Today we are Inside the Studio with Heather Allen Hietala who I met in Asheville earlier this year. I had seen her work online and just really felt compelled to meet her based upon her vast career of mixed media and fiber art. Heather graciously invited/agreed to have me come see her amazing studio space. Her work combines ceramics, found objects, fiber and other mixed media and I encourage anyone in the area to go and see her work in person! I’m thrilled to share Heather studio organizing tips since she has quite a large variety of materials to keep sorted and stored. These photo’s are not styled in any way, in fact the visit was totally unplanned and spontaneous so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day.
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.
Interview and Studio Sneak Peek Part II (See Part I here)
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized?
HAH::Yes, I am an organized person. I like to know where to find things so I have developed my own systems for organization. For 7 years I had a studio that had a mandatory sprinkler system that propelled me down a path of using clear plastic boxes to organize and store materials etc. It allows me to see where things are and allows me to easily carry things to another studio and they are already packed for moving! I am always curious about different methods for efficiently organizing materials, tools and ideas!
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio?
HAH::Everyone is different and so it is best to be aware of how you work and support your innate logic and way of working. Whenever I see a “system” at another artist studio or home, I use it for inspiration and modify it to fit me. My studios are constantly evolving to suit my needs and how I am always changing as a person and as an artist. I am introducing a new medium with the natural materials and this fall I will spend some time figuring out new systems to incorporate it into my life. Since I have limited studio/storage space there will be some give and take. I will need to prioritize where I am in my evolution as an artist and let go of some “stuff.” As an artist I collect and save all manner of stuff for someday…. It will be a process to think ahead and trust where I am and not hold onto stuff from where I have been but am no longer.
Heather Allen Hitetala Studio Part II
For all of Heathers Studio Shots see the Flickr Album
HKPS:: Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process? Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
HAH::In the beginning of a creative cycle there is a bit of chaos/ disorganization with all kinds of materials and tools etc all over the studio as I explore and experiment. As time goes by and I hone in on the new work I can put away tools materials I am not going to use or sequester them away on a table, so they are still handy just in case. When I get to the finishing stage I need more space for clarity and fine-tuning so I take the time and put away what I don’t need. I can see better in an uncluttered workspace. The creative process is not linear for me, even while working on the work for the Blue Spiral show I have played around with a couple of small studies. I feel it is important to take the time to explore an idea when it comes to me so that I do not forget it. I also have pin boards that have images and bits and pieces of materials etc tacked to them for on going inspiration.
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?
HKPS-Observation on behalf of HAH:: no specific answer from Heather on this but per the photo’s I think we notice LOTS of inspiration and fun items:) What I don’t notice is a computer…
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?
HAH::I am influenced by my practical rural upbringing where each fall we would put on heavy storm doors against the winter cold, where houses, etc were built sturdy for the long winters of upstate NH. I take pride in a well crafted/ well made piece of art. I could use some help with the business part of my job as an artist. This fall I plan to get a new website etc and be more focused on the technology side of being an artist. I am just old enough so that technology is not natural for me.
HKPS::Is making art your primary “job” or source of income? How much time do you spend in your studio weekly/daily?
HAH:: Art making is my primary source of income. I teach workshops to create a more steady income and balance the rollercoasterness of relying on selling one’s art to make a living. As an artist I wear many hats, artist/creator, gardener nurturer and collector of materials, teacher, business person who does the applying and replying etc. I do not have a consistant schedule and so there is an ebb and flow to all of the roles depending on what is calling me creatively or what is necessary. I spend most of my time in this prusuit as my life is my work so to speak. Being currently single allows the lines of work and play to blur a bit more than when I am in a relationship. I love what I do so I love to be working/creating!
Thank you so much Heather, for for sharing her organizing tips, more about her process, storage and where she works! Please check back next Thursday for another Inside the Artist Studio interview. Heather will be showing her work at Blue Spiral Gallery in Asheville as a part of a show (Opening TODAY!!), Natural Order so if you are in Asheville check it out in person, otherwise you can see more of her work on her website.