Studio Snapshot – Susan Kaplan

Artist name: Susan Kaplan
Location: Alaska

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Website: Kaplan Creations Jewelry

Blog: Kaplan Creations

My Space: Denali Beads

Do you have a dedicated studio/artistic space? Yes, I have a terrific space!

Where is it located? In a separate structure located behind my house.

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Is it a large or small space? It is about as large as a standard bedroom, about 12′ by 14′

What medium(s) do you work in? Do you have a separate area for each? I work in glass (lampworking and fusing), PMC, polymer clay, and metals. I have a large area for all of the glasswork. The PMC, polymer, and metal work all share an area. Most of the time I’m working on glass pieces, so I’ve let those supplies spread out all over the place. I also have a separate area in the house where I work on designing jewelry and fabricating the finished pieces. In this area I have a worktable and lots of storage for beads and other items.

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What one word would you use to describe your studio? Inspiring

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What do you think is the best feature of your studio? large windows overlooking a wooded area

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What would you change if you could? I would put in tanked oxygen instead of using an oxygen concentrator so I could work on boro glass.

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Can you share an organizational tip? I frequently go to thrift shops and garage sales, and buy anything that might work as an organizer for my tools or supplies. For example, I found an old CD holder that I use to hold relatively small sheets of glass (organized by color); an old multi-drawer storage unit holds bits of dichroic glass (organized by color); desk drawer or eating utensil organizers hold polymer clay canes, and a variety of old glasses hold glass rods (organized by colors and length).

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Describe the usual state of your work table? A cluttered mess consisting of bits of glass, pieces of clay, metal scraps, and other odds and ends.

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Does your work table face out into the room or toward the wall? I have 3 work areas. The main area faces the windows and the view is gorgeous (especially in the winter).

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What’s one drawback of your studio/artistic space? There is no running water. I get around this by keeping large water jugs of water inside. However, this is inconvenient, especially in the winter when the snow going out to the studio reaches about 12″ in depth.

Do you have any studio mascots (pets, mannequin whatever)? I have part of my turtle collection (glass, ceramic, stone, anything but real turtles) on the window ledge.

Do you have an idea wall or inspiration board? I have a place on the fireplace mantle where I keep some inspirational items. Most of these are things made by other artists, usually small glass sculptures and small blown glass vessels.

Do you listen to music in your studio? What kind? I have many CDs out in my studio, but almost always listen to Boston, Meatloaf, or Queen.

Do you display your own work in your studio? Other artists’ work? I display some of my own work, and some beads that I have purchased from other artists.

What’s one quirk or unusual feature of your studio? I have had moose come to visit (see picture of mom and baby moose).

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What’s the best thing about working in my studio? Usually everyone leaves me alone!

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Studio Snapshot – Lora Hart

Artist name: Lora Hart

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Location: California

Website: LoraHart.com
Blog: Lora Hart Jewels
Flickr: Lora Hart’s photostream
Etsy: Lora Hart Jewels Etsy Shop

Do you have a dedicated studio/artistic space? Well sure!

Where is it located? In a tiny corner of my tiny 500 square foot apartment.

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Is it a large or small space? Umm, tiny.

What medium(s) do you work in? Do you have a separate area for each? I pretty much just make jewelry. Mostly metal clay, but I’m getting more into metalsmithing. I dabble with knitting, but I have to look up how to cast on every single time. Not any kind of an expert with that. It took me a year to finish a single purse. I only work in the Studiolo. The rest of the space is just for living.

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What one word would you use to describe your studio? Compact.

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What do you think is the best feature of your studio? The fact that it’s in my “house”. Very early mornings are my best time for creative work (like 6 am), so I can toddle out of bed and get going without even changing out of my PJ’s.

What would you change if you could? The size. I dream about a 900 – 1200 square foot space. I like to keep my dreams manageable.

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Can you share an organizational tip? Containers are your friend. And labels. I love those little plastic drawers I get at the discount store. Each drawer holds a single item. Jump rings, soldering supplies, gem stones, metal clay supplies etc. And each drawer is labeled for times when the senior moment strikes.

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Describe the usual state of your work table? It’s pretty much 50/50. Half the time it’s a disaster and half the time it’s relatively clean. Because my Studiolo (as I like to call it) is in my living space, I like to try to straighten it up at the end of the day. Sometimes straightening just means I make a nice looking pile instead of actually putting things away.

Does your work table face out into the room or toward the wall? Out into the room. The window faces a parking lot and facing a wall would make me claustrophobic. And looking into my living room means that I can also glance up at the tv in case Judge Judy is saying something profound. :¬ )

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What’s one drawback of your studio/artistic space? Broken record playing again. The size.

Do you have any studio mascots (pets, mannequin whatever)? Not really. I own a scaredy cat who pretty much lives in the closet, so he doesn’t bother my desk/bench at all. The hair he continually sheds keeps me company though.

