The best place to shop in 2009 was my studio. Seriously. I’m fortunate to have a veritable warehouse of arts and craft supplies. As a creative I am always on the lookout for new, inspiring products. A trip to the art store can be sooo exciting! I’m like a magpie hoarding sparkly things. The problem is that I usually get busy on a new project and those sparkly things get buried back at the studio. Since I forget what I have, I end up buying more inspiring sparkly things on my next outing. Not this year.
This year I decided to minimize the inspirational buying and look at my supplies first. Do I really need that new thing? Do I have it in another color that’s just as suitable? Can I use something I already have in a new, innovative way? If I did have to get something, I took inventory at the studio first and went with a list. Just like going to store with a grocery list and a full stomach, it saves overspending and over buying.
These past couple of years I’ve really been looking at what it means to be a green artist. I realize that making the decision to be green means different things to different people. It just started to bug me how comfortable I’ve become living in a disposable culture. Deciding to shop at my “studio store” got me thinking about turning other things into new tools and art materials. There are also a few nice benefits when you use what you already have in stock or re-purpose: it saves cashola, helps the environment, creates space and simplifies things. Sometimes having a lot makes life quite complicated! Here are a few ways I got creative, using what I had in my “studio store.”
This is one of my encaustic palettes. I used old, stainless steel measuring cups, a broken saucepan and clean tuna cans for different colors. An empty Trader Joe’s cookie tub is perfect for collecting scraped wax. I also save all my wax scrapings (in the cookie tub) to be used in other paintings…it’s one of the many reasons why I like encaustic so much – very little waste.
This is a flower fairy my daughter and I made for holiday gifts this year. It’s made from other leftover projects…beads, pipe cleaners, fake flowers, thread. What made it extra special was shopping in the studio and finding everything we needed. It was fun to work together and we didn’t have to mess with the stores.
What are some ways that you could give something old a new reason for being? How could you “shop” at home or in your studio? Once you get started thinking this way, it’s quite fun and gets the creative juices bubbling with possibilities.