In today’s interview we will take a peek into Barbara Zaretsky’s Organized Art Space in Asheville’s River Arts District. Back in January I went to visit Barbara of BZ Design, after learning about her new education studio and workshop (Cloth Fiber Workshop) space. It was an icy cold day, not much traffic out and about and she had only been in the space about a month. I was really impressed with how thoughtfully planned and laid out the space was and totally delighted that she invited me to come see it while she was still putting the final touches in place. I can’t wait to take a workshop there with Barbara or another of the talented artists she hosts in this space. Come along and take a peek at how she created this beautiful working studio! These photos are not styled so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
Barbara Zaretsky’s Organized Art Space-Part I
When did you realize you were an artist?
BZD::When I was about 4 years old, my mother would take me to the fabric store and I remember running down the rows with joy touching everything. When I was about 6 or 7. I really enjoyed making clothes for my dolls. My sister and I also made our own paper dolls and their wardrobes.
What materials you work with?
BZD::Carefully selected sustainable fabrics: Peace Silk, linen, organic cotton. Plant dyes. GOTS certified textile inks.
Is making art your primary source of income? Do you have a partner who helps to support you?
BZD::Yes. I have a partner, but he does not support me.
How much time do you spend in your studio weekly/daily?
BZD::Tuesday thru Sat. 10 am to about 5 or 6 pm.
Do you work in solitude/seek out solitude or enjoy company (music, other people etc)?
BZD::I listen mostly to tango and enjoy my studio mates.
Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
BZD::I live in Asheville, NC and have a studio in the River Arts District. I have about 1000 sq feet. I moved into my current studio in mid-December of 2015, so about 6 months.
When you began working in this space did you plan any systems for the overall set up or did you let things evolve organically? How did past studio spaces or systems influence this space?
BZD:: I did a very detailed plan. In my last studio I mostly worked with what I had. This time I knew what I needed to make my space work more efficiently.
Do you use personal objects & memorabilia in your art? Do you collect memento’s, found objects or other ephemera?
BZD:: I do not use personal objects & memorabilia in my work. I do collect natural found objects and vintage textile related objects and stools & chairs.
Do these collections ever overwhelm you and if so how and when do you curate-edit them?
BZD::I’m very selective, so I don’t have too much. Except for chairs and stools, I have too many of both! I move them back and forth between my home and studio.
Do you have a mantra, muse, mascot or area that you dedicate as an altar? OR-do you have any rituals, superstitions or routines you practice regularly in your studio?
BZD:: I think there are little altars all around my studio it’s not on purpose, it’s part of my aesthetic I guess. I have a studio protector in the form of a bear from Chiapas, MX made of hand woven wool.
ARTISTIC LEGACY & PROCESS
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?
BZD::I use true classical dyes and processes that have been used to color fabric throughout history. The plants I use In my process are ones that have been proven over time to to age beautifully and with integrity. It is also important that the body of work I leave behind was made without harming the planet.
How do you store/archive your work or records?
BZD::I keep records of dye recipes and swatches.
Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process?
BZD:: I am pretty organized in all phases, though when getting ready for a show I have to make lists so that I can keep track of everything.
How many projects are you usually working on at once?
BZD:: I am currently doing production work and to save on labor time I overlap certain steps.
I am often working on four-five projects at once.
Next week we’ll be back to share more of Barbara’s tips on time management, storage and art studio organizing. In the meantime, Barbara has both her BZ Designs website and Cloth Fiber Workshops that you can check out online or if your in Asheville go see this beautiful studio and meet Barbara, see her gorgeous work in person! Do you have any questions you want me to ask Barbara 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 let me know!