Friday, August 28, 2015

Inside the Studio :: Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.

Congratulations to Terri on winning a $20 gift certificate
to Heather's swoondimples  Etsy shop.
Email Miss Heather to claim your prize!

Today we visit with Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.

 “Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” 

I might not be the ideal candidate for Hoarders but my studio seems to be teetering right on the brink! I am about to get real in here. I wish my studio looked like this....

NOT my studio....but this one would be ideal! Light, bright and filled with tons of storage
~ Photo from paper crafter Richard Garay

But in reality my studio looks a lot more like this.... (raise your hand if you are with me!)

My workspace in early 2015....see that little bit of space to work? Right above the tray of watercolor crayons and in front of the blue pencil? About 6 square inches! And all those useless things on the wall...Oy! All the magnetic tins were EMPTY!
They have been moved and all my storage seems to be going vertical! (See below for a transformation)
When we moved to this house in late 2009, I started with a blank slate of a room. I knew it was the house for us when I was standing there stumped as to what we would do with this, and my husband said that he thought it would make a great studio. Right! It seemed quite a bit larger than what I had known, and I figured that I would have plenty of space. Yet I quickly filled it to the hilt.

Around that time, my office was downsizing and I got some really nice office furniture for the price of free. I also found my prized printers' cabinet on eBay for a steal. And I purchased a series of awesome little rolling drawer carts. But yet I still have a problem with tripping over all that I have amassed. I am ashamed to admit that there are no less than 7 drawers that are mostly completely empty in those rolling drawers! So I clearly have a problem with putting things in their place.

My prized Hamilton printers cabinet.
Can you believe that at one time I thought that this would house all the beads I might ever need?!
This holds a lot of beads by color (that I really should use or purge!) as well as the majority of my art bead collection... I have drawers for certain types of beads, like lampwork, and even parts of drawers that are devoted to just a handful of artists that I love.
My sister has the OCD bug. Her house is immaculate and looks like Pottery Barn threw up in it. I did not inherit this gene for neakfreakery. But this spring, completely fed up with myself, I really wanted to refocus on coming to terms with and making this space not only functional, but beautiful, and a place that I couldn't wait to create in and even invite people into! The past two years have been fraught with a lot of personal drama, so I truly need this space in my life to be free to experiment and create and find my voice. A retreat. A sanctuary. This clutter and the uncertainty of my daily life has left me with no urge to create, and even less to be in this space. And that is just not right.

The Plan
So I created a little floor plan diagram as a visual reminder and made lists upon lists of what needs to be done. I re-read Heather's great post from earlier this summer on The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Your Bead Room and found this great article on Craftsy about ways to make your jewelry design space work. I searched a lot of magazines and websites that show studios of creatives to get ideas. I started taking stock of the things that I had, including those things that could be repurposed from another part of the house. But I was still confounded by issues...
Repurposed TV cabinet...before...
crammed full of stuff
...and after...installed a shelf
from The Container store and organized the boxes... now I need labels...
One issue comes in the form of Time. I am not a full-time artist. At best I am able to work in here a few nights a week and a few hours on the weekend.  In addition to the organizing that needs to happen, it is also a working studio, in that I have orders that have to be filled and Simple Truths Sampler Club members that are counting on me (if you are one of them, I am working on it!). There is just no space, not even 12 square inches, to do that! Add to that the usual busy-ness of my summer life complete with baseball or softball every single night and weekend (not an exaggeration) from June-the first week in August. We only recently finished up those seasons and are already back in school as of this week. Tonight, as I write this, might be the rare occasion where I am actually sitting still.

I bought this wall shelf from Hobby Lobby. There is a nice top for storage of displays, metal baskets to hold fibers by type and color, and a rod that I hang carded beads by color from shower curtain hooks in easy reach.
Another issue is that I am easily distracted. (Ooh, look! Shiny!) Tiptoeing through my studio (and you must walk gingerly for fear of cave-ins!) it is easy to unearth layers of treasures, like a sort of beady archeological tour.

"Here we have the pile of 'muffin tin' projects put together in 2010 wedged between a destash haul from 2014 and the original half-used containers of resin from the Susan Lenart Kazmer class at Bead & Button in 2008!"

