Leonardo da Vinci once said, “An artist’s studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it.” An interesting concept, but does it necessarily hold true centuries later?
My studio is a bright room in my basement that is packed floor to ceiling with a smorgasbord of photos, clippings, fabrics, patterns, clay, wood and sculptures in various stages of completion. A large table in the centre of the room serves as my work surface, but when inspiration is high, there is often so much on the table that my actual work surface is a 12″ x 12″ corner. I like to be able to see, reach, touch and use what I need as I need it. Whatever is left, or rejected ends up on the floor, so more often than not, my studio is a mess. When those manic moments of inspiration hit, I don’t want to take the time to put things away, I want to create. When those manic episodes subside I tidy up, or my patient husband grumbles something about fire hazards as he clears a path around the room. Here are some pictures of my studio after it has been cleaned up.
I’ve found that the more space I have the more I spread myself out horizontally, and I lose sight of my mission. That’s why my compact room serves me well – I’ve organized myself so that each corner, each shelf and cabinet holds what I need, when I need it and within reach. Organized chaos, but efficient and productive.