Di Russell-Horn Creates Art from the Heart, Creativity for the Soul, and Tranquility for the Mind.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Short on Studio Space" Storage or Incorporating Art Supplies in Your Home

A little less than a year ago I downsized from a 2800 sq ft house to a 1100 sq ft apartment.  Having come from a huge house, not to mention a  full basement, 2 1/2 car garage and 1/2 acre of land, it was quite an adjustment to move to a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 small balconies and a one car (well, one after I fit all my "stuff" in the other parking space) garage.

I would not be having the luxury of a dedicated studio in our new home, but being unwilling to ever give up my art (it would be like not breathing, quite impossible really), I set about to give much thought to how to store my art supplies and how to carve out parts of our apartment for art, without making the apartment look cluttered.

I was sure that others had faced the same problem and I scoured many a book and magazine addressing the problem of small spaces, big (and sometimes messy) art.  I made sketch after scaled sketch of the apartment, down to the last detail and size of furniture, trying to figure out how a mixed media artist could make it all work.

While my son and I were deciding on the furnishings of our new home (casual, beachy style), I had to also incorporate how I was going to store a huge multitude of art supplies, not to mention where I would work on various mediums.

Since there wasn't  alot of storage space in the apartment, I decided that I would need to have my art supplies out in the open, so that they became a part of our home's decor while maintaining the uncluttered look that Brian and I love.

One way I did this was to store my yarns and fibers in the living room, next to the rocking chair (look closely at the first picture above to the left of the chair).  I purchased a few large floor size clear glass vases expressly for this purpose (love those 40% off coupons at craft stores!), and went about arranging my yarns in them.

Not only do the yarns look pretty, but I can see at anytime, what I need.  It's a win, win, situation!

Another storage problem that I had to deal with was how to store the vast multitude of art supplies I have amassed, while keeping most of them in plain view (for easier accessability and lack of storage space), but making it work with our new home's decor. 

I found the perfect solution, photograph boxes!  They are very affordable (especially if you wait for a sale like I did), very pretty and a great size.  I started out by buying about 3 dozen of them and went about sorting my supplies so that each box was designated for a type of supply. 

I had one very important rule, I would only keep what would fit into 1 box (of each supply of course).  I went about separating my supplies, paring down anything that did not fit in one storage box.  Then I very carefully labeled the photo boxes for easy accessibility.  I have boxes labeled: Colored Pencils, Markers, Glues and adhesives, euphemra (broken into categories, vintage, sewing, etc),  paints, paintbrushes, tools, grommets, small 3D inclusions, etc.

Then I grouped the photo storage boxes ( I went with solid bright colors and switched out the lids to change up the colors too) in categories, for ease of finding supplies.

I also have a weakness for books.  Novels, poetry, self help but especially art books.  I  had to decide where my vast colllection of books would be stored and I came up with the idea of many  bookcases scattered through out our apartment.

I also wanted to incorporate glass canning jars (quart or pint size) filled with collections of seashells, sand (crazy I know, but I collect sand from all beaches), buttons, glass beads layered in a variety of colors, ribbons and anything that is pretty. 

So my bookcases house a variety of books, photo boxes of supplies, interspersed with my transparent glass collection and canning jars of supplies.  It really worked out well, very striking, not at all cluttered and the best part, I'm surrounded by my art supplies and can put my finger on supply at a moments notice.

In the coming posts I will be sharing various parts of our new home and some tips and tricks on storing supplies in plain sight, by making them work into the decor of our living space. It's taken alot of thought, planning and the right accesories.
It is still a work in progress but I have had alot of fun rising to the challenge and Brian and I are pleased with how it looks, uncluttered, beachy and very, very comfortable.

Until we meet again, enjoy your life and don't forget to take time for creating art!

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