Today is the second half of blog interview series Artists Studio Organization, Becca Barnet of Sisal & Tow. We met last year when she contacted me for a little studio organizing help. Becca’s space was very workable but we put our heads together to improve and make her small space even more efficient. I have to confess I was hoping all the creatures would be tucked away and they were, her freezers of critters are all well organized and were out of the scope of organizing work:) Becca was a dream to work with, full of energy, great ideas and open to suggestions. I was fascinated to learn more about all the different work she does and you will love learning about how she works in her “Double studio” space. She’s constantly working on multiple projects and will be exhibiting at SEWE this weekend. These photo’s are not styled because I’m here to share real artists working studio’s in process, so this is typical of what her studio looks like on an average day (maybe at the very beginning or end post clean up:).
Artists Studio Organization, Becca Barnet Part II (see Part I Here)
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized?
BB:: I did consider myself to be organized, and then had a realization that it could be better than this. Which is when I reached out to Heather, and she made me see that while everything was in a place, they weren’t in their proper place. And the best way to do that was to designate a spot based on use and function of each tool, put them in order of functionality and necessity and then put everything back when you’re done….or else you’re in trouble.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio?
BB:: Put everything back when you’re done, clean up as you go. That’s really helpful. It takes a while to get used to your new system, but if something really truly doesn’t work, find a new place for it that does. When you’re working on a project, if you can have a designated space that the piece can live so it isn’t in the way of other projects, that’s really helpful.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
BB:: Occasionally. I only really purge when things start to feel cluttered. But it’s good to be aware so that you don’t really get to a point where you need to purge.
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?
BB:: Yes, I have a shelf where I keep items that aren’t necessarily going to be used in art pieces, but I like to see regularly. It’s a benefit of working from home, getting to be around things that inspire me, including my dogs and my collection of taxidermy and artwork.
I’ve designated a small part of the mantle to small objects that inspire me, but I try to keep the studio clear of things not designated to artwork because I work best in a clean space. But I definitely listen to music or have netflix running in the background most days.
HKPS:: Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process?
BB:: Not really, since our space is so small, we basically use what we need and then put it away when we’re done. If we didn’t it would get too cluttered and we wouldn’t be able to get anything done.
HKPS:: How much thought do you give to your artistic body of work in terms of historic value and the overall legacy you will leave behind? How do you store/archive your work or records?
BB:: I don’t really store art because most of the work I do is commission based, so it goes to where it’s going to live and then it’s with the new owner. If taxidermy is tanned right, it will last forever. Most of my installation work is time sensitive, and it usually get’s recycled or reused somehow after a couple years. I don’t even really sign most of my work. I guess legacy or the act of leaving behind my own personal art history isn’t something I really put much thought into.
HKPS::What if anything did you learn about your own organizing process through this interview?
BB:: The importance of cleaning as I go really resonates with me because of how small my space is and how many different tools and materials we work with. So for me the most important thing is, not only do I like to be clean, I just have to be, out of necessity. I guess I learned that today.
Thank you Becca for for sharing how you use your studio space and store your materials, your tips and advice! If you are in Charleston this weekend check out the lineup for SEWE which will be February 12-14th in various venue’s downtown. Sisal & Tow will be in the beautiful new Gaillard Center or you can see more of Becca’s 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 let me know!