Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Studio Set Up, Part I

I posted previously about tackling my utter disaster of a studio. Last year was a year of craziness, running around back and forth to Arizona to visit my father as much as I could. I also exhibited at a lot more festivals than usual, so I was home even less of the time. And actually, after the major jaw surgeries in 2011, I hadn't given the studio a good overhaul / organizing in nearly two years..it showed. Everything, everywhere, was just a pile of clutter. I wasn't really being as productive as I wanted, because I either:  a) couldn't find things when I wanted them, or b) couldn't get to things when I wanted them.

You know how sometimes you get smacked with the realization that YOU are your own worst enemy? As I looked around the studio, I saw myself. And it wasn't at all pretty. Or manageable. So I took some time to sort through what was working for me and what wasn't. And I made some small changes that I think will make me SO more efficient going forward. The small details are just as important as the big changes.  :)

What wasn't working:

The soldering table was the biggest mess (actually, maybe *not* the biggest, scary as that thought is). But it certainly was impeding my ability to create. It's hard to see in the photo, because of all the white flux and crap all over the table top, but there are scattered bits of sanding disks, wire, sheet, and assorted other miscellaneous detritus all over the table. I must have had eight or so little sorting dishes (I use these) that held assorted "metal to use", left over from other projects. But they never got sorted. And I didn't know which type / shape / gauge of metal was in them - they were all mixed together in each bowl - so I never wanted to go looking for what I needed. I just ended up using new metal - horribly inefficient and not exactly cost-effective.

It seems that I somehow get flux all over everything when I'm working. I just do. I'm a crazy flux-spatterer! Like Pollock, only it's all white on black background. I can live with that (it washes off pretty easily), but having all the bits of metal around was not efficient or productive. So I sorted ALL OF THEM. Tedious? Definitely. Necessary? Absolutely.

Jump rings, fancy jump rings, flattened dots, beaded wire, square wire, tubing, etc. And they all got new homes:

Each tin holds one item - say, square wire. It doesn't matter what gauge wire, but I now know where the square wire IS when I need snippets for design elements. I labeled all the tins with painter's tape and a sharpie, and they all live in the box you can (sort of) see behind them, the one with the butterfly on it. MUCH improved. Also, notice how clean the top of the work table is without all that flux splattered on it??   :)

This is an "after" shot, because the lazy susan on the right of the wooden chest of drawers used to be here:

Pretty much where the white basket is. The lazy susan holds all my mandrels for making jump rings, as well as a bunch of pliers. Which was fine when I did a lot of wire shaping and wrapping that didn't require torch work. But I found that as I spent more time at the soldering table, I needed the mandrels to be within arm's reach. It took me over a year to move them. Sometimes you just can't see the forest for all the trees in your way...

My ring mandrels (seen on the back left of the chest of drawers) were on top of the chest already, but I had my less-often-used disc cutter on the right. Now the disc cutter is in one of the drawers until it's needed. A small, but really effective change. I also moved more tools (pliers) over to the soldering table so they'd be within easy reach as well and it's really made a difference.

I've show this photo before but it bears another look. Because I spent the better part of a year just shuffling all this stuff around so that I could do what was necessary. The mess you see in the above photo made it nearly impossible to get to any one of the work tables, at any given time. I am TERRIBLE with paper filing. It ends up in "piles to file" on the floor and then I end up working in a 2' x 2' area because I can't maneuver around the studio. So I went to this:

Which makes my life so much easier. I  put the current month's paperwork on one of these four shelves, and then at the end of the month it gets filed further into the brown expandable monthly folder. I do throw monthly receipts into the basket that you saw on the floor (I know myself!) but now they'll get filed in the expandable folder too. And the basket is now sits on a shelf, not on the floor.

Don't look too closely at the paperwork *beneath* the filing area...it will go away as soon as it's all checked and verified for taxes (that's last year's paperwork).  :)

Now I'll have to take photos a few months into this year and see how well I'm still doing!  ;)

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