Today I’m thrilled to be to share artist and friend, Lynn Pollard‘s studio sneak peek with you. Lynn is a weaver and indigo dyer who I met about 10 years ago. Back when I lived in NW Georgia, we were both members of the Chattahoochee Hand-weavers Guild in Atlanta and I took a woven shibori workshop in Lynn’s (studio which was fabulous). Over time we became closer friends despite my move to the DC area. She made frequent trips to her home in Old Town Alexandria and we would get together to visit the Baltimore ACC show, the Torpedo factory, museums or just grab a bite and catch up. As friends do, she even made arrangements to deliver a loom to me that was being sold in Atlanta by one of the guild members (that loom is now here in Charleston being used by another weaver). More recently she and I have met up here in Charleston and she re-connected me with another mutual Fiber friend and former guild member, Donna Hardy, here in Charleston. This past August I made a spontaneous visit to Atlanta and managed to catch up with Lynn after her return from a summer craft/show circuit. Both she and her work in textiles and Indigo remain a constant inspiration to me. I am grateful to call Lynn a friend and a mentor.
HKPS::What age did you suspect or know you were an artist?
LP:: I have always had the urge to make. My mother had a needle in my hands when I was about 8 years old. I had gone through many of the needle arts by the time I went to college where I did a great deal of macrame. We made things rather than buying them. She inculcated the feeling that things that were made were better than things that were bought. I’m always a little uncomfortable calling myself an artist but I know deep in my soul that I have hands that can make.
HKPS::What mediums do you work with and are there specific tools or materials you find challenging to keep organized or locate when you need to use them?
LP:: I’m a weaver and a dyer but now spend most of my time dyeing papers in indigo. My biggest concern is keeping papers for dyeing and papers that are finished. Right now they’re just in a pile with generally the oldest on the bottom. Any time I have to go through them, I have to spend a good deal of time straightening them back up.
My dyes, other additives for the vats, scales, and mixing tools are on shelves near the vats. There can be some disarray while I’m working, but I have to clean up everything and get it all back in its place before I can work again. I even have to have my bills paid. If I feel any pressing issues, it shows up in my work.
HKPS:: Where do you make your art, how big is your studio and how long have you been in this space?
LP:: My studio is on the terrace level of my home where I’ve lived for 22 years. The weaving part is finished basement with windows and carpet. The dye studio is in the unfinished part of the basement which is great because I can drip dye everywhere. So the weaving studio is light, airy and large. The dyeing studio which does have wonderful shelves, a washing machine, and a large work sink is too dark and so small that I’m constantly walking around my vats and drying wracks and work tables.
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once? Is this due to space constraints, creative process, organizing systems or other influences?
LP:: I work on maybe 10 pieces at a time which is about what my existing racks can handle without a catastrophe and what I can keep in mind. So it’s a combination of both equipment and still having each piece speak to me.
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?
LP:: When I set up my weaving studio, I did have a fairly carefully considered plan. I had equipment from a previous studio and knew what I’d need in the space. But I have to admit to aesthetics winning out over shelving. For my dye work, I have added and changed as I found equipment or realized that I had a need. And so, I lack good lighting and the space is not particularly well laid out.
HKPS:: Do you consider yourself to be an organized person? How or where have you learn your organizing habits and systems? Have you ever worked with another artist or gallery that you learned any organization from?
LP:: I do not consider myself particularly well organized even though I crave a neat home and work area. I just don’t always know how to achieve it. I was once married to an organized man and I learned a bit from him.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio? Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
LP:: I have no tips on scheduling work. Any suggestions anyone? I do have a need to purge and clean which I usually do when I’ve finished some work and am getting ready to begin something new or when I just can’t stand it any more.
HKPS:: Please describe how creative cycles of organization or dis-organization affect your creative process? Are there certain phases of projects that are more or less organized? .
LP:: I am more of the things go into disarray as I work, travel, and prepare for shows kind of person. But everything must be cleaned and straightened before I can begin work again. I get too distracted if my world does not feel settled.
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?
LP:: I must admit that while I use archival methods to produce my work, I keep very poor records of the individual pieces and my storage is very unsophisticated. The pieces that I would like to hang onto are usually framed and given to family members. Hopefully, they will love them enough to keep and care for them.
My wish is that through seeing how other artist work we can learn from one another. There is no ONE correct system or way of organizing. There are as many creative systems as their creative makers! My aim is to highlight these unique makers in each interview. Thank you so much Lynn for inviting us into your incredible studio! Each interview is unique and gives us insight into how other artist work. I hope you enjoyed learning how organizing affects Lynn’s creative process as much as I did! Please check out Lynn’s website HERE to learn more about where her work can be found. To see more photo’s of Lynn’s studio please check out my Flickr Album: Inside the Artist Studio.
* Inside the Studio was my brainchild in 2011. There are a lot of popular studio features on the web and in magazines but I’m specifically interested in showing how organizational process influences the artists studio work. These photo’s are not styled and are typical of how the artists working studio looks. I request that each artist leave their space as it would be on a daily basis (just like I ask my clients). This series is meant to highlight how artist REALLY work rather than showing STYLED shots (popular in home and organizing magazines and blogs). I’m sure just like me, you are fascinated by the “behind the scenes” sneak peek into these artists working lives!