Having so many hobbies comes with a small price…where the heck do you put all your ART STUFF??? I’ve been lucky enough that everywhere we lived, my husband helps me make space for an entire art room or art area of some sort, to house all my art supplies.
So in the spirit of sharing, I thought it’d be fun to walk you through my art room…
When we were young & first married and lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, my workspace was just a big ‘ol industrial tool box. I kept all my paints, paintbrushes and tools in there, and they were in really bad shape. But I’d drag them out, lay them on the floor, and paint or draw whenever and whereever the mood struck.
Over the years, my work space has been everything from just a spot on one end of the couch, to the middle of the floor, to a rickety old art table in our very first house, and I’ve been grateful for every bit of it. I’ve had many many work areas.
But when we first moved to Texas, this is what my art space looked like:
Not too shabby! It’s an IKEA bookshelf/desk combo. But the desk space was always completely overtaken by whatever project I was working on at the time. A quarter of the desk is taken up by the sewing machine, and the desktop itself is covered in cut marks (because who needed a cutting mat, eh?). I placed a little table at one end for Myla (which was much too small for her, and consistently got covered in her projects), and the shelves at the end of the bookshelf were full of her art supplies. It was crowded, awkward, and I always had trouble finding things. The table desk itself wasn’t always the most secure mount, and one time it COMPLETELY collapsed with everything on it (much to my panic), and although I later reinforced it, I’d always been concerned that’d happen again. The other side of the room (not pictured) was full of broken bookshelves filled with junk. Literally, junk that I was just hanging onto that I reeeeeaaallly needed to get rid of, being held up by broken-down, falling-apart bookshelves. Still, I created lots of fun things there, and life was good.
But then when my parents moved to a smaller house, they got rid of a TON of furniture, and offered me a big wooden corner desk they had. I didn’t really have a concept of what it looked like, but I figured it’d be good and sturdy, and probably make for a much better arrangement than what I had setup. So after hauling it in pieces from Oklahoma in our truck, and after much toil and frustration, I finally installed the desk completely and did a huge art room overhaul.
The desk space now: BOYYYYYY was I glad we adopted that desk–what a difference a good desk space makes! There’s SOOO much room to spread out several projects at one time….
To the left of the desk, the IKEA bookshelf still comes in handy, holding all my finished Dream Creepers up top. The box in the top right is my resin / mold station. On the shelves I keep sketchbooks, some fabric, sculpting tools, patterns, beads, jewelry supplies, glue guns, my iron, sewing supplies, and paper.
(Also pictured below: the Boston Terrier, who assumes when you have the camera out, it is to take a photo of her.)
To the left of the bookshelf, is Myla’s little workstation. It’s basically a flat end of the wooden panel from the black IKEA desk laid flat on the floor (since she usually spreads her stuff all over the floor anyway). I “acquired” the window panel from my mom (thanks, Mom!), who got it on a visit to Japan…There are signed photos on the wall of Jim Henson (one from when I sent him a fan letter as a kid).
To the left of Myla’s space is the TV. (There’s also a closet full of mostly fabric, but don’t open that or everything will fall out.) The TV holds cutout stands that Myla and I did for the Austin convention last year. On the walls are some of my favorite roller derby shirts, mounted in embroidery hoops (a SUPER easy & fun project). And there’s one of the little plastic drawer bins for Myla’s stickers and paper and art supplies.
My “new” big ol’ desk: As for the desk area itself, I’ll walk you through it, from left to right. On the wall are some old paintings, along with three little shadow box sculptures my sister & nieces did for me. The hanging shelf holds a few of the ornaments and necklaces in my Etsy shop. There’s also an adorably colorful monkey-mermaid made by the very multi-talented Kendyl from BreakfastJones.
The edge of my desk: There’s an old Ottolight my mom gave me to try out, some portfolio booklets stuffed with some of the nicer finished drawings and collaborations. And I decided not to TOTALLY mess up this desk, and got a cutting mat. Tucked in the corner are my paintbrushes and my full set of Prismacolor Brush-tip markers (thankyouverymuch, Jerry’s Artarama in Austin!). There are about four in-progress projects on that desk. And those little mirrors next to the lamp? No, they’re not so I can stare adoringly at myself as I work…They’re actually so I can look up at the reflected image of the TV every now & then as I paint, since the only down side of this layout is that the TV is positioned BEHIND me, and it’s too much work to reroute the cable to face it the other way. Usually, though, I just listen to podcasts or audiobooks on my headphones anyway.
On the wall is artwork by Sarah Soh, the magnificent Aaron McMillan, Eduardo Vieira, and a portrait of another inspiration–Tom Waits–by John Mueller from BigPigInk. On the corner shelf, there’s a beautiful little tattooed lady sculpture by Goreilla (Sean Regalado), a little Wednesday paper doll by Ann Lim (Itzbitzart), and (although you can baaaaarely see it, a teeny weeny little hippo sculpture (cute little hippo butt cheeks and all) by Cassandra Jerman. Nearly all the artwork I’ve started collecting is from art trades done with artists I’ve “met” through Instagram. (Have I mentioned how inspirational IG has been for me? It has been.)
And the right side of my desk, with my sewing machine. The end of the desk holds some little shelves that a friend gave me when she moved, as well as a stack of projects and…well…STUFF.
On the wall is artwork by Zack from Oldesoul (who shares my love of Jim Henson), the very talented Maria / Bokkei (who did a derby portrait of me, as well as one of Myla and Donkey), and a print from the fantastically magical Lori Nelson (whose art space I had the pleasure of seeing firsthand when I visited in New York–I LOVE seeing where people create!). Oh and all my army stuff in the big red triangle.
So there it is! My lovely little workspace. And while I oftentimes STILL just spread out on the living room floor or curl up at the end of the couch with a sketchbook to spend time watching shows in the evenings with my husband, the new work area is a “happy space.” It makes me feel GOOD to go in there.
It’s my happy place to be. Sometimes, I just go in there and look around, and it makes me want to create things. So hooray for happy spaces! Where’s your happy place? Does your space inspire you? Is it a small little peaceful area, a big studio space, or a tiny spot in your room? Where do you like to create?