Welcome to the Studios Forum

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Cate Prato wrote
on 29 Apr 2009 5:58 AM

Hi Everyone! This is the place to comment on Cloth Paper Scissors Studios, ask questions about what you see there, make suggestions, offer advice to others arranging, re-arranging, or setting up a new studio, and anything else you'd like to discuss.

Also, don't miss my blog In the Studio with Cate where I'll feature additional storage and organization tips, quilt studio images, and studio-themed giveaways. In fact, there's one going on right now!

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Caroberk wrote
on 5 May 2009 8:56 PM

I always find something great in the Studios. One of my tricks is to cover shoeboxes with brown craft paper. I label the end but it cuts down on the visual clutter when scanning the shelves. 


All is well and all will be well

and all is most certainly well

Julian of Norwich

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Cate Prato wrote
on 6 May 2009 6:19 AM

That's a great idea that not only gives you a sleek, uncluttered look, but also is a money-saver.

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Whidbey2 wrote
on 8 May 2009 4:07 PM

I can't work in a sleek, uncluttered studio.  I didn't build my studio to have another room to keep neat as a pin.  I built it to have a place that I can shut the door on and have a mess unapologetically.  Impecable studios are rare.  I once heard a speaker tell how it took her 400 hours to fold her fabric properly and catagory it by color.  And I thought who is going to care  a few years from now about her perfectly folded fabric.  There are going to be plenty of people wrapped in the love a quilt can bring from quilters with messy studios who actually get work done in that same 400 hours.  I have to have my new fabric out to fondle while I am working and dream of the next project.  There are always at least 5 projects spread out in my studio at anyone time.  I love your magazine and have all the copies.   But what a disservice is being done if a new quilter thinks that she can only work after she has cleaned her studio.  Show some normal cluttered studios too.  That will set so many quilters free.  Go to guilds and ask how many have neat clean studios.  It's a very low percentage.  Sorry if this sounds harsh.  I have long wanted to start a cluttered studio society to spread the word of freedom.

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eileenkny wrote
on 12 May 2009 5:53 AM

I absolutely love the Studios magazines! I've gotten so much inspiration from each one.

My sewing room is actually part of my family room. I convinced DH to get rid of the dining room table and put my sewing table and everything else in there. Yesterday we went to IKEA and bought a $20 bookcase so I can have all my quilting books in one place. Right now, they're all over the house and I can't ever find what I'm looking for. When I told him I wanted to organize, he said I had to have a plan. Lo and behold, a plan came to me in the shower and we're going with it! That's where the bookcase comes in. It's all part of my master plan, hehe.

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Cate Prato wrote
on 27 May 2009 7:51 AM


Actually, we do show some normal, cluttered studios! Juliana Coles' and Rayna Gillman's studios in the Fall 2008 issue are two good examples. In the Spring 2009 issue, Jennifer Maestra has stuff out all over the place and Lesley Riley shows how her fabric is stuffed in open wire baskets all higgelty-pigglety. In the new Summer 2009 issue, you can easily tell that Diana Taylor, Helen Godden, and Barbara McKie definitely have "working" studios.

In fact, we actually encourage many of our writer/artists not to tidy things up too much before having the pictures shot. But, you know what it's like: people want to make their studio look its best if they are going to show it off. Of course those studios don't really look like they do in the magazine all the time--neither do the homes you see in shelter magazines or the bodies you see in fashion magazines. However,  the truth is, if a studio were photographed as a complete, in-the-throes-of-working mess, readers would not be able to focus much on the art or design, so a little tidying is necessary for the camera. Plus, when we ask readers what they want more of, the #1 response is: Organization and storage tips. And some people do like to work in a sleek and uncluttered environment--and spend hours folding their fabric. In Studios, we hope to encourage artists to find and celebrate their own studio style. So, that's why we have a mix of "regular" studios and "dream" studios in every issue--to give everyone some ideas and eye candy to enjoy.

