In today’s interview, we’ll take a peek into Emily Schubert‘s Arrowmont Studio. In August I had the pleasure of spending a week at Arrowmont and meeting all 5 resident artists. She had only been “moved in” for about a month but was in full “making” mode for an upcoming puppet show and more! With weekly open studio’s for Arromont students, these artists keep their art spaces tidy while continuing to be very productive! Emily is a puppet maker and mixed media artist who’s work often takes up a lot of space but she keeps multiple projects going at once in this small studio. Come 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.
Emily Schubert’s Organized Art Space-Part I
HKPS:: When did you realize you were an artist?
Emily:: I’m not sure I had any grand realization. I just always knew that I liked to create things. It’s something so elemental to being human. The first time someone called me an artist I simply decided to nod my head yes and go with it. My parents are also artists. People tell me it’s in my genes.
HKPS:: What materials you work with?
Emily:: I don’t like to limit myself to any certain material, but I typically work with a lot of paper, fabric, and other easily accessible and relatively inexpensive supplies. I try to be conscious of my footprint when I make, so I really enjoy reusing things and turning ordinary found objects into something a little extra-ordinary.
HKPS:: Is making art your primary source of income? Do you have a partner who helps to support you?
Emily:: Making my own art has never really been my primary source of income, and I currently do not have a partner. I have made money working for different puppet theaters and costume shops and had to balance those jobs with some semblance of an art practice. That said, while I’ve been an artist-in-residence at Arrowmont I am doing a decent job at making a living out of my studio.
HKPS:: How much time do you spend in your studio weekly/daily?
Emily:: Currently 40 plus hours easily! Depending on what is happening and what deadlines are coming up, probably even more time than that. The residency makes that all possible. Before I arrived at Arrowmont I was struggling with my art practice and probably wasn’t spending more than 5 hours a week in my makeshift studio. Things are much better as I’m finding my way now.
HKPS:: Do you work in solitude/seek out solitude or enjoy company (music, other people etc)?
Emily:: It really depends on the project. I would really like to move into working on some more collaborative pieces, but mostly I work in my studio alone. I get really focused and fall into that flow where time disappears as long as I have some good music or a good book on tape and clear idea of where I’m headed.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
Emily:: I am currently an Artist in Residence at the Arrowmont School of Art & Craft in Gatlinburg, TN. I have a lovely, cozy studio on Arrowmont’s campus. It is maybe a 12’x12′ with big windows and skylights providing natural light and is complete with heat for the winter and a/c for the summer. I love it! I have been there since June 12, 2016.
HKPS:: 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?
Emily:: When I got into the space there were already some shelves put up and a big print table against one wall. I like to have a lot of surface area to work on so I set up some nice tables near the windows and let everything fall into place from there. I imagine the space will shift as I need it to for whatever specific project I am working on. Each studio I have worked in has been vastly different in terms of size and set up but the studio I have now is comparable to the space I had to work in during my these year of undergrad.
HKPS:: Do you use personal objects & memorabilia in your art? Do you collect memento’s, found objects or other ephemera?
Emily:: I don’t directly use objects or memorabilia, but I have developed my own set of personal symbols and motifs that reoccur throughout much of my work. I collect things to hang on my studio walls as inspiration and visual stimulation. There are quotes, images, letters and notes from friends, and some gathered objects that have sentimental value to me. Some of the highlights are a Calvin and Hobbes comic in which Calvin is yelling at the stars, “I’m Significant!,” a patch depicting a slug the with caption”Slug Life,” and a miniature felted walrus head on a wooden plaque. My collection reminds me to stay honest with myself and my work and that sometimes such small things can make a difference.
HKPS:: Do these collections ever overwhelm you and if so how and when do you curate-edit them?
Emily:: I have lots of little collections beyond what’s on my studio wall. I have a collection of sharks’ teeth and sea glass and fabrics from around the world. None of them are so overwhelming I have to edit them…yet. But we will see how that goes if I ever get there. I think my biggest collection falls under the umbrella of “art supplies,” and it’s hard ot edit that because who knows when you might need to make that one things that one day…
HKPS:: 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?
Emily:: I don’t really have a mantra or a muse. I would say that the area above my sewing machine on the wall is a sort of altar. It is where I hang the collection of aforementioned things. As far as rituals, superstitions, or routines I haven’t found any just yet.
ARTIST LEGACY & PROCESS
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?
Emily:: To be honest I don’t give it much thought. I make things in the here and now because I am here and now. The things I make are more about human connection than anything else. I feel like worrying too much about legacy is a silly thing at this point. I store things where there is space. If it is 2D work I try to keep it flat. If it’s 3D work I try to package it up in a way it won’t break or it might exist as a decoration scattered throughout my living space. It just depends. I should probably work on keeping better records.
Next week we’ll be back to share more of Emily’s tips on time management, storage and art studio organizing. In the meantime, check out Emily’s work on her website. Do you have any questions you want me to ask Emily 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!