Today’s I’m sharing the second half of Artist Studio Organizing with Leigh Magar of Madame Magar. Leigh has been well know in Charleston and beyond as an incredible milliner but in more recent years she has turned towards making garments and fiber/collections of art and wearables using naturally dyed fabrics. She has recently launched her new website and will be teaching new workshops this year. I was thrilled to visit her home studio and am happy to share this sneak peek into Leigh’s studio. These photo’s are not styled so this is typical of what his working studio looks like on an average day. This week I launch a slightly new format including some new questions. I hope you like them!
Artist Studio Organizing with Leigh Magar Part II (see Part I Here)
HKPS::How many projects are you usually working on at once?
MM::Since dyeing from nature is a slow, lengthy process; like making stews I usually have the dyes stewing in the dye shed while I sew & I tend to work on one collection at a time. During planting season; indigo & dye garden; I am concentrating solely on the plants & earth.
HKPS::Do you ever find it challenging to locate certain things when you’re ready use them? How do you store tools and materials you use frequently to make your process easier?
MM::In my studio I have a lot of floor to ceiling shelves, filled with peach baskets & enamel tubs for storage labeled with masking tape.
Storage is key:
In the dye shed stainless steel shelving, glass jars full of dye plants collected from the woods & small metal trash cans with lids…
HKPS::Do you notice cycles or phases of projects that are more or less organized in your creative process?
MM:: The beauty of the Madame Magar makeshift studios/shops is that it makes me extremely focused & organized, enabling me to concentrate on one project. I’m Less organized at the end of a project.
It all also depends on the moon…& how much yoga & meditation I’m doing, in fact Madam Magar was created after a heart blossoming experience through meditation (the crucial pulse of it all)!
HKPS:: How or did you learn your organizing habits and systems? Do you consider yourself to be organized or alternately do you tend towards Hoarding (aka collecting) stuff?
MM::I don’t call it hoarding but collecting! Ha! No, I’ve learned the benefits of sacrificing materials, from the past few years of moving both my home and studio, which taught me to refine my materials and work with a smaller palette; which allows freedom.
HKPS::Do you purge, clean or de-clutter your supply stash and space on a regular basis?
MM::I do a spring & autumn cleanse; between collections & seasons; inside & out! A sort of inventory of materials & tools.
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 use sticky notes? How/where?
MM::My advice is to fill the studio with as many shelving as possible; I’ve had mine from the beginning; about 20 yrs.! Also, keeping a daily TO-DO LIST; schedule/journal- Is very helpful! Handwritten;of course! I also keep a gigantic note pad on the wall-list of collection/project inspirations; sort of mood board-that’s why its giant!
HKPS::Do you think your creative success and or your process is helped or constricted by discipline? Do you set any self imposed limitations (to your schedule, material use etc)?
MM::Discipline? limitations? boundaries? Sorry but these words are not in my realm; otherwise I would have never designed Madame Magar!
Oh, yea, I do TRY to keep a more minimal (supply wise) studio; so that it won’t get lost or out of focus…
As a designer and maker I am constantly creating objects, items that fill the studio…these days I try to stay away from flea markets, fabric stores, and thrift stores…& part of the Madame Magar vision is to create things that I love and do less shopping. I actually don’t enjoy leaving my studio, dye shed and dye garden because it’s so rich with Madame Magar materials and inspiration!
It was such a fun treat to visit Leigh’s studio and dye shed. Thank you Leigh for for sharing some insight into your creative process including your organizing tips and advice. Go see Leigh’s work and new workshops on her new Madame Magar website.
*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!