We are now accepting submissions for our Fall and Winter 2009 issues of Studios, so I would encourage everyone whose studio has an unusual take on design or function to email three or four lo-res images and a brief description to: submissions@clothpaperscissors.com with STUDIOS in the subject line. Cluttered versions welcome!

Cate Prato, Studios Editor

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reginabdunn wrote
on 27 May 2009 12:00 PM

For years, I couldn't come up with a way to store fibers that helps me find them when I need them or helps me to choose the best one for a project. The way I store them now has been working very well. I take old Christmas cards and cut the cover off. Then I take a fiber and start wrapping it around and around either the cover or the other side of Christmas card with the greeting from family and friends. I tuck the loose ends of the fiber in and it stays on the card. I wind each fiber on a different card. (You can use 3x5 or 4x6 cards, but it's more fun to use greeting cards that bring back memories). I store the cards arranged by color and set in a large shoe box like files in a file cabinet. The box I use is from a pair of hiking boots and the box says "Never Stop Exploring".

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Jody Johnson wrote
on 27 May 2009 12:33 PM

It always amazes me how differently people work. I must say I love having a clean and uncluttered looking (key word hear is looking) studio and home. Clutter drives me CRAZY and I find it squashes my creativity and I find it difficult to think and relax. At the same time though if my supplies are not visible I tend to forget about them.

My solution to this dillema has been to take all like objects and group them together, keeping them visible but unified at the same time. For instance I have all my glues, adhesives, etc. sitting on a shelf where I can see them but in an old desk-top oak letter tray that used to be my grandfathers. Fabric scraps are stuffed losely into clear plastic containers by colour and stacked all together on the same shelf. Papers and magazines that are not ready to be filed away are stacked in a square bucket in one corner of the room until I am ready to file them. I find I often pull out a number of magazines and books in my stockpile that have techniques/colour combinations, etc. in them that I want to use or try in my next project. Because this is the only place I give myself to stack stuff I know where to find it and don't waste time sifting through pile after pile to find what I am looking for. I have a tallboy dresser that can accommodate the current projects I am working on. I tend to work on 4 to 5 projects at once and when I want to switch to a different project I place all the supplies associated with each one in a separate drawer and switch them in and out as I work on the project. My design wall is large enough that I can have several project up at the same time and don't need to pack away a design that is in progress, just the associated supplies.



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Whidbey2 wrote
on 27 May 2009 1:13 PM

I forget about wonderful treasures when they are hidden.  I have cleaned up my studio for a charity studio tour and it drove me carzy I couldn't find a thing for months.  I did inheret two truck loads of my best friends mother's stash.  That totally messed up the last of organization in my studio.  I have 12 feet by 6 feet of design wall and most of it is filled with pins holding important papers or thoughts that I want to keep at the top of my mind.  My mind works so very much faster than my hands do.  Throw in family obligations and I get very little accomplished in record time.  If I had to stop and clean I might as well just give up.

So we all make choices I guess and what works for one would never work for someone else. 

Happy creativity



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KLSpaints wrote
on 3 Jun 2009 11:01 AM

Hi there! I'm a newbie here. I am a sewer turned painter turned quilter turned art quilter! Now I finally feel at piece! (ha!) Anyhow, just wondering, does anybody else out there do their art in a sun room? I LOVE the light, but lack of wall space is challenging when it comes to furnishings, especially for storage. Any suggestions?


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Whidbey2 wrote
on 3 Jun 2009 11:16 AM

Welcome Kathy,

I work in a sun room a lot.  I work mostly but hand but I have a sewing machine in there with an old tredle cabinet that has front doors.  So when it is closed up it just looks like  a normal piece of furnature.  I only store small things in there.  Everything else is stored in my studio that also has many windows.  I also live in the Pacfic Northwest so our sun room is only really usable for about half the year or less.  I wouldn't store fabric in there if the sun is going to shine on it much. 

