Today’s studio sneak peek is Part II with the Marlis Egger of the TexArtAcademy in Switzerland! If you missed part I, please go back and check it out here. We met online through the creative world of art quilts and our mutual business coach and mentor (Christine Kane). She and I realized we had quite a bit in common and I asked her to share some of her studio organizing tips and participate in this interview. Her art quilts are beautiful and I have added the TexArtAcademy to my bucket list for art retreats! These photo’s are not styled and are typical of what her working studio looks like on an average day.
The idea for this series, Inside the Studio began in while I was attending an art retreat at Penland. While there I observed the differences in the creative cycle of order and chaos and what that looks like for different individuals. In this series I’m interested in showing 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.
Marlis Egger’s Interview and Studio Sneak Peek Part II.
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized?
ME::I consider myself to be organized. Not only in the studio, but also in any other room. No one ever taught me to de-clutter, it came naturally to me, probably because I’ve always lived in small apartments. I like to live in a minimalistic zen-like space where everything has its place and where there is a lot of space to breathe.
HKPS:: What tips can you offer regarding your use of schedules, systems, tools or processes that help you maintain organization in your studio?
ME::As soon as you finish a task, clean up the mess. Immediately! A few seconds spent tidying your space after every phase of the work is well spent time. Keeping the space clear makes sure you do the next job well. Allowing a mess to accumulate during the session wastes time sorting it out at the and of the day.
Never walk away and leave it to face the next time you come to your space. You won’t be motivated to start working!
It’s really essential to begin work with a tidy space and end it that way.
Keep your studio free of clutter. It’s a time waster because it hides needed materials and tools and you must search for them.
HKPS:: Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
ME::Oh yes, absolutely. But I have learned my lesson and it’s now pretty easy.
Most of us creative people have too much stuff (supplies, tools…) and we always buy new stuff because we think we need it. It’s new, so we have to try it. And then we don’t. Or we even forget that we have it.
Most of us have hoarding tendencies. We are so afraid we might need something “later” that we pile stuff around ourselves “just in case”. (sooo very true-even scientifically proven now!-hkps)
If you purge, ask yourself:
- Have I ever used this (material, tool etc.)?
- If yes, did I like it? Will I use it again? > keep it. If I didn’t like it > clear it out.
- If no, why didn’t I use it? And for how long has it been sitting in my studio? If longer than 6 months > clear it out (I know some of you will not agree with this, that’s okay just be open to the overall advice Marlis shares wisely-hkps:).
But the really essential question is this:
What do you love and what are you good at (techniques, processes, supplies…)?
Know what you like (and what you don’t!) – and why. Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Start by making a list of your skills. Evaluate each one in terms of how good you are at it. Then rate each of the skills based on whether you enjoy using them or not.
You will discover a lot about your preferences, but also about the supplies you need to keep and those you can clear out. For example: if you love to work with paper, but don’t enjoy working with glue, why do you keep 10 different brands and qualities of glue? Keep maybe one and ask yourself if there is an alternative to glue.
Keep only what you love and what you enjoy working with.
Have you ever heard the expression that genius is born in limitation? This means that the best ideas have come about because of some kind of limit that forced someone to think of a solution.
Limitations in our case could be using products or tools you have on hand (no extra shopping trip!).
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?
ME::I don’t think in terms of leaving a legacy behind. Not having children is maybe the main reason.
But I do think in terms of keeping a record for my own reference. I use spreadsheets and always include an image of the artwork. My bigger art quilts are stored hanging in cupboards, the smaller ones in drawers.
Thank you Marlis’ for the wonderful tips and all your insight in this interview! Please see more of her work on her website and learn about the retreats she organizes at the TexArtAcademy. Next week I’ll be bringing you a local Charleston, SC artist studio.