Ceramic Bead and Fiber Artist Studio Tour
Sun & Fun: Paint and Playfulness Bring the Sunshine In
I’ve been self-employed as an artist for 13 years and have had many studios. This is actually my eighth—and I swear, final—studio. Each one was a bit different and usually in a basement or garage, but always seemed to be a step up from the last studio. I knew this one would be permanent (as permanent can be). Therefore, I wanted to go all out and make it mine and the best I could on my budget. It was a present to myself for being in business for so long.
My biggest challenge was the lack of windows. I hate the idea of not having natural light, but it’s a really great space with a door that can be locked. If you have kids, you know why this is important. I chose the brightest and happiest colors I could for the walls to make up for not having windows. I then painted lighter stripes and some flowers on a couple of the walls. If you are familiar with my work, you know it’s pretty much covered in stripes and polka dots. I try to put them on everything, and the studio was no different.
A favorite feature in the room is actually the support column that runs from ceiling to floor. I painted it hot pink and orange and then roughed it up a little to look worn; it’s eye-catching. I also like the floor; it was painted with cement floor paint –black with white swirls.
Artist Studio Tips
There are stations in my studio, which helps, a lot! When making beads, there are several distinct steps that need their own tables. For instance, when I am making the beads from wet clay it’s pretty messy. Having a table dedicated to this step helps keep the clay dust in one place. I have a big worktable for piling up the project du jour and a computer station for blogging, etc. The best station is my beading table. It’s a big, round preschool table that has all of my beads and stringing tools on it. It’s the height of a coffee table, so I put it in front of my comfy green couch. I love having a couch to sit on while assembling jewelry. If I had to sit in a chair at a desk, I wouldn’t be able to work as long.
As for storage, there is never enough. I have cabinets along one wall, a peg board that my strung beads hang on, shelves for boxes of my bead mixes, a metal board for containers of findings, and more. I just brought in another dresser last week for more storage. I hold loose beads in bowls, muffin tins, and metal cookie tins. I love to go to the thrift shops for storage containers. I have picked up several tables and shelves that way, too.
Artist Studio Commonalities
The biggest challenge with my studio is keeping it clean. I try really hard to have a place for everything. It’s difficult to keep a bead studio looking tidy, because you really need to be able to see the beads to be inspired. If everything is in a drawer, you have to remember what’s available to design with. I am always searching for more surface space for the beads. Check back in a few years, and I am sure there will be shelves and tables everywhere.
By Jennifer Haynen, ceramic bead artist; designer of sewing patterns, fabric, and craft kits
Photos by Jennifer Heynen.
This article was originally published in Studios magazine, Summer 2009.