In today’s interview we take another look into Amy Putansu’s organized studio, her weaving equipment, storage and process. Amy’s weaving’s are beautifully simple but deceivingly complex. I’d say that’s true of all cloth, most people never investigate the process of making a woven cloth to understand how much goes into it before the weaving portion has even begun. Most weavers have a bit of an engineering mind…it’s pretty essential to get the calculations right so that you can actually make what you set your mind to. Amy has taken this a step further by modifying the tools and equipment she uses to create stunning works of cloth. The photo below shows one of her custom designed “reeds” on her loom. Her studio is simple but her process is complex by nature, much like the outcome! These photos are not styled and are typical of what Amy’s working studio looks like on an average day (see her comment below:).
ORGANIZING AMY’S STUDIO-Part II (see Part I here)
HKPS:: Do you ever find it challenging to locate certain things when you’re ready use them? How do you store tools and materials you use frequently to make your process easier?
Amy:: I don’t have an enormous inventory of materials, so I don’t lose track of them. I do store all of my materials in cabinets that have no doors- so everything is in sight. I find materials to be very inspiring and having them in sight is important. In fact, when designing the space for the fiber studio at the college I teach at, I specifically requested yarn shelving that was visible and accessible from all locations of the room.
Amy:: I am always at my best when I have mental space and time to introspect and plenty of solitude to work. During those rare times my work flows easily. Starts and stops are not conducive to my practice and don’t do the work any favors…
Amy:: I consider myself to be somewhat organized. However, when I have hired studio assistants in the past, there have been times when they were able to see much more efficient systems for me and make changes. This was when I was in business. Getting a different perspective has been valuable to me.
HKPS::Do you think your creative success and or your process is helped or constricted by discipline? Do you find that limitations or boundaries can help fuel your creativity?
Amy::I firmly believe that parameters expand creativity, and I have always worked in this manner. Common constrictions are equipment and material-based. I also only work in one weaving technique anymore and this creates and opportunity to develop deeply and specifically.
HKPS::Do you set any self imposed limitations (to your schedule, material use etc)? Is there anything you intentionally don’t have in your studio due to distraction?
Amy::My weaving equipment is very simple in nature and I have rarely expanded beyond that. This forces me to produce within the realm of simplicity which is also central to my themes.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de–clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
Amy:: Not on a regular basis, typically only when circumstance calls for it, like when moving in a new piece of equipment or other reason for making space.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio? Do you use sticky notes? How/where?
Amy:: Regarding schedules: SYNC your calendars!! I have way too many calendars- iPhone, Outlook, Google calendar, etc- and I get in trouble when they aren’t synced. Regarding tools- always put them back where they belong immediately after use. There is nothing worse than wasting time searching for things….
Amy:: I am thinking about the appearance and general state of my studio before Heather comes to interview in person! I am pleased to read below that I am encouraged NOT to clean or straighten for the visit:)
HKPS::Is there anything you keep in your studio strictly for fun or inspiration? Is there anything you intentionally don’t have in your studio due to distraction?
Amy:: I am a proponent for the bulletin board. (Another feature I brought into the studio at Haywood). A bulletin board filled with inspiration and tid-bits is not only more area to keep those items, but in plain sight for visual stimulation and inspiration.
HKPS::Do you use personal objects & memorabilia in your art? Do you collect memento’s, found objects or other ephemera, thing that evokes your childhood or playful nature=sense of humor (ironic, kitschy)? What is their Value to you?
Amy:: I have used objects from the sea shore in my artwork on a few occasions. The northern ocean and coast are central to my inspiration, my work is typically personal and spiritual. Recurring themes have been the use of gold, and I have painted the insides of shells to be incorporated in my textiles. The piece ‘Nostalgia’ (see website) includes gold painted sea glass tucking into double weave pockets. I’ve collected these objects over decades and have brought them from my home in Maine to the western North Carolina mountains where they sit in my studio reminding me of my connection to the sea.
I’m so glad Amy shared her ideas about organizing, time management and storage from both an educator’s and artist position. You can see she treats her process with discipline and has limitations that are inherent to her medium but also help her be expansive within her own set boundaries. Please see her work online or if your in Asheville contact Amy and see her work in person! For those of you who are fiber artists, Amy is teaching a workshop on silk degumming in Canada this fall through Maiwa School of Textiles. Do you have any questions you want me to ask Amy next week? If so please leave them in the comments below!
*The idea for the Inside the Artist Studio series began while attending an art retreat where I curiously observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. I’m very interested in sharing how organizing affects the artist’s creative process. Some systems and order are vital to our creative PLAY and learning to find a balance that works to enhance your creativity is what I hope to share with you through these interviews.
Is there a particular artist whose ‘Tool kit’ you would like to see featured? Leave a comment below and le