Sandbox: A Studio Experience

Sandbox is a little corner of the web dedicated to Iowa City artists working to engage the public in an interactive environment. Find out more here.

I believe creating an inspiring space is vital to the creative process. I don’t think I’m alone in this, although I might take it a little farther than some artists. I need my studio to feel cozy and inviting. I create the space not only to make work in, but to relax, ponder and enjoy a cup of tea in as well. I’ve been treating my studio this way since the beginning. When I had a studio at the University of Kansas I had a fellow studiomate tell me my spirit animal must be a turtle, because I like to carry and create my home wherever I go. I completely agree!

I’m still at the beginning stages with my studio, but this is the progress I’ve made so far:

These are the things I like to incorporate into my studio:

I am not the type of artist that loses track of time and forgets to eat and drink! I have an assortment of tea that I drink throughout the day, and also incorporate into my work. For several years I’ve been placing newly steeped tea bags on soaked paper to get a beautiful, radiating stain. I then work back into these pieces with watercolor, drawing, or embroidery.

I like to have a process piece that I can work on for a lengthy amount of time. For this particular studio I’ve decided to make paper wall tiles for the duration of the residency. I will gradually cover more of the walls and work into the individual tiles, making each one into its own art piece.

I like to have plants and natural scents in the studio. I use lavender, rosemary and peppermint essential oils so it’s calming and invigorating at the same time. I love how a print shop smells, it might be the smell of chemicals, but it becomes familiar and specific to that space. I think the essential oils in my studio act the same way. When I walk through the door, the scent reminds me of my creative practice and helps me focus.

I listen to music all day long, however in my studio I use it to keep the creative flow going. I also use it when my emotions are running high. I’ll put a certain musician on and really let the experience soak in for a while. For example, I’ll go in with the intention to wallow until I’m inspired to sketch, or I’ll dance around until I’ve felt the emotion to its fullest!

Last, but not least, I think a place to retreat and recoup is essential. I am a firm believer in finding a balance between work and rest. When I come to my studio I bunker down for awhile. In that time I like to take breaks and stretch, take a walk, lay down, read, journal, or whatever I need in the moment. Everything I do feeds into everything else. If I don’t rest, then I don’t work! And working is glorious!

I look forward to sharing more of my experiences and work with you!

Be Well,

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