The view from the hallway...that clutter is on its way up and out!
To do the sort of overhaul that I have in mind, might indeed need an intervention! And once I actually paid a professional organizer to come in and help me. Even she was a bit overwhelmed and suggested that we start with my ribbon addiction. (Bah!) I have a friend that is very OCD and loves to organize and she actually offered to come and help me but we have not been able to set a date. Again, I fear she will run screaming from the house and told her as much. Those that have maid service  might understand my predicament (I never have, but I have heard...). I want to tidy the studio up a bit before I have my friend come over and really whip me into shape! :-P

Under the corner L-shaped desk are several of these cherry rolling drawer cabinets Home Decorators. Each one rolls out for additional work space, and the plastic jewelry trays with the flocked compartment inserts fit perfectly inside (2 to a drawer) for handy storage of often used items like jump rings, head pins, clasps and ear wires. Over the door towel bars put my favorite tools within reach. And I still have space for one more... which I might be buying soon! I love them!
Metals station has WHEELS!

Still, I am trying. At the beginning of the summer I made a pledge that I would have my studio cleaned out and put back together by the end of August. Well, guess what my calendar says this weekend is?! I started out good by pulling things out into the hallway and making piles for keep, use, donate and trash. Of course, in all the rearranging, it means shifting storage to other areas which leads to arranging other rooms, notably the adjacent furnace room which has lead to even bigger piles for purging and a clear need to tackle those rooms as well. So clearly, my clutter is not confined to this one room! And then my life starts to feel like one big roundabout story....

If you give a girl a hammer... she might need to buy 7 more. And then she will need to find a really nifty rotating lazy susan for storing them... And if you give her a rotating tool caddy she will want wheels on her table...


{Have I mentioned that my husband is a saint for putting up with all of this?}

Before... the black hole bookshelves...

...after... repurposed a cubby bookshelf from another room. It takes up the same amount of space and feels lighter somehow...

I did check a few things off my list...
  • I moved the filing cabinet over next to the computer (which meant that I had to get inventive to make the table just a little bit higher to accommodate it by making my own polymer clay bun feet to raise the table 2"!)... 
  • I had my husband put rolling casters on the large butcher block table that I use in the center of my room for metal work (hammering, jigging, stamping, dapping, torching - on a proper fireproof base!)... 
  • I swapped out the two tall dark shelves that had become a black hole catchall with one cubby shelf that now houses 1/2 of my book collection (for more on where the rest of those are going, read on), the printer and boxes hiding my shipping materials. 
So I can attest, there has been progress!

All of these shelves and storage containers used to be spread out,
but I found a way to go vertical to keep all the clay stuff together and
repurposed the old printer cart to hold art supplies.
This is the same space as my first messy desk shot, but now much more functional.
Today, Friday, as it is my only day off, will hopefully be spent really getting down to the dirty work of making my studio functioning (remember that self-imposed deadline?). I have grand ideas that the floor will be free from bags and boxes and bins... which means that things will need to FIND THEIR PLACE (and then I will need to give my label-maker a workout!)... I want to file all the paperwork that has piled up in a makeshift basket... I must get all the things that are to be trashed or donated out of my sight line... I need to hang some art. For then I might be able to BREATHE and feel ENERGIZED to tackle making new things and taking my art in a NEW DIRECTION.
Rotating bin storage from Harbor Freight for inks, embossing powders, resins and assorted. Going vertical saves space! And I have another one that is not yet put together as soon as I can figure out what will be on it.
So if you are reading this, I have hopefully unplugged from technology, cranked the tunes, focused on the task at hand and will have something to show for it... as of Tuesday. ;-)

One of my favorite storage hacks is to hit up the kitchen accessory aisle. This ornate paper towel holder from Hobby Lobby hangs on my wall and uses fancy copper colored shower hooks to house a lot of my footage chain pieces by type of metal/color. Easy to see and grab when I need it, plus it is pretty. I actually need another one of these for spools of chain, and I am working on getting rid of the cellphone cord clutter by using metal sponge holders for your sink on my wall with a brand new outlets that have USB ports. I love me some funky organizers!
 “There are, it seems, two muses:
the Muse of Inspiration,
who gives us inarticulate visions and desires,
and the Muse of Realization,
who returns again and again to say, "It is yet more difficult than you thought."
This is the muse of form.
It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction,
to baffle us and deflect our intended course. 
 It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work; and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
-Wendell Berry

My mind has indeed been baffled by this task, but I want my studio to allow me to sing! So maybe that is the real work that I have to do...for when I do that I will be ready to embark on my true journey, the one that my soul will be ready and open to undertake.
I have shown you just the tip of the iceberg, but also along the way a few of my favorite storage and organization techniques. And I am always looking for more help and ideas. So.....What are your favorite storage ideas and tips? or What would your ideal studio space look like? Give me your answer in the comments for a chance to win! Feel free to add links to your favorite products for organizing or even your favorite studio space images.

See that stack of books? (Click on it to make it larger!) That came from The Great Purge (but don't worry, there are like 50 more that stayed on my shelf!)

