I have designed my studio with work stations so that there are tools and materials ready and available for independent work in a wide variety of media. I want work stations to be as convenient as possible, and to be set up so that spills, which might damage artwork or make the floor slippery, are less likely. The way I set up work areas is a model to my students for when they set up their own work areas. I urge my assistants to help the children keep their work areas free of clutter to avoid accidents and allow for room to move.
The following is a description of seeing my studio for the first time.
Where there is curiosity to begin, success can follow.
Things start happening the moment you enter our studio. A little figure looks back at you. An optical illusion plays with you.
Walk under a forest made of dried sticks and grapevines. Turn right at the 3-D landscape. It may take you a moment to notice the six-foot red ant with royal blue legs balancing high above the floor. It gets camouflaged against high shelves crammed full of materials: fabrics and yarns, bulging bags of remnants, spools of string in every color, boxes of recycled zippers, old belts, and bright, unmatched gloves. Everything that meets the eye represents the potential of this place and offers a message to those who enter.
A furry, brown life-size bear says: “See how big I am? This can be done.”
A piece of glittering blue fabric invites: “I could be turned into something special.”
The wheels from an old pull toy ask: “What could you make out of us?”
Tools—from electric drills to sewing machines, saws to scissors—suggest that you can change the shape of things. There are objects for holding your work—vices, clamps, easels, and turntables. And always there is color: jewel-toned inks and day-glo temperas; brilliant colored glues; luminous acrylic paints. Jacketless crayons wait to be melted into colored wax. Tiny bleachers hold rank upon rank of colored markers. Beneath your feet is a visual recording of all the work that has gone before. The floor radiates splashes and outlines that trace the history of this studio like strata in rock.
Our studio abounds with media, tools, and materials. Displays of ongoing work, works in progress, and finished works inspire and challenge. We maintain our studio’s organization, so students can find what they want. Step-ladders, stools, and reaching aids make storage and work areas fully accessible.
Writers rely on language. Musicians need sound. We visual artists depend on what can be seen and touched for our art form. The developing visual artist finds worlds of potential at The School for Young Artists.
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