In today’s interview, we will take another look in the Arrowmont Studio with Maia Lepo. Maia is a resident artist with a Jewelry studio at Arrowmont and has crafted a space that fits her needs for both creating work and showing it during their frequent open studio days. I loved seeing how what tools and equipment Maia brought with her and learning how she arranged this studio to fit her needs. Since I spontaneously popped in on her, these photos are not styled so this is typical of what her working studio looks like on an average day.
Maia Leppo’s Arrowmont Studio Part II (see Part I here)
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once?
Maia:: I try to work on one or two projects at a time. This is due to creative process. I work best when I am focused on one thing. That way when I go for a run or before I fall asleep I can try to work out some of the problems I am running into in that particular piece. A lot of good solutions come to me when I take a step away and do something else.
HKPS:: Do you ever find it challenging to locate certain things when you’re ready to use them? How do you store tools and materials you use frequently to make your process easier?
Maia:: I am very organized, so usually no. Like I mentioned, storage is really important to me, and I usually work out a pretty good system for my materials and tools.
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?
Maia:: Definitely. I often create limitations for myself. Right now I am trying to work with industrial materials from McMaster Carr, like steel and silicone. I also limit myself to design motifs. I am interested in floral and botanical elements and am inspired my surroundings. Moving to Gatlinburg and getting to be able to spend so much time outside in the park has been really great.
Maia:: For me boxes and drawers are key. I just need to be able to put things away. So even though I definitely hoard a bit, I think all artists do, as long as it has a place to get put away I feel okay about it.
Maia:: I do sometimes. Since I have moved pretty much yearly for the last 6 years, I have had to get rid of some supply. One thing I may do is a take a week and collect all my half-finished projects and try to finish them up or make the pieces into something else. It’s a fun design challenge and it very satisfying. Also when I finish a big piece or big production run, I like to go through and clean my entire studio, as a sort of restart.
Maia:: I like covering my working surfaces in butcher paper and then writing notes and lists on the paper. I can also section off pieces on different parts of the paper and write notes or sketch around the piece. As for scheduling, I use the calendar on my phone obsessively. I put reminders for sending work out, phone calls, meetings in there and check it daily.
Next week we will have a little hiatus from the Inside the Studio series but I’ll be back with more artist before the end of the year! In the meantime, Maia has been busy curating a show here and you can see more of her work on her website!
*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