All makers need supplies to create, and some choose to keep their supplies unseen in boxes, drawers and closets. But many creatives are as likely to use these supplies as ingredients for their studio space as for their art.
Eileen Williams, a mixed-media and fabric artist from Maryland, uses fabric as her paint palette when creating her unique 3D mixed-media artworks. And a lot of it. In Eileen’s words, “I have been told more than once: ‘You’re a fabric hoarder.’ Guess what, I own it. I’ve turned a bedroom in my home into an art studio, where my fabrics are stored floor to ceiling. The ability to scan the room for the next piece of material to use is part of my creative process.”
Website: www.ELWilliamsArt.com | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Duncan is a mixed-media collage artist living in the Pacific Northwest. Amy describes her space as “a visual feast for my eyes … combining small works of art along with the rescued remnants that I collect. Memories of past times mix with pieces of ephemera that spark ideas of creative combinations. These sparks lead to compositions of my photographic elements, found objects and well-loved remainders, held together with glue, wire and a bit of paint to tease out a story told within my mixed-media collages.”
Website: www.StudioFourCorners.com | Email: email@example.com
Mags Woodcock, a mixed-media artist from Yorkshire, U.K., inspired by vintage finds, describes her studio as “chaotically organized.” She shares: “In amongst the mass of supplies, mediums, brushes, pens and paints are my many vintage objects. Most are weary, worn and unloved by others, but to me, they are inspiration and treasure.” The vintage egg collector’s box pictured here houses her rusty metal objects, all of which at any time could make their way into her work.
Flat surfaces are a must for most makers to be able to actually create their work. Nevertheless, if you go into many (if not most) studios, much of the flat surface in the space will be dedicated to inspirational vignettes. This fact highlights the importance of the surroundings for a creative individual.
Maria Müller-Leinweber, an artist and owner of a private art school in Germany, has a large window and windowsill above her work surface overlooking the oak trees surrounding her home. Here, she keeps “the most current or particularly loved things … always right in front of me.” She notes that “all my other treasures surround me in overflowing shelves, drawers and boxes.” These papers, materials, plants, seedpods, pottery and found objects are playfully arranged and added to her art as she creates.
Instagram: Original.Mamuelei | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vanna Tursini, who is a mixed-media artist from Caracas, Venezuela, now living and working in Madrid, says her space is “nourished daily by the objects that I am collecting, discovering or simply finding on my way; they not only decorate, they also inspire me and support the content of my work. It is like a Cabinet of Curiosities from the 16th century, or, as they were also called, Rooms of Wonders. The space is filled with magic, giving life to each piece I make.” You can find her treasures and relics pinned to boards, hung from string, and laying on surfaces and the table pictured here. In Vanna’s words, “They dialogue with my pieces, creating my story.”
Instagram: VannaTursini | Email: email@example.com
Suzy Quaife, a mixed-media artist living on the far southeast of Australia, has filled her space with “all of my collected vintage findings, vintage books, baskets and boxes of vintage textiles, laces, quilts, drawers of ephemera, paints, papers, etc.” Even her old wooden bookcase is inspiring, as it is “a box from the 1920s that originally stored tins of sheep dip rescued from an old shearing shed.” It is filled with some of Suzy’s handmade books, with her “earthy textile grungy ephemera collage freestyle,” along with old editions of books that also inspire.
Instagram: QuaifeSuzy | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
One thing most makers crave is more space. But being creative means thinking outside the box, and when surfaces are filled, beauty and inspiration begin to climb the walls.
Nicole White is a self-proclaimed wild, Wild West mixed-media artist in New Mexico. For Nicole, the process of creating an inspiration board “sets down a sense of roots that was not there just months ago, as pieces were stuffed away in boxes and cabinets, out of view. It started with just one picture, which inspired another, and just like that … just like an idea forms on the sketchbook and then into a painting, the wall presented itself.” Creating this board has now changed how Nicole feels about her space. “This room, this creative space, this amazing wall of decades of my own work and works that inspire me, lives and breathes on its own.”
Website: www.RavenArtCenter.com | Email: email@example.com
Janet Toto describes herself as a mixed-media artist embracing and celebrating the layers of life through her work. Like many of us, she has been challenged by finding the right place to display all her own work. Her solution: an ever-growing inspiration wall.
“I’ve seen beautiful inspiration boards and mood boards, but I never realized the immense joy of curating one of my own.” Janet adds, “When I am working at my desk, the inspiration wall is behind me, but I can always pivot on my chair and get some great reinforcement because I know all those faces, figures and forms have my back!”
Website: www.JanetTotoArts.com | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerry Molina, an artist, writer and instructor from Gainesville, Virginia, not only created an inspiration board but worked with a contractor to create the wall on which it hangs. Wood planks were cut from pallets, sanded, stained and ultimately each decorated with different material. “I used the fabric from one of my favorite dresses my daughter wore as a toddler, a dress that I wore as a teenager, bits of old recipes in the handwriting of my grandmother and great aunt, and even pages from one of my father’s childhood workbooks.” In the center of it all is her bulletin board filled with memories and inspiration. Her space is called Yellow Brick Road Studio because creativity, just like the yellow brick road itself, symbolizes a path to personal discovery.
Instagram: Kerry_Molina_Art | Email: email@example.com
Creatives are often thought of as people who think outside the box. That also applies to their studio spaces. While the four walls of a studio contain the actual evidence of an artistic practice, why limit it to that? For many artists, the view outside the studio space can be as inspiring as the view within.
Betsy Skagen, a mixed-media artist and craft product designer, moved her studio and home in 2020 from an urban neighborhood to rural northern Minnesota. Now inspiration is waiting for her right outside her window. “The studio looks out onto rolling, pine-covered hills and a shimmering blue lake — at least when it is not covered by a couple feet of ice.” She has named her space Blue Waters Studio and named the tamarack tree the Joseph’s Tree of Many Colors, as the deciduous conifer displays brilliant hues throughout the seasons. An ever-changing inspiration always in view.
Website: www.BetsySkagen.com | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From floor to ceiling and every inch in between, the maker space becomes art itself. In this way, creative inspiration is always only a glance away.