A studio is any place where interesting materials and useful tools are nearby, ready to turn ideas into something you can share. It’s good to have everything labeled and close at hand, but keep as clear a workspace as you can. Mine is a white table. It’s the proverbial tabula rasa, or blank paper, and after all these years I’m no longer afraid of it. I can’t wait to mess it up.
Not far to the left of the table is a corner shelf full of boxes, a gold mine.
I don’t think my studio is all that different from yours, whether yours is a sewing room, craft room, writing desk, kitchen, potting shed, blog, potter’s wheel, or small business. It’s a room of your own and you own it!
Materials and tools. You collect them because they feel right in your hand. Their colors and patterns are pure energy. But don’t let new materials settle on the shelf as objects to admire. Push beyond that and break open the wrapper, drop the pens in a box, introduce the new brush to old paper, get to work to see what your newest idea looks like.
This creative freedom wasn’t always obvious to me, and I’m still looking for the real thing. In excess! When I think of Picasso, I try to look beyond the troubling “Weeping Women”, to focus on his bold use of anything at all, such as wallpaper and chair caning.
Like Picasso, the 20th century French artist Louise Bourgeois has her tough side. And she, too, explores combinations of art media. Once I made a list of various materials in her two-dimensional artworks. “Watercolor and charcoal on paper; crayon and ink on tan paper; red ink on grid paper; pastel and gouache on black paper … ”.
Any subject can be explored by combining materials (things, words, ideas) in new ways. But being satisfied with the results doesn’t mean it’s finished. It means it’s ready to share. Taking it out of the studio might just be the next step in a longer creative journey.