Updated: Jul 2, 2020
I don’t share as many photos of myself behind the scenes as I would like to. A big part of that is because… I am actually working! So here I am working away, as busy as a bee.
It can be really hard capturing moments of me working because majority of the time I am alone in the studio. Being an artist is not as glamorous as one might think! You’ll often find me covered in paint or ink from printing or fingers all grey and sooty covered in metal shavings at the jewellers table. I have to really prepare myself before a photoshoot and clean my studio so that it’s not a complete mess!
My practice is very labour intensive, carrying etching plates, inking metal plates, sawing and filing metal. I wear practical work boots and old jeans. It really isn’t a pretty picture! Sometimes I feel like a labourer. A few years ago, I had to have a shoulder reconstruction because I was working with such heavy metal plates. It was a bit of a nightmare! But as a result, this break from the studio only emphasised and consolidated my mission to becoming a practicing artist.
So here I am, proud to be a printmaker, textile designer, jeweller, maker.
I have a home studio. I know it may not sound as ‘professional’ as most studios like in a quirky warehouse or design studio. But to be honest I LOVE it. I have some experience in other studios where I rent with a bunch of people. I was in a loft studio in Hobart and a couple of warehouse studios in Melbourne. Let me just say in my opinion they are overrated and expensive! I’ve had my fun exploring these studios and of course it’s exciting at first meeting new people and chatting, walking to work, buying your morning latte and having a separation between home and studio life. But I found from experience that it can be distracting and often you don’t really get the support you need. You spend so much money in rent, coffees, lunches, parking. There can also be allot of insecurity because you compare yourself to other artists and designers as well as different opinions, parties, drinking, tension.
In a nut shell, shared studios are not for me. I’d rather use the money of renting a studio and feed that back into my business elsewhere. Currently I have a lovely three-bedroom house in Brisbane where I work and I have the luxury of having a studio downstairs and a space upstairs. I keep my ‘clean’ artworks and products upstairs and all my messy inking/printing is downstairs. I think that division really helps me mentally to keep organised. I have specific days that I will do emails and work on my website or days where I specifically paint or print.
I think that organisation, lists and ticking boxes are some of my best tricks to keep on top of my business. You need so much discipline to stay focused with a small business. I always wake up at 6.30am and take Ruby for a walk, have a healthy breakfast and coffee and look at my list/diary before I start my day. Routine is paramount and although I must sound like the most boring artist in the world, at the end of the day it works for me!
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