I am very fortunate to have two studio spaces I can work in.
I didn’t always have the luxury of these two studio spaces to work, but as the family has been slowly been getting smaller I have been able to spread out a bit. Even the outside shed for printing is relatively recent – previously I took over a section of the garage with my print table and press. This was very difficult trying to keep clean – one of the aspects of getting spot free printing is to have clean surfaces and surroundings so dirt and dust is not getting onto linoblocks, tables and ink surfaces. But you make do with the best you can, aim to get some space – even if small where you can work. The best places are simply somewhere you can leave your work out if at all possible so that you don’t have to constantly get it out to work and put it away when you finish, that is the best thing about having these two spaces – the freedom to come and go whilst working.
My print studio is now outside in a shed, as printing can be messy and smelly with the oil based inks I use, somewhere with good ventilation is the best way to go if you can find a space like that – like I said before even the corner of a garage is a place to start – but as I say ‘every girl needs a shed’!
Above is my Print Studio which I recently painted and re-organised.…some shelving, repainted old cupboards including laminex ones with a product that allows water-based enamel paint over oil based, and general cleaning and re-ordering. You can see above my long print table with extra shelving for storage. It has two large windows above the print table that allows for lots of lovely natural light to work with.
…All lovely crisp white and sea blue…
I have a small filing cabinet – so I have somewhere to keep any paperwork. The small cupboard on the left is a general purpose one for storage but the one on the right is a print drying cupboard.
This is what the inside of the print cupboard looks like with prints laying flat to dry.
It is also where obviously my small bookpress is for printing. With its own designated steel legged table as it is although small, very heavy.
My other studio space you can see below is a room attached to the back our house and was previously the ‘family room’.
I can work and still interact with the family here – so I can carve, draw etc there. This has its positives and negatives as I would probably get more work done if I could simply hide in the outside studio shed but not so good on the family front.
I am fortunate that this room has two large walls of windows that open into my garden and it is light and airy.
I have re-arranged it recently so I have large bookcases with all my reference books, a bookcase with all my photo file boxes, a lovely drawing table and chair as well as my carving table. Most importantly I can set up my computer here and music!
Copyright – Lynette Weir
Systems can be very useful – not the kind of obsessive ones but just relevant and ordered so you can at least find what you are looking for – well mostly….
Every so often I re-order my studios – I do have a tendency to just put things in the general space or direction of where they should be so need to come back and sort them out every so often – this includes CD’s and books.
I have taken the time to clean out all the saved pieces of paper of interest that I have taken out of various magazines – from recipes to gardening – and shredded all the unwanted pieces. I have refiled them and labeled them – so what was an open shelf of chaos is now neatly ordered.
Where I need to be more vigilant is with my photographic images – digital and processed.
I have hundreds of filed photos for reference for my work in photo boxes and a database of images that I use to find what I need.
Basically I have filed the photos in alphabetical latin names for the flora and common names for the fauna. I have then made a database file in excel where I have cross-referenced latin and common names. This makes it so much easier – especially when my tired brain can only remember the alternate filed latin or common name and refuses to recall it as I have it filed!!
Copyright – Lynette Weir
I take all my own source photos for my work but there is the question – how do I get this to work so they are quickly and easily accessible?
My solution is to use photo boxes. I make cardboard dividers on which I put the botanical name, common name, distribution & flowering information plus anything else I think may be particularly relevant to that particular species. I have also generated a photo database using excel which I have a hard copy at hand with all the records of this information with cross references for botanical and common names so if I forget one I can still usually find it using the other! This all takes a fair bit of time like all filing but it makes life so much easier. I have the actual negatives filed in folders with names on each.
These days with digital photos they are all filed on the computer with back-up hard-drive and try to make cd/dvd backup disks as well. My fear is that with this digital phase we may actually end up losing many photos and not have all those wonderful ‘old’ historical photos I love looking at from years gone by.
I need to generate a new excel file with all of those digital photos yet but maybe on another wet weekend!
I think the biggest challenge is to keep up to date with the filing thought that keeping computer files saves time but my experience is that you still have to take the time to keep things in order. As I know you all have been told a thousand times – always back up – your computer dies, or a hardrive and you lose everything. Best of intentions we all mean to do and we all make mistakes and think we’ll just fix that tomorrow.