Last week I shared Interview and Studio Sneak Peek Part I for Marshall, NC Fiber artist and Weaver Selinde Lanier. I met up with Selinde at Flow Marshall, before we went to visit Selinde’s studio is at an incredible facility called Marshall High Studio about 30 min’s outside of Asheville.
Selinde’s Interview and Studio Sneak Peek Part II.
HKPS:: Do you consider yourself to be an organized person? How or where (another artist or gallery?) did you learn your organizing habits and systems?
SL:: I do think of myself as organized, but only to a certain degree. I get things into piles or certain neat sections, but then it stops there and I don’t really problem solve much beyond that. I would call it a marriage between neatness and organization, enough of both so that I know where things are when I need them and don’t go crazy tripping over stuff in my way but not organized to a finer level beneath serving that purpose. I am a German/Dutch hybrid who grew up in a well-kept but not airless house so I think it comes naturally. There are pictures of me as a child in a dirndl vacuuming and even now, I have a bit of a reputation for wielding a broom. I do like a clean floor.
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?
SL:: I do purge, though not more than once every few years. I am trying with a capital T to not collect more than I need, though orphaned looms still seem to find their way to me, as do stashes of yarn. I am still using yarn that I bought 15 years ago so I am loathe to purge yarn or fabric but I do go through and get rid of newspaper/magazine clutter on a regular basis. I have to vacuum after every weaving project and especially during long phases on the dobby as it produces large lint rolls. I also have a fairly public space, and people visit the studio weekly, as well as attend monthly meetings there. So I feel some compulsion to keep a presentable space for that reason as well.
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? (ex. I can’t focus unless things are put away, creative chaos inspires me, things get messy as I work but I clean up at the end of projects)
SL:: I would fall into the let-it-get-messy-til-I’m done category. I don’t like to take the time to clean while I’m in the zone – what’s the point? It is an art studio! I have also had moments where I’ve been going through boxes of things, looking for something, and found something totally different that took me into a whole new realm of inquiry and so to a certain degree, I think having things laid out all over the place can be productive for creative fermentation. But of course, after a while, I find I simply have to push things out of the way to move forward with a certain project. And that’s where the cleaning up so I don’t trip over my piles comes into play.
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?
SL:: I have tried to be consistent in maintaining a print and digital portfolio, but the digital version gets harder and harder to keep up as computers die and methods of storage evolve. I would actually welcome some instruction on digital backup. (HKPS-I’ll be considering in what way I may be able to provide assistance with this) Maintaining a print portfolio however is a fun and immediately gratifying way to quickly show the range of my work. I also maintained a blog from the time I first moved into this studio until last spring – about 5 years – and last year had it published. This was an amazing thing for me to hold in my hands. The sheer heft of the resulting book made me appreciate how much of my work consists of my writing about it! Regarding the work itself, I have kept track of where all the big pieces have gone though could do a better job of documenting that. I recently started consciously keeping or gifting bits of my work to family members so that I could guarantee having examples of it left to my loved ones. This has felt a bit selfish and even macabre, but as a female artist, and especially one whose medium is fiber, that ghetto child of the art and craft world, I think it is even more important that I document and preserve my own ouvre. You never know how important it may be to someone one day.
Thank you so much Selinde! It was a true pleasure to visit with you and see your inspiring studio space and work! Please check out her blog here and if you are in the Asheville area Selinde’s work can be found at Flow Marshall, the cooperative gallery in town that she helped found in 2010.
* 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!