In today’s interview we will take another peek at Barbara studio. Barbara runs both BZ Design and a large teaching space for Cloth Fiber Workshop in her Asheville space. Barbara is committed to working with textiles that are sustainable, naturally dyed and hand made with excellence! Her studio space is shared with a couple other textile makers and includes a retail showroom in front and work space in back.
This week we dive into more organizing specifics and Barbara shares some tips she’s learned through years as an artist her various rolls. Her space is open to the public in the River Arts District. When I dropped by Barbara was still settling in with her studio and studio companions but the spaces was already looking amazing! These photos are not styled and are typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
Barbara Zaretsky’s Organized Studio Part II (see Part I here)
Before we dive deeper into Barbara’s studio organization process she wanted to expand a bit on one of the questions from last week and I’m grateful for the insight into her practice as a self supporting artist.
From Barbara::I’d like to note that I opened my business in a brick and mortar location in 2007. After a strong start, and then a very rocky year in 2009/2010, due to the financial crisis, I closed and then reopened in a new location in 2010. At the end of last year I moved again because the building sold and the new owners wanted to have a music venue/bar in my space.
In spite of these challenges, my business is self supporting.
My family and partner support and encourage what I do and because my partner is a builder, he has helped make my studio layout plans a reality.
Our individual success (as defined by ourselves not “society”) depends on so many factors and Barbara has remained both steadfast and flexible, qualities I think are so important for all creative business people. We also have to be resourceful and ask for help at times, this can be hard but necessary!
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once?
BZ::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.
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?
BZ::Each tool I use everyday is kept in a very specific location. I use open shelving, under table storage, bars and s-hooks.
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?
BZ::I need a clean and organized space to work. This allows creativity to flow. I get excited when working on new techniques. Not being hindered by a messy space allows me to be more present to the current process I’m working on.
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?
BZ::In my studio I work on production, commissions and wall textiles. Anything else I do at home. No distractions!
HKPS:: How did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized or do you have tenancies towards hoarding (or both)?
BZD::I tend to be more organized. I credit my virgo father for this.
All my hoarding is well hidden and out of the way. My piles of paperwork, mail, stuff I need to sort through, tends to accumulate- this I can thank my mother for!
I noticed that Barbara’s desk was pretty neat and it sits in the front of her showroom so by placing it front and center she may be forced to keep it cleared off? Nice strategy Barbara!
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
BZD::Not often enough.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio?
BZD::I have lists on paper, I send myself emails and I still use a weekly appointment book.
Barbara has shared some great ideas and her space layout is really incredible because it is so process oriented! She has a lot to keep track of in her production, dyeing, sewing, printing and finishing. Thinking about each step in your process can help make your space work for you! Thank you Barbara and if you happen to be in Asheville stop by her studio to see her work and work space. If you love textiles, think about taking a workshop in this incredible teaching space!
*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!