I am a mixed media mandala artist. For the past two years, I have been working out of my kitchen, and am now moving into my very first studio space. It's an exciting time, but also a daunting task. Do you have any suggestions that might make for a smooth(er) transition? Is there a studio checklist perhaps for things I will need but haven't thought of yet? Storage ideas? Easy ways to hang framed pieces that won't mean putting a lot of unnecessary holes in the walls? This will primarily be a workspace for me, but I do expect to be doing some retail sales, also.
A Magic Mom & Her Mandalas
Moving into an official studio space sounds like a big step, the important thing is to make sure it inspires new work. It is good to hear that you are thinking about how to display your work for an Open Studio event early on in this process.
FIND INEXPENSIVE STORAGE My first thought is storage. Every media needs storage for materials, supplies, and finished work. Closed storage (cabinets) will look a lot neater than open storage(shelves) and keep the items in the cabinets clean. Look online on Craig’s list for “FREE” old kitchen cupboards or furniture or go to recycling centers or businesses to find the least expensive storage cabinets possible. IF you cover the eclectic mix of furniture with a uniform color of paint it will look pretty neat and tidy.
STORING PAINTS AND CHEMICALS If you have any chemicals, solvents, flammable liquids or paints put them in a cupboard that is appropriately labeled on the outside of the cupboard with the appropriate signs (i.e. flammable, acids, chemical, etc.) These signs are available at the hardware store. Acids should be stored separately from cyanide-based liquids. Read the cautionary labels on the products for appropriate storage.
HANGING WORK For hanging work, older homes used to have a piece of molding attached to the wall 6" – 12” down from the ceiling. It was a great idea for hanging pictures without damaging the walls. This would be a perfect solution. “Picture rail molding is still commercially available and is sometimes specified for new homes as well. Picture rail hooks are S-shaped steel hooks that fit tightly against the profile of the wood picture rail. Pictures are hung from picture rail molding by running Picture Wire down from the picture rail hooks (usually two per picture)” You can read more about picture rail molding here. Picture rail molding with suitable hooks may be available at your local hardware store if you prefer.
CONSIDER MAKING LABELS FOR YOUR WORK As you hang your finished paintings, consider making labels just like those at the galleries and museums. One label for each painting. Labels should include: NAME of the Artist, DATE (year) of the work, MATERIALS (keep this short), and the RETAIL PRICE. This can be formatted on your computer, printed on the printer, and attached to foam core with rubber cement. Cut the foam core into rectangular shapes with a VERY sharp matte knife. Attach to the wall with the gummy adhesive used for hanging posters without nails. Consider including a short paragraph or artist's statement about the work prepared in exactly the same manner. This should be done perfectly, just like in museums and galleries to look professional.
PROTECT YOUR TOOLS Consider keeping the more valuable or expensive tools and paints in a cupboard so that they can be easily put away any time your studio is open to the public.
Another practical consideration is that when your studio was at home, you were probably sharing the hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, etc, that you used for home repairs with your tools demands in the studios. Now you will need to have your own tools for the studio. As you transition to your new studio space, keep a running list of tools you use in the studio and borrowed from home. Buy a separate set of tools for the studio as your budget allows.
When you are ready to host your first Open Studio, don't forget to download the document Open Studio: Artist Checklist in the Professional Guidelines.
GOOD LUCK with your new studio,
This post was updated on December 17, 2021