Mayhem in the Studio

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Mixed Media is the “hot new trend” in art- the new form on the horizon…..But what I want to know is- has anyone prepared their studios for such an influx of materials?

It’s tough having a Mixed Media Studio. It seems you are forever searching for one more niche to smash something into, and occasionally, the entire Studio has to be revamped!

For me, now is one of those times.

I came home from Adorn Me, having taken Mary Hettmansperger’s “Books, Doors, Lockets, Hinges” class, where we cut and fired copper sheet metal in an wild patina adventure, then learned different types of hinges and attachments. This class was Awesome! Wonderful! But now I need a new corner just for playing with copper!

On top of that, my boxes arrived home from the event, holding all types of waxes and supplies that are supposed to fit right back in place, and my suitcases unleashed a virtual parade of supplies, that one can only wonder in astonishment how it all fit in there in the first place!

First thing I did, to revamp, is make a list of order of importance. When was the last time I used each of my supplies? What am I currently obsessed with? Where can I store my extra piles?!!! Why am I still hanging onto that?!!!

Then…. Make a list of work stations and a list of storage spaces. I listed mine- they were:

Work Stations:

1)   Encaustic

2)   Assemblage

3)   Photography

4)   Sculpting

5)   Casting

6)   Metalwork

7)   Sewing

8)   Office


Storage Areas:

1)   Encaustic Supplies

2)   Vignette Supplies

3)   Bead Supplies

4)   Paints and Surface Treatments

5)   Casting Supplies

6)   Hardware

7)   Tools

8)   Fabric

9)   Art Book Library

10) Office Supplies

 Now make a map of the room and try to make it visually fit, adding and subtracting tables and shelves as you see fit.

Then, clear out one little area so you can begin a Rubik’s Cube Shuffle toward organization.

I decided to kick out my office, since I had working mostly at my laptop at the kitchen table, so that kicked out one whole congested area, including a table! But I still had to find a shelf to host my papers and files. Ok, deal.

My huge central work table would host all types of work stations that would have to break down after projects. They would need to go onto shelves as well, during interims.

Shelves proved to be the key, so I am thinking I will have to kick out the interiors of a two beautiful pieces: my armoire and my antique glass book cabinet. They went against the rule of when was the last time I used this? Also, I think I’ll relegate my vintage wooden cabinet that is currently jammed with linens, to perhaps all my collage papers, downgrading the linen scraps to a giant lidded tub in the basement. These linens are being saved for future projects, that I just haven’t been able to get to yet. I don’t know though with a giant lidded plastic tub, I might lose breathability and end up with a problem in my material. Maybe there is a breathable tub that can be stored in a basement. I know- it’s called a box! Ha! But that can’t be the best solution either.

Well, I’ll just start sorting and see what happens. Maybe it’s a Spring Cleaning? Come to think of it, my floor does need a good mopping and I’ve been meaning to freshen up the floor paint! I will bravely post a before photo once I have an after photo- since it would be too discouraging to see just one side of the story!

Will you be joining me? I’ll meet you back here in a few days! See you then!



About Linda Lenart McNulty

I am an artist with a spirit to share, inspire and heal others through my work, which is currently exploring the Awakening of the Santos Cage figurative form in sculpture and intaglio painting. My quest is to channel art through Spirit, while bringing others into connection with their creative selves, using the joy of life, the gift of color and the discovery of form as vehicles to expression. Find me at:
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9 Responses to Mayhem in the Studio

  1. kassandra333 says:

    Good luck. I use the “stash it anywhere” approach and last week found three good supports that I had totally forgotten about. Keep us posted!

  2. Lara says:

    Every time i finally rearrange stuff, it seems to somehow trigger my discovering a new set of materials that I MUST have! After taking your class in Tucson, I finally ordered some encaustic medium (thanks for recommending Clairvoyant Encaustics). Now I need to figure out where to store my encaustic supplies!
    I Also have a question…I can’t seem to find my oil paints, and I want to get started working on some encaustic projects. I’ve already blown my budget for the month. Is there any other coloring agent that I could use that I might have on hand already? I know that the pigments sold for encaustics are best, but I can’t afford them right now. I remember that you said oil paint could be used as a (lesser) substitute. Was there anything else that I could use?

  3. Hey Lara! Here’s what I would do: 1) badger a few friends to loan me any old oil paint they may have (because oil paint lasts forever and you’d be surprised at how many people have a few old tubes tucked away- and if the cap is stuck on, just chop the top of the tube off! with their permission of course) 2) if that fails, there are still two options: first, you could work collage under the surface of your work. Just pick colorful collage, toss it onto your griddle so that it soaks up the wax, then lay it on the warm surface (fused lightly) of your piece. Shim (with a small piece of cardboard) any extra wax so that it lies flat. Fuse lightly. Second: you could just think surface: after you have your piece finished in shape and size (since you have no color) just rub ink onto the surface. Alternately, you could rub oil and then ink on the surface, for a smearier, lighter look. Also you could paint beautiful ink strokes with a brush. Fuse lightly. Actually, there’s a third thing you can do: photo-transfer. If I remember correctly, you took my Daguerreotype Pendant class. So you learned how to do photo-transfer technique. Use colorful toner inks so they will add color and adhere properly. Hope some of these ideas work for you! xoxo

  4. Now my brain is on fire with possibilities: you can embed twigs, grasses, ribbons, etc. as well. Or flower petals (color), beads, so many possibilities! Mica… just keep everything you do compatible with oil- no acrylics or watercolor- actually you can use colored pencil on colorful tissue paper and use that as you would collage. That is super colorful and pretty! Happy Waxing!

  5. Lara says:

    Thanks for the ideas! Is there any chance that alcohol inks would be compatible with wax?

    I should probably return to the topic of the blog, reorganize my space, and find my wayward supplies. …but it is so much more fun to make stuff!

  6. Hey Lara- give it a try! That’s how great techniques are born! Necessity is the Mother of Invention and right now you are the pioneer. I always use Higgins inks because I love their transparent and soft effects. With alcohol inks, I’m thinking it will evaporate quickly, leaving its pigment on the surface which you will then fuse in. I think you’ll get clean, direct strokes of color. Maybe lay your lines on with a brush, or use a stencil or stamp. Let me know how it goes!

  7. Lara says:

    I haven’t experimented as much as I’d like. Living in Tucson, I firmly believe in leaving techniques involving heat for our cooler months, so I didn’t do any encaustic work over the summer, but have started to play with them again recently. I LOVE using color image transfers on encaustics! I’m using photos that I took on a wonderful, life-changing trip several years ago. I played with the colors on the computer and then used them as transfers. I just love the look!

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