Mapping My Studio

When ideas are fresh, and the object is to make art, it is not fun going on a wild goose chase to find the materials needed.  This is why I decided to "map" my studio.  




I love organizing my supplies into attractive containers such as this ceramic drawer unit.  But my memory fails me when called upon to recall what I put where. Imagine pulling each of these drawers out to find the particular piece needed. 
Keep it in mind that I don't take the time to check my spelling on the maps I make, nor do they have to be pretty.  The main thing is to chart where things are so that I can find them.  
The small map notebook will be kept on the bookshelf close at hand for reference.  The time spent now on this will prevent much frustration in the future.

Storage Options

Choosing the right storage option is half the task in organizing a complex inventory in such a studio as mine.  I have asked myself why I have so much stuff.  I have mediums that have not even been used yet, like the egg tempera paints and medium I bought after experimenting in the ancient way of making my own.  But my reason is simple: my overload of curiosity and interest and the under availability of time to follow through on my inspirations.  I am banking on the plan that the upcoming retirement will change all that.  Thus the new overhaul of a dysfunctional studio and so much attention to detail to organization for production.  
Take this bookshelf, for example.  It stands right next to my drafting table.  This is where most of my production takes place, so I needed to have the most used items accessible here.  I also wanted it to be an attractive work environment.  Using the upper shelves for the more attractive storage containers and a few decorative pieces, gives the studio a more inviting appearance from anywhere in the room.  To most, this would be a cluttered environment.  But look a little closer and you will see an ordered chaos.  That is the difference- ORDER.  By design, it is full.  Yes, because I needed to use every bit of this space.  

I love the collection of decorative boxes to the right of the ceramic drawer piece.  They are stacked in a particular configuration to satisfy my aesthetic sensibilities.  However when it is time to locate the exact item I need, it is almost impossible for me to remember which box it is in.  After doing this type of search during a resent project, I decided a mapping solution was vital.  Now that I have organized and catalogued my stash in the map notebook, I can go right to the correct box anytime I need something.  The lower shelves hold the stacks and less attractive containers, but they too are very specifically ordered. 

The same concept works for the stack of sketch/paint books to the right.  Although I did not list the exact order they are in, which would not stay that way, I did list the specific mediums they are designed for and the weight and size of papers of each book.  A few years ago I invested in having the right substrate for the mediums I like to work in.  Since then I have had little time to do any work in any of them.  So going through them inspired me to "get to work" and writing them down will help me to know what I have available when the time and notion strikes.  I will still have to go through the stack but at least I will know if what I want is there first. 

One last mention of this shelf and what it contains in order to reinforce the importance of mapping in my studio re-design.  Notice the Lazy Susan in the photo below.  I used this to have accessibility to a multitude of tools in a small circle of space. The rotating function makes it so handy in pulling the right tool out as needed.  Just to demonstrate how handy this one storage option is, take a look at all it contains (below right).  And this isn't all. There are a few containers on it that have not been filled yet. 
PORTABLE storage is also essential in a small work space.  This little rolling caddy holds a LOT of stuff!!!  I bought mine many years ago, before it was so expensive.  I love the three swing out drawers and the two open shelves below.  I also love that the part that can contain tall rolls of paper can also have the little shelf inserts put in to make three shelves. Then there are three other shelves on the other side. Most of all, I like the wheels. Mine is docked near the collage station of the studio, but I can easily roll it over to the drafting table when working there. 
I won't say too much about the big cabinet in this section, except that I like how I can still use my clear containers without having to look at them all the time.  It gives a better sense of calm to not have so much stuff visible at once. The book shelf (above) is the busiest section of the room.  By carefully grouping, organizing and mapping, I can now call this a working studio in the real sense of the term. Below, I just had to show one more picture.  This is one of the clear containers hidden away in the big cabinet.  It is labeled on the map as "cool junk".  Sometimes, it is just best to tell it like it is.