My prize for you is up to 3 of these titles - your choice! - that I will ship to you in continental United States (if you are from outside of the US and happen to win, I will make a deal with you to split the shipping cost 50/50, okay?). There is something for everyone here! Most retailed for anywhere from $15-25 a copy and I am ready for them to find new homes. (And those that are not chosen should be up for sale dirt cheap in the near future!)


Kristina said...

I LOVE your chain storage. I have just drawers full, but I may need to find something like that. I would love to devote a room to my jewelry/craft things. My ideal space would have a island for working and everything would have a place, yet you would be able to see where things were. I love vertical storage best, though not too tall that I would need a chair to get things. I enjoy the idea of using little salt/sugar shakers for glitter and buttons.

~Silky said...

Your room looks much like mine except currently mine is creepjng down the stairs. You have inspired me to declutter. Your books are awesome. .I have a few of them but the following are ones I have seen in treating past online but can't find locally. I really need yo start digging more. Beyond the bead, bohemian jewelry and pearls. Have a great creative week!!

Shawn Price

Dawn of LaTouchables said...

Hello Miss Erin. I think we inherited the same genes--perhaps our mother's are long lost sisters...

I would LOVE to have more light, more storage, and a printer's cabinet!

I would also like a maid :-)

LOVED reading this post.

bairozan said...

There are a lot of organizing hacks in your studio everyone could use. Putting one's supplies in order helps find inspiration for sure, even though the task is cumbersome. I always find myself left with items that don't fit anywhere but don't belong with each other either. Good luck with it! And some of the titles really interest me at the present time :)

Unknown said...

Oh my! I was on the same page as you about my work space! My husband walked by and saw me reading your post and said,"WHAT is that!?" Then when I showed him the dream work space and then the real he said< "That's you" Purging is one of the most inspiring thing for me to do because the mess seems to pile up in my head as well as my desk.
As of now I use tool boxes for each type of metal. Book shelves are a must for me and I arrange beads by color but I think consistancy is key I like to use the same plastic bin so they stack neatly. Not much more glamouous than that.

Divya N said...

Recently I bought a 6' cupboard to house my stuff. It looked empty in the beginning but its overflowing now. I use a spice rack/glass holder to hold all my paints and plastic trays for my enamels, glitter powders, etc. I long for a day when I'll have access to a dedicated studio space, rather than the things being all around my house.

Lola said...

Your studio is wonderful Erin! As I, too, lack the OCD gene, I actually find the work shrapnel “reality” photo most inspiring. Yes, I’d love that white, perfectly staged studio in the first photo, but I know it would not look like that for long … or ever again. I would prefer a small, manageable space (the smaller the space the smaller the mess, right?) that would force me to keep things tidy. Also, there MUST be a window. I’m currently eyeing up a corner of my college boys’ bedroom that will be empty starting next weekend … so many possibilities … =D

Anonymous said...

Love, love these peeks into studio of my favorite blog postings. What a lucky lady to have found that gorgeous printer's cabinet! That would be the one storage piece I'd love to have in my studio.
I do like using the rolling carts of drawers...each draw holds a different array of silver, one copper, one brass, etc...

Firefly Design Studio said...

I would like Pottery Barn to throw up in my house! Lol that's great. You have a wonderful and inspiring space to create your beautiful art with, Erin! Thanks for giving us a peek into your studio.

Mary @ said...

Baby steps from one bead hoarder to another. Maybe, I should have said jewelry craft hoarder, lol. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has outgrown a seemingly huge space.

Colleen said...

I saw your chain storage idea somewhere a while ago, so I've already stolen that. Granted, I haven't gotten anything to hang on the wall yet, but I have been putting my chain on shower hooks.

Since I have no place in my house to work I'm trying to squeeze a work space into my bedroom. As part of that, I'm totally revamping my organization. I have a mix of tool storage containers, creative option containers (the colorful ones that have containers inside), and single bead containers. Because I love art beads and I want to make them more visible so that I actually use them, I've gathered them all up in a few storage bins and now I'm sorting them by artist into some of the various clear bead containers I have. I then plan to stack them on a newly acquired metal cabinet with glass doors that I got for free.

I wanted to get a wooden worktable from Harbor Freight. However, finances being what they are, I am going to use my current L-shaped desk. Part of it will be for my computer and the rest for working. At some point, I will be able to get a smaller desk for my computer and a workbench for making jewelry and beads. That would allow me to have those two things separate, which would be nice.

Old Lady said...

I love how you have your tools handy, hanging off the file drawers. Gonna steal it!

Sandy said...

I wish there was a bead fairy that would come to my craft room and wave a magic wand that would organize all my beads! But until then, I guess I will have to tackle it myself . . . someday. ;o)

Shai Williams said...

