Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rules for Artists - Work Environment

Find your own best work environment:

This would work nicely, but the turret needs some kiln vents....

For years, due to my husband's occupation, I had no workspace of my own for clay. A spare bedroom or the dining room was fine for other things like weaving, painting and drawing, fibers, etc. But clay is a different matter. Finally we settled in one place where I knew I could plan on returning to working in clay.

My first studio of my very own was an old dirt-floor garage/ex-chicken house ca. 1940 on a small farm we bought. It had drafty barn doors, single pane windows and was about 30 feet from the house. There was a standpipe outside the studio door for water.

The first thing I got was a kiln. There was already shelving at the back of the garage, so I bought plastic sheeting to keep the moisture in and used that to store my works in progress.

I poured a concrete floor for the kiln space and, using pre-formed concrete deck footings built a floor for the rest of the space.

I heated it with an old-fashioned kerosene heater. I had an old drafting table I covered in plastic and canvas, an old wooden stool and I was in business. That first year I made sculpture and slabwork pieces.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to expand to a two-car garage with wonderful lighting and big, bright windows. The only thing bad about it is there's more space to clean! So aside from the physical space, what other aspects of a workspace is best for you?

Solitude or in a Group Setting?

I prefer solitude with music. It helps my concentration.

But sometimes--

I like working in a group because I like the give and take of conversation and being with other artists. I learn a lot that way. Sometimes working in a group studio setting is the only way you can go, but if you have a choice, Ask yourself these questions:

Do you work best by yourself?

Do you find others distracting?

Do you feel pressure to 'perform' well in a group? Are you competitive?

Do you need positive reinforcement from others?

Do you learn better when watching others work or when you can work it out by yourself?

Do you need to have someone show you how to do something or can you solve the problem by using a book or video or working it out alone?

Do you pick up a 'vibe' by working with others?

If you work alone:

Is silence the best atmosphere for you?

Do you like music?

Do you listen to discussions on the radio or like to hear recorded books?

How about your physical surroundings?

Are you bugged by mess? Does everything have to be clean before you can get down to work?

Do you need :
Lots of elbow room or only a small space?
Lots of tools or only use a few?
Do you like to work in your own area or are you comfortable in a shared facilities situation?
Do you like to work a while, leave it, then return to work more or are you one of those Stay-up-all-night Gotta-get-it-done-before-the-inspiration-leaves kind of artist?


-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

Good post! Personally I like to work by myself (I'm not much of a people person) with music going.

Linda Starr said...

I concengtrade much better alone, no music, except the birds, my blog is my connection to other artists right now.

Helena Erthal said...

I started now to make pottery so I am learning what it works with me. I like stay alone in a clean enviroment, but I need to talk or contact other potters to learn about ceramic. The small city that I live in Brazil there is no I cannot take lesson with someone. So I appreciate blogs like yours, that I can learn many helpfull tips.