My sun room is the only room with enough floor space to pin and baste large quilts. We are about to replace our windows and I have suggested that we make the windows a bit higher off the ground so that I can put benches under them for storage and seating.  My grandchildren have their toys in there. 

I look forward to seeing what you do. Your progression sounds much like mine.



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mary j3 wrote
on 3 Jun 2009 10:43 PM

Absolutely fabulous! I love the idea to organize strings and yarns "fibers" ... am going to do  this summer. I have my fabric organized by color, but the yarn pieces, ribbons, lace, stringy things are all tangled in a drawer. I adore the Christmas card use - old friends and artsy goings on - what a lovely mix of good feelings. thanks. Mary j, Fresno

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jane davila wrote
on 21 Jun 2009 11:40 AM


My studio is a sunroom, three walls of windows and four skylights, and really minimal wall space. It was featured in the very first Studios issue if you to see how I cope with the storage issue. I do have two bookshelves that are filled with fabric and I used tension rods at the top of each and sewed panels of a pretty Kaffe Fassett stripe to cover the fabric so it doesn't fade. The panels are easy to move out of the way when I need to get to the fabric and look neat and tidy when I don't.

I built a window seat below (about 17" high) one long set of windows that holds my thread in boxes, bins with handmade paper and my digital projector. The ends of the window seat are small flat files that I bought from *** Blick. I added a looooong cushion to the top for visitors or for my little dog to hang out on and watch out the windows for squirrels and chipmunks.

I also built a big island on wheels for the center of the room. It has storage on every side and holds a LOT of stuff. My husband keeps joking about having to brace the floor underneath my studio, because that thing must weigh a ton. I appropriated one of the two linen closets in another part of my house and use that to store batting, paint and unfinished projects. My big ironing board lives in there too. I mostly use a small tabletop board, but every now and then need the big folding one.

I adore my studio but really, really wish that it had a closet. I'm one of those people who can't create with too much visual clutter. Too much stuff out makes me itchy and I can't think. I know lots of people who are much happier with all of their stuff around them when they're working and I have a theory about the difference. I think that people who can and like to work with happy clutter have much more organized brains and are more focused. And people who need clean, visually quiet spaces have very noisy, distractable brains. I know that my mom and I are really opposites in this, her studio is always piles of things, projects, supplies, fabric and mine is (or tries really hard to be) empty flat surfaces and everything put away. She's very focused and enjoys the stimulation of the piles of stuff and I'm easily distracted and can't focus if there's too much to look at. What do you guys think?

Jane Davila

editor, Quilting Arts In Stitches emagazine

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Whidbey2 wrote
on 21 Jun 2009 6:27 PM

I have to laugh.  My mom and I are just the opposite.  She is Mrs. Clean and I have a high trash tollerance as she says.  But actually my hands are always so far behind my mind and my studio time is limited.  With several projects going at once and piles of fabric waiting to be started on future projects there is no  use trying to spend my time neatening up.  I am also the only person allowed in my studio so I am not worried about it.  Like you said it is stimulating for me to see the next project's fabric while working.  Oh well, what ever works and lets your creativity fly free.


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QE2 wrote
on 24 Jun 2009 2:16 PM

My first studio was a very small room and I organized it, decorated it and filled up every space with inspiration.  It took trying/improving three more times  to realize that I don't do well with ALL that inspiration. Each move brought me to a bigger room and better layout.  I'm in the masterbedroom now. 8^)  I have a layout that is working.  But I covered my bookcases.  I'm gonna cover under the cutting counter.  I have some bare walls showing . I have edit.ed out a lot of 'pretty'.  And I just finished cleaning out some of my auction sale enamel bowls.  I'm probably gonna paint the wicker baskets white  and add a covered cork board to show case an inspiring collection as Melissa Averinos suggests in Studios Spring/Summer.   The messy part is at the computer corner and that hasn't a solution just yet.  I'm slowly finding the balance to inspiring, pretty, unclutterd and accessible.

Noisey, distractable brain probably describes me pretty well. But sometimes the music HAS to be loud! 




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