Tell me if this sounds like you:
When you get the urge to create, you first figure out what materials you’re going to need for your project, then you scurry around your house trying to collect them all. Once you have most of them collected (you will inevitably be missing at least one thing), you arrange them all on the table or your desk, sit down – then remember where you last saw the thing you needed, jump up, run to get it, sit back down – draw maybe three lines, or sew fifteen stitches, or paint four strokes, before … you realize you’re missing yet another incredibly integral piece of the creative puzzle. And off you go again.
If you really want to create, and you want to do it often, you need a designated place to do it. And not just your kitchen table. You need a space, somewhere, to keep the materials you need, things you enjoy, and things that inspire you. You need to have that kind of place where art can happen.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to make a creative space of your own.
OK, you knew that one was coming, right? And this is often the biggest stumbling block in the process. Maybe your house is jam-packed. Maybe every inch is already being utilized, and utilized in such a way that it cannot possibly be altered. That’s okay because it’s not true. Unless you’re one of the folks featured on Tiny House Hunters, I guarantee you have enough room for a little desk, or even just a small table, that can be set in an unused or fairly empty corner. If creating is really important to you, you will find the space to do it.
In a pinch, you can at least corral your materials in one place, be it a wicker basket or an organizer that you can easily pull out when you want it. A small, portable creative space is better than none.
Try, if you can, to find a spot that has a good light source. Nobody likes squinting over their sketchpad or canvas, and it’s certainly not conducive to productivity. It’s also really nice if you can find a place away from the main traffic flow of your house, someplace where you might not be interrupted or distracted as often. Sometimes this is impossible. But you can try!
Obviously, if you’re going to make some kind of artwork, whether it’s sculpting or drawing or painting or sewing, there’s obviously a lot of paraphernalia that comes along with it. But no matter how much of it there is, it should all be there in your creative space so that you don’t have to go looking for anything when the creative mood hits. The best way to get rid of a creative mood is to spend half an hour digging through a “miscellany” drawer to find the ONE tool that will enable you to begin your project.
My studio is full of the tools and materials for half a dozen different kinds of creative work. I have paintbrushes, colored pencils, graphite pencils, watercolors, about sixty million needles and spools of thread, my sewing machine, fabric, stuffing, pastels, markers, scrapbook papers, ball after ball of yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, even nail files and nail polish – hey, it’s called nail art! It counts! And no matter what I want to do, I can just sit down and do it. It’s all within reach.
Things That Inspire
This is a fairly abstract category, because everyone’s sources of inspiration are different, but this is the easiest way to look at it – fill your creative space with things that make you feel creative.
Here in my studio, I have a couple of posters hung up with illustrated quotes. One is a Picasso quote that says, “Learn the rules like a pro, break them like an artist.” Another one that I really like is by Jessica Hische, and it says “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” The quotes themselves are inspirational, but what really inspires me about them is the beautiful way they were designed, with unique typography and appealing color palettes. They make me want to do a lettering project. They inspire me to create!
Directly in front of me and a little to my south-west, I have shelves with several books, mostly reference books and how-tos, and a few different magazines that I love to page through. These are helpful inspiration as well – I open any one of them and immediately I get an idea. For example, I just opened one and I found a whole page full of macarons, pink, yellow, and purple. First of all, the subject matter – everyone loves macarons, who wouldn’t love a fabric printed in some sort of macaron design? And the color palette is unusual, too, feminine and fresh. Who knows, that page could inspire something wonderful.
And I know just where I can lay my hands on everything I need to bring my ideas to life.