Studio Makeover: Reclaiming My Worktable

Part of my frustration with my studio was not having any open space on my worktable. The magazines and books I’ve been reading for inspiration over the last few years often show pictures of art tables with interesting antique containers used to hold and display a variety of supplies. I like the idea of getting to use unique and interesting containers this way, so I’ve been collecting jars, bottles, and other containers I like from the local thrift stores and using them to hold brushes, pens, scissors, glue, and anything else I thought should be available for use. The only problem was that all those containers were taking up a lot of space.

Lots of supplies, but no place to work

My lightbulb moment was realizing I didn’t have to have all those supplies within reach all the time. I just needed to be able to get to them when I needed to get to them. So I decided to move most of the supplies off the table and into storage on my shelves, in containers that could be set on the work table for easy access when I actually needed those supplies. For example, I put all my markers and pens into wooden silverware trays which stack nicely on the shelf, are easy to bring over to the table, and store the pens horizontally, which is supposed to be better for them anyway. I also had six jars of brushes, sorted by size/use, sitting on my table. I got them all into a single container that maintained the categories while taking up a lot less space. I still have one jar of colored pencils and one of crayons on my table, and some pencils in with my brushes, but gel pens, markers, Sharpies, etc., are all in the trays.

Moving my pens and other supplies onto shelves gave me the space I was looking for.

The few jars and baskets I still have now sit on top of the drawers that hold my “embellishments” – bits and pieces that I want to use in my art but often haven’t. Now that they will be in my line of sight while I am working, I expect I will make much better use of them. The drawers line the back of the table, taking up only some of the space that all my supply storage used to, so I still have more table space than I did before.

Letting go of “the way everyone does it” really helped me to make better use of my space. Now I have a table with plenty of open space on it, and I still have the option of using all my different supplies whenever I want to. I also have a couple boxes of empty containers that will probably be heading back to the thrift store…

Tomorrow: My favorite storage container.

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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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