Welcome April! This month myself and Ginger from The Blue Bottle Tree are bringing you a collaborative series of posts, “Making the Most of Your Polymer Clay Studio.” Each Thursday in April you can join me and Ginger as we talk about a topic relating to “Making the Most of Your Polymer Clay Studio.” I hope that you will continue to join us and chime in with your comments, thoughts, & ideas as well.
How to Fall in Love with Your Polymer Clay Studio, No Matter Its Size
If you have spent any amount of time surfing around the internet searching for polymer clay artists, you are well aware that their studios vary in size and design. Some people have full studios the size of a small home and yet others have a folding TV tray they call home. Today we are going to talk about how you can come to an appreciation of your own polymer clay studio, whether small or big, part-time or full-time.
Understand, There’s Always More to Have
More is always better; bigger is always better…or so they say. Society teaches us this misnomer each and every day. That being said, let me tell you a story….
My studio has moved and grown over the years. Before I was married it was housed in a table in my parents basement. When I got married, it found its way into our living room. And now it is in my basement in a separate space all of its own. But here’s the thing, at some point in your life, you have to realize that ‘there’s always more to have.’ This is especially true in the crafting world. No matter how much you have, there could always be more … Having ONE item is not the be-all-end-all that it used to be; there are new items to replace the old. People rarely downgrade their home or studio size, it’s our nature to constantly want to expand. Let me encourage you: learn to accept your polymer clay studio exactly as it is, whether desk, TV tray, room, or separate building. I’m sure there isn’t anyone who doesn’t desire to be an artist that doesn’t want (or need) more space. But if you were honest with yourself you’d realize there’s only so much space you can comfortably take care of & sustain. What works for one person, may not work for another. At the left you see a picture of my original studio … it consisted of a table in our living room. My stuff was always everywhere and it was virtually impossible to clean up. In fact, it became such an eye sore that I hesitated having company over for fear I would have to clean it. YIPES!
Then my hubby, out of his love for me and Parker, gutted our basement and transformed it into a magical place where Parker and all his friends can magically come to life. (See my new “grown up” studio here). I love my new studio: being able to shut the door and walk away is fantastic! Getting to be completely surrounded by books, Parker sculpts, clay, & all my craft items in ONE place (and not a million like before). But as with all things there are downsides too, such as no air in the summer and no bathroom, save for 2 floors up. When my studio was in the living room, if I had an idea I could quickly run over to the table & sculpt it out…I could clay while my hubby watched TV… And now with my “grown up” polymer clay studio that has changed. Don’t get me wrong I would never go back; I love & cherish my studio. However, what I’m trying to say is that we need to be aware of what we do have and learn to cherish it, make the most of it, and make it work for your lifestyle. Learning to appreciate what you have is hard, but it’s something that will allow you more joy & freedom than coveting what you don’t have.
Make the Most of What You Have
One of the things that will greatly help you in your polymer clay studio endeavors is to make the most of the space that you do have available (whether big or small). Here’s some tips & strategies to help you:
- Keep the tools you use most often close-by and in one place. If you scatter your tools about, it makes working that much harder.
- Use floss boxes and other organizing tools to help you stay as organized as possible.
- Squeeze every inch out of your space by growing “up” in your area instead of out; learn to be a stacking pro! And if you’re not a stacking pro, there are a lot of organizational pieces you can purchase that can make you a stacking pro.
- If your space is small, keep all extras (including that bowl of M&Ms) away from your creative space – this leaves more working room (and saves a few inches off your waste line).
- If you bake your creations in your home oven, have one cabinet or area dedicated to your polymer clay pans & cookie sheets you use to bake on. This makes baking your items quick, efficient, & easy. It also helps because you don’t have to remember: cookies …. or …. clay.
- Keep your craft items separated by type: one bin for paints, another for tools, another for beads, etc. This too will help in making your hobby fun & easy, especially in small spaces. When you’re done with the paint, throw in back in its bin and move onto the next thing.
- If you do not have a dedicated space (you work on whatever piece of furniture you can find) be sure to wipe down all your surfaces when you are finished. Remember that uncured polymer clay can eat through finishes on wood, so take the extra time & wipe off your surfaces.
Ginger’s Polymer Clay Studio:
Thanks for joining me today! Leave your comments, thoughts, & ideas below. Don’t forget to join the series next week over at The Blue Bottle Tree with Ginger.