hosting family dinners, get a desk or a table and make it your office. Only put business materials on this desk. Use this space to work, rather than to surf the web or send your friend the latest cat video on Youtube. Invest in good lighting and a comfortable chair, this makes boring arts tasks like inventory and archiving less painful, literally, when your sitting for long periods of time.
Need help taking that next step? Below is a short goal list to get working on tacking your space organization for April.
The goals for this month are:
1. Designate two separate work spaces: creative and office space. Are they located in the same work space or are they completely separate?
2. Move the proper items, tools, materials, furniture, and other items to either the creative space or the office space. What needs to be in each space for you to work? What needs to be removed to prevent distractions?
3. Consider methods of storage for the materials in each space. Purchase, update, and change previous storage methods as needed. Place your items in storage that can be put away.
4. Consider types of furniture in each space and update, rearrange, and purchase as needed to make each space conducive to its purpose.
5. Reward yourself! You just organized your work spaces!