Do you have an idea wall or inspiration board? I have a bulletin board that does double duty. I have Post-It® Notes all around the edges with all my passwords and account numbers for all the computer stuff I need to remember. Hosting site, my mobile phone number (who ever calls themselves), my Adobe Contribute serial number which I use to update my website. That sort of thing. In the middle of the board are postcards of work by other jewelry makers; pictures of my parents when they were young; an ATC I made in an Artist’s Way workshop that says “Let Your Thoughts Fly Free”; a couch I really want to own and an original “get well” piece of art from a friend in Asheville. I’m also really into Anahata lately, so I printed out some images of her beautiful work which I love looking at. I try to imagine what kind of jewelry her ladies might wear. And there’s an Ikea shelf underneath the bulletin board that’s just three inches wide . It’s supposed to house works in progress so they don’t get broken, but it’s been gathering interesting and yes, inspirational flotsam and jetsam lately.

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Do you listen to music in your studio? What kind? If I’m playing music, I’m not making jewelry. I start singing and get distracted so silence is golden when I’m working. Or the tv which I’m pretty good at tuning out. Sometimes I just forget to turn the morning news off and it becomes white noise. One weekend I “woke up” from an intense session to find that a football game had been on for more than an hour.

Do you display your own work in your studio? Other artists’ work? I display jewelry in my bathroom of all places. There’s not an awful lot of space for displays in the Studiolo. Oh, but now that I look at the little shelf, there’s a mini display bust with a necklace of mine on it. Don’t remember why or when it got there.

What’s one quirk or unusual feature of your studio? Mmmm… Not too quirky. Except that it does double duty as my regular correspondence and computer station too. And bill paying center and anything else I need a desk for. Everything has to do double duty in such a small space.

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Creative skills – use them or lose them

The force field or block which tends to keep me out of the studio has spread to the blog.  I am not writing as often, and I feel like the quality of my writing has declined.  Also, I don’t find myself thinking about writing as much as I had been.  Writing is not what I would consider to be my primary mode of creative expression, but this slow down in my writing has brought home the “use it or lose it” quality of creativity more than anything.

I have been thinking about the need to practice creative skills lately.  Before I made the pair of rings out of sterling sheet metal, I tried to make a “quick” PMC ring.  Ha!  That was a comeuppance.  I haven’t done very much work in metal clay and most of it was several years ago.  Somehow I had the ridiculous idea that I could jump back in with ease.  Like any technical skill, working with metal clay is tricky and I desperately need a refresher course (or two!).

At least writing isn’t quite as fragile a skill, but I had better resolve to practice more.

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Studio Snapshot – Melanie Dilday

Artist name: Melanie Dilday

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Location:  Australia
Website: Polymer Clay with Melanie Dilday
Blog if you have one: Clay Happenings
Etsy: M.A.D. Designs

Do you have a dedicated studio/artistic space? Yes

Where is it located? Next to bathroom (useful wet area), store room (for clay, tools, ‘work in progress’ and examples of work) and outside undercover area (for messy jobs)

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Is it a large or small space?
Medium, sized 5m x 3m

What medium(s) do you work in? Clay! Polymer, silver and airdry.

Do you have a separate area for each? I don’t have separate areas for each clay, but I have a separate store room where I have room to place large tiles of ‘work in progress’ of various projects which I easily move into my studio to work on as I feel to. I also have a booth-like buffing/tumbling area with it’s own overhead light.

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What one word would you use to describe your studio?
Light

What do you think is the best feature of your studio?
The view! And lots of light.

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What would you change if you could?
A better airconditioner.

Can you share an organizational tip? I have 1/2 dozen of those plastic drawers on wheels…shallow drawers, about ten drawers to a unit. I can move them around and have them closer when I need them, depending on what I’m working on.

Describe the usual state of your work table?
Messy. I’m lucky that I have fairly regular teaching gigs so that I actually get to clean my table once a week in readiness for the next class otherwise my table would be in constant disarray.

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Does your work table face out into the room or toward the wall? Into the room

What’s one drawback of your studio/artistic space? Can be hot because of the skylight and large window.

Do you have any studio mascots? My ‘dummy’ which I like to dress up with odd clothes and jewellery to match and a picture of the hands of a guru, reminding me of the space between thoughts…

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Do you have an idea wall or inspiration board?
I have a 2008 calender of beautiful polymer clay work and I have a few drawing books/journals scattered about the house.

Do you listen to music in your studio? What kind? Nope, I prefer the silence which in fact, is not silent but teeming with life…the wind in the trees and the birds and crickets and frogs…

Do you display your own work in your studio? Other artists’ work? Yes, wall hangings on the wall, jewellery on a ‘dummy’ and in the store room on a few shelves. I also have a box of ‘swap items’ at the ready for students to rummage through to see examples of other peoples work.

What’s one quirk or unusual feature of your studio? The floor under the carpet square has a door which leads into a dark room which used to be an old water tank. It’s totally useless now but highly unusual.

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