Mine is looking semi-organized since I picked up a few more drawer units from JoAnnes. I keep it up for the most part simply because I can't work in too much clutter. My mind will start going too many different ways so I have learned to put things away once I have finished a project. Those drawers I picked up had a some bins on the top where I toss things that I think that that I want to use next and would forget about otherwise.

I would love to have a showroom of a studio but I don't think that it will ever happen. I actually have a full basement that I can expand into but that would mean cleaning that mess up and well I hate to say it but I just don't have the ambition to do so.

Linda said...

I keep reorganizing my studio, but it never sticks for very long and that's my own fault. I love you chain storage and I may swipe that idea. I use IKEA spice racks, mounted on the wall, to store my glazes and small paint bottles. That hack has helped me go more vertical.

Terri said...

I like the use of kitchen items for storage! Mostly I like that printers cabinet! Congrats on getting such a steal/deal on it! One of my favorite storage items I have is a clear acrylic paper holder I purchased years ago for paper. But now I use it for storing clear bead storage holders that holds 24 little jars. It fits two to each shelf. With 6 shelves I organize all my crimping and small beads by color (silver, gold, copper, gunmetal, etc.) in it. It fits beautifully in my computer desk and slides in and out..probably where the printer should go..but I put that somewhere else. So for me..beads up stairs in my office. Downstairs in my art room are all my other art supplies and another work space. I'm quite the pack rat. Clean work space...?...what's that?

Kristen said...

I have lots of those white wire shelves that my husband put up for me and I store my stuff in plastic bins on the shelves. As long as I put stuff away, it stays neat. But, I seem to leave it out somehow and it takes up all of my work space, etc. I think that having stuff out will inspire me but not so! So, you are not alone. : )

Terri said...

Thrilled beyond words to have won....Thank You ABS and Heather so Much for the chance!

Heather Wynn Millican said...

Foxy Epoxy! :) Thank you for the post- you made me giggle on this rainy morning.

Unknown said...

I've gotten a couple of good ideas from your studio, so thanks! I do have trouble keeping things as organized as I would like. But the best thing I did was separate, separate, separate. It allows me to find things even if the rest of the studio is a mess. I get lots of small boxes from work, and once I get a lot of something, I separate it into different boxes. Like at first I had a box of ribbon. Then when it was overflowing, I separated into batik ribbon, sari silk, etc. I also separate by color or artist for beads. i can tell which bead artists I really love because they've graduated to their own box!

Numinosity said...

I love seeing other peoples studios. The only part I can keep semi neat in mine is my lampworking station otherwise it's a mad mess and the more space I have the bigger the mess!
You don't need to throw my name in for the giveaway, Save it for someone else.

Jenn said...

Heather's post on the Life Changing Magic of Tidying inspired me to buy the book and I really, really love the suggestions she has in there. I've always struggled with staying tidy. I'm like you not your-OCD-sister-who-has-a-house-Pottery-Barn-threw-up-in. I love Marie Kondo's steps to purging. The big things for deciding what to keep - keep only what brings you joy, really made a huge difference for me. I've been Kon-Mari-ing my house and made my way through my personal stuff. I just started on the studio stuff. The other big help for me has been putting all the like things together. That is one little nugget of advice that has made a world of difference in my life and maintenance of tidiness. I had been following the recommendations to keep things by how we use them and the flow of the house. Now that I made the shift, now I KNOW where things are because I keep them together by those groupings and I put them back by those groupings. My studio is torn apart into boxes and I'm in the purging state right now. Maybe we'll end up finishing at the same time! Hang in there! It will be worth it!

baymoondesign said...

My craft/jewelry room looks somewhat like yours. I wish it were a calm and organized space. You have a lot of great ideas in place in your room. I think using shower curtain hangers to hold beads is brilliant. It is inexpensive, space saving, and a great way to organize by color.

I would love to have a magic wand to transform my room!

Deb said...

So many great ideas here! I love the rolling cart with the towel rack for tools...I must get one of those. Your space may be crowded but it still looks really good. Thanks Erin for yet another inspirational post.

Sarajo Wentling said...

I would LOVE to have a dedicated studio space so I'm jealous of your room no matter how messy it may be! (I also lust after your printer's cabinet but I know I'll never find a good one.) My favorite storage solution that I did get incorporated into our basement closet (my workspace is in the middle of the basement and I have a large set of cabinets that are supposed to store most of my stuff) are two good sized dowel rods that I can slide my spools of chain onto right at chest level for me so it's really easy to see and take spools on and off. It's a large closet with shelves along two of the walls so I can walk into it and see what I need... then close the door and no one else sees them!