Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Creative Road Trip ~ Part Deux

My parents were both accomplished artists. I always wondered when I'd find my artistic niche. The answer came in 1990 with the simple gift of a handful of vintage beads and the opening of a local bead store. Artisans and customers have often asked about my creative zone, my place to play.

My original studio was on the "L" counter that divided our living room and kitchen. My first creative endeavors were earrings so each project was pretty self contained and there was ample space for a few bead boxes and a place to work. The second year I added necklaces and bracelets to my repertoire and we prepared for our first craft fairs. My husband makes walking sticks and canes, so we've done local fairs as Sticks and Stones for over 20 years.

My munchkin assistant is goddaughter Casey. She is now 26 and a graduate student at University of Chicago. How time flies!

I soon realized I could no longer afford to shop retail. I got my resale license so I could enter the world of wholesale: license to shop and a whole new understanding of the term "business expense". As my body of work expanded space and storage became an issue. Rod wanted the kitchen back and we also wanted to get our office out of the bedroom. 

We decided to demolish the rickety old sun room attached to the back of the house and build a studio/office on the same footprint. The best decision we ever made.

You can never have too much storage space, the key to sanity is being organized. The cabinets and shelves are the main storage areas for my varied crafting interests, the tall workbench is where I prepare packages for shipping, easy on the aging back.

The creativity zone is the old oak desk I got at a garage sale 25 years ago. The magic of this spot is that I can walk away from a project and not have to put it away. I can also store several works in progress on the nearby shelf which gives me options on any given day.

One corner of the room is set up with a "tabletop" studio. I need digital photos for my online store at Etsy and for applications to juried shows. I taught myself how to do product photography and practice has improved my skills. No matter how good you are, the editing tools in your photo program can often be your saving grace.

The office corner: In addition to our craft businesses I also do consulting work so an office space is a must. The light and airy nature of the room is good for focus and the back door to the yard is a great incentive to get up and away from the computer. It doesn't have to cost a lot to furnish your space. Except for the "L" desk unit every other piece of furniture and shelving in the studio/office came from the flea market, garage sales or second hand stores for pennies on the dollar.

So there you have it. Your creative space can be a kitchen counter, a dining room table, a corner of your bedroom or a studio. The key is that you find a place to let your imagination run free. Most important thing is make sure the welcome mat is always out for your muses.

This is my 4th blog in a series about creativity and marketing, if you'd like to catch up on older blogs check the archive for:

12/22/09 The Creative Road Trip
08/21/10 Marketing Close to Home - A primer for the Craft Fair Season

11/19/10 Marketing Close to Home Part Deux