Tag Archives: storage

Congratulations, it’s a Studio

Well, it took only 8 months, but the studio I’ve been dreaming of has finally been delivered. My niece, Amelia, who is 8 years old, loves it and thinks it is just the right size for her. That it has its own porch lights and doorbell just made her even more tickled. Right away she began making plans to come over and “play art” and then stay overnight in her house, aka my studio.

As I’m typing to you I am peeling wood glue off of my fingers – it doesn’t seem to matter whether I am making books or building cabinets, I have to wear the glue. Instead of bonefolders and my Kutrimmer I am using drills and screwdrivers to build the cabinets and drawer units for my studio.

My brother asked me, “Aren’t the kitchen cabinets enough? Do you need more?” Do we artists ever have enough storage? What’s funny is that Bryce, who is also a very creative person, is a packrat and rarely gets rid of anything. If anyone understands the need for storage…

This is just one of the many stacks of boxes. It turns out that I had art supplies in and tools in pretty much every room of the old house. When we were moving our stuff everyone kept commenting on how most of it was ending up out at the studio. When you put it all in one space it is a bit overwhelming. The duck – he is a wire frame model I made in 3D class several years ago. I’m not sure if he gets to stay because he’s fun or because I injured my elbow pulling and twisting all that wire. Probably both.

This is the studio bathroom. Hmm. More stuff. That’s a bag of banana tree leaves for paper making over there in the bathtub.

This is the back view behind the studio. Eventually it will be a patio surrounded by plants that can be made into paper.  Right now the only plant is one sad weed.

This is one of my favorite views, taken on the way from the house to the studio.  I’m looking forward to ending the moving and organizing phase and beginning the welcoming and working phase. Towards the end of the summer I plan to have an open studio.

Well, I’ve stalled long enough. On to the next cabinet.



Paper Storage: An Alternative to Flat Files

One of the many challenges of being an artist is storing supplies and, for book artists, that means paper. Do we roll it up? Lay it flat? And where in our studio do we store paper without exposure to dust, bugs and other troublesome elements?

Ideally I think we’d all love to have a nice set, or three, of flat files. Big, flat, thin drawers to cradle all of that beautiful paper that we just can’t resist. If you’ve ever been to the annual paper sale at Flax in San Francisco, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It’s such a deal, why not buy more? Because you have to store it somewhere.

I agonized over whether I could afford flat files (I tried Craigslist and Freecycle in addition to art and office supply stores, I even tried school suppliers hoping that they might have a bit more of a bargain for classroom storage) and, even if I could afford them, would they fit in my studio, a 10 x 10 bedroom? The only option was to remove my work table and use the top of the flat files as workspace.  I didn’t really like this idea and thought long and hard about what I truly needed.

I realized that because of the size limitations of my computer printer it was unlikely that I would ever make artists’ books that would need full sheets of paper. This changed the size of the paper that I needed to store from 22 x 30 to half sheets of 22 x 15. I knew I wanted drawers, not containers with lids, so that I could stack them and not have to move anything to get to the paper. I do enough of that shuffling around already in my studio. I scoured the local stores and the internet for a product that would work.

Enter the Wide Underbed Drawers from the Container Store. These stackable drawers are 23 x 27 x 6.5 high and easily hold half sheets of pretty much any paper I’ve bought. It turns out that 6 of them fit neatly between my upper and lower linen closets. Aha. Instant flat paper storage for a pittance compared to the price of flat files. $150 for six drawers (38 ” of stacked height) instead of the $500-$1500 I would have paid for flat files. Even better, by ordering online and picking up at my local Container store, shipping is free and they brought the items to my car. Now that is customer service.

I’ve had my stacking drawers for more than a year now. I’m very happy with the size, the ease of stacking and the amount of paper I can fit in the drawers. They are easy to open and close and do not jam. Because of their height, I am able to store boxes in the drawers to divide the paper. For example, if I’ve cut Rives to 8.5 x 11 grain short and Rives to 8.5 x 11 grain long I want to be able to store them separately but I don’t want to use up a whole drawer for just one stack. I use the Stockholm Office Boxes, also from the Container Store, to hold smaller sheets inside the larger drawers. (Just to be clear, I have no affiliation with The Container Store, I just love these products enough to recommend them.)

I have no idea yet where this flat paper storage will go in my new studio, but because of their stackability there is a lot of flexibility, certainly more than if I’d purchased flat files.

A friend of mine, Kitta, stores hers in rolls in a wine rack turned on it’s back, another friend under her bed. How do you store large pieces of paper for your art?