On Reading IN HER STUDIO

IMG_3490My friend Tami and I often exchange creativity-related resources. In a delightful package of goodies she sent to me recently, I discovered In Her Studio, a quarterly periodical by Stampington & Company.

The magazine’s tagline? Its whole premise is “spaces and stories of creative women.” The magazine features fascinating testimonies—and the coolest photography—on how female artists think, organize, work, and live. I look forward to borrowing a few pieces of their stories to shape my own…

Getting organized
Many of the artists seem to have a designated place—both pretty and functional—for their tools, supplies, books, etc. I hope to organize my own studio so it’s less like a storage closet and more like a sanctuary for all things creative. Even better, I hope to do so on a shoestring budget. I love the challenge of repurposing what I already have on a hand and hunting for funky baskets, jars, and bins on a dime.

Setting boundaries
I admit I’ve allowed my studio to become a playground for my daughter and her friends. Though I love seeing them explore their own creativity in that space, I need to set some boundaries in order to maintain its refuge-like qualities. I also need to devise a system for my undisturbed work—I hope some hanging paper art that I made last winter, hung on the studio’s doorknob, will alert passersby that Mom is “busy” in one of the best senses of the word.

Celebrating my studio
Last year, we invested in a Murphy bed so that our guest bedroom could become a creative studio. The room remains small and a bit crowded, but I’m taking to heart the words of artist Amber M. Jensen (page 114 of In Her Studio, Summer 2019): “I think we do some of our greatest work under limitations. If you can only carve out a small space to work in, perhaps that limitation could be an advantage. Be open to letting the space speak to you. Maybe your idea has to change a little, but that could allow for something really exciting and unexpected to be created instead.”

In turn, I have a new goal: To share my own story and to be among the women featured in In Her Studio. Who knows how my ongoing attempts to claim my artistic identity will inspire someone else to do the same!

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Artist Date: “Art Attack” – Nov. 2, 2018

Featured image: Works by Ashley Mary

I discovered the artist studios of the Northrup King Building last spring through “Art-a-Whirl” and fell in love with the environment—with the creative energy pulsing through all four floors of the hundred-year-old warehouse. It was a thrill to return for “Art Attack,” another special weekend when the artists open their studios to the public.

I’d like to shake the hand of anyone who has managed to see everything on display and for sale in that building. I managed to get to two floors and maybe a couple dozen studios of the 200 tenants. It comes as no surprise that I was especially drawn to the color-rich, abstract/impressionist works by the following local artists:

  • Megan Bell – I was first taken in by her choice of colors, which she says are inspired by the “colorful big skies, lakes, woods and prairie lands of my home state of Minnesota.” Her compositions, though completely controlled by her hand, remind me of the effects of pour painting.
  • Anna Dvorak – As an abstract landscape artist, Dvorak uses gorgeous hues of turquoise and green and gray to achieve striking impressions of horizons. I love the experimental spirit of her work, embracing how the paints “interact and intersect.”
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    My favorites by Anna Lowenthal Walsh

    Ashley Mary – Whimsical shapes. Vibrant colors. There’s a happy and playful, yet very complex, feel to her work. I’m not surprised that her aim is to “put the goodness back into the world” through her art. It shows.

  • Anna Lowenthal Walsh – I’m especially in love with Lowenthal Walsh’s bold geometric designs: stacked blocks and a pattern reminiscent of a log-cabin quilt block. I used to knit the latter; now I’m eager to try the design again on paper or canvas.
  • Katrin Schroeder – From a distance, Schroeder’s work may look like very clean and traditional still lifes. However, upon closer study, one notices that she throws some interesting drips into her portrayals of tidy flowers and applies the palette knife quite wildly to her landscapes.

It’s so fun to explore the work of others as I chart a course to my own destination as an artist. My list of “influences” only continues to grow.