Two Rules for Studios   


Setting up personal space is like software coding: decisions about arrangements and accessories amount to a string of commands based on priorities. Here are my top two office needs.

What's most important needs to be easy to reach. I need rulers and pens within leaning distance, sketch paper within one step, paints and pencils within two steps, access to snacks and tea without having to climb stairs. Clock and calendar must be within line-of-sight, without a neck crick or a mouse click. These proximities are in the category of Need because ideas are fleeting things, and can get lost in a walk to the next room for paper, or in the time it takes to find a pencil.

A Certain Degree of Tidiness, but Not Too Much

I choose to set out an enormous amount of eye-candy, an amount Marie Kondo might possibly call clutter. Pshaw. I don't need all those books, boxes, and bibelots to function, but my nice junk makes me happy, and leads my mind down helpful roads.
On the other hand, every
project generates clutter. Having two dogs generates dog hair, drawing generates eraser dust and snacks generate crumbs. At a certain point the various clutters and dirts cross a threshold and add up to more than I can handle. Clean-up becomes necessary, even if a deadline is looming like a freight train and I'm like the famous Pauline, tied to the track. I must get up and sweep. Random clutter, miscellaneous bits and detritus, and dirt - pull my eyes and mind down unproductive roads, and my heart feels jangled. I know I won't do good work till I clean up.

Not Strictly a Need...

I have worked at a kitchen table, in a basement office, in a poorly-renovated chicken hatchery, in a room so small I had to go outside to change my mind, as well as in a spacious and well-equipped business office. The latter was probably where I did my least inspired work, the next-to-last, my most inspired. There's a self-indulgent part of me that wants to insist that having my office set up to my liking is necessary to creating Art with a capital A, but my personal history says it ain't so. It's just a happiness generator.

I need some convenience, and some order. I don't need a place that I love, I'm just thankful to have one.

Harper printsoffice from
          southLenski books

Above are alternate views, taken at a rare moment when the office was VERY tidy. Those are Charley Harper posters on the wall, that's my dad's drafting table flanked by those hair-generating dogs, a house portrait, school desk and antique Underwood, standing guard by my supply closet. 

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