The Perfect Jewelry Workspace: Expert Tips for Organizing and Maintaining Your Studio
It's the new year. That means we all have to go on a diet, organize our surroundings, learn something new, and make regular attempts to better ourselves. Grab some carrot sticks and let's work on the other three right now!
One of the best things I've ever done for my studio was to get containers that allow me to divide my supplies (jewelry making and otherwise) by technique. That way I can keep a relatively clean work table and just pull out the stuff I need for whatever technique I'm doing at the time–and then (ideally), put it back when I'm done. Some things stay out all the time, of course, but some things can be stored away.
So, crafty half of the room aside, on the jewelry-making side of the room, I have a shelving unit full of small buckets, plastic storage boxes, and other containers dedicated to various techniques. I have one for metal stamping that holds all my stamps and stamp sets, blanks that are used only for stamping, the brass hammer I use just for stamping, and a Sharpie for darkening stamped impressions. I have one for enameling that holds all of my enamel powders, sifters, mandrels, trivets, small tripod and screen, glass beads that I use in enamels, foils, and Klyr-Fire (or similar) spray. I have one for metal clay that holds the clay packages, a clay roller, buttons and texture sheets, little cups of slip, Badger Balm, silicon mats, tiny straws, brass brushes (one for bronze, one for copper, one for silver), and some playing cards for thickness gauges. You get the idea. I also have one for soldering (flux, solders, hot tools, pickle, etc.), one full of all kinds of patina solutions, and one for polymer clay and clay tools.
The jewelry-making tools that I use all the time–files, certain hammers, wire cutters and metal shears, various pliers and "hot tools," ring mandrels, and such–stay on my workbench all the time. I keep those tools, along with my quenching bowl and torch, on my work table on a large metal tray that I can move off the table when I need the space to work on something else.
Another thing that has made my studio space much more effective is the peg board wall. Our hardware store only had really large sheets of peg board, so I bought a piece at Home Depot and had them cut it into thirds for me–partly so it would fit my space and partly so it would fit in my car! But it was still affordable and I just shared the leftovers with friends. I got a variety of straight and curved hooks to hang things on the board–hammers, coils of wire, my saws, dust masks, etc.–and I found a peg board rack that has several rings in a row, perfect for holding pliers and rough files.
I've got miles to go in my studio organization, because my workspace is still a mess in general–but imagine how much worse it would be if I hadn't done these two simple things! My next step is a major destash and to put into use some plastic drawers I already have, to hold things I rarely use like beads, gemstone supplies, etc.
If the new year has you motivated to clean up your workspace–or if you're in danger of being in an episode of that hoarding show–you might want some professional help. Expert metalsmith and jewelry arts teacher Michael David Sturlin's new video, Create the Perfect Jewelry Workspace: Best Ways to Organize Your Bench, is packed with organization ideas for your studio and your workbench, as well as how to use your bench pin more effectively. Want to use common, affordable or even free things like jars and cans to organize your studio? Want to learn to be more organized, efficient, and productive in your workspace? Want to learn how to make the most of the studio space, work bench and bench pin you already have? Order or instantly download Create the Perfect Jewelry Workspace and get your studio in shape in no time!