Art + Photography by Emily Hanigan


by - May 02, 2017

 I didn't realize how much I was NOT creating because of a lack of a designated space.  I'm sure it's a lousy excuse but after working all day, the last thing I wanted to do was pull out my art supplies, figure out what I felt like making, take over the coffee table and kitchen table, and maybe even the bath tub. :) By the time I got everything out, figured out what I wanted to make, I was over it.  Excuse or not, it's the truth.  I was being lazy and letting the no studio space stop me from doing what I love.  Now that I have the space, I've finished 3 paintings in less than 2 months and have started a fourth.  I've starting making concrete planters, clay ring dishes and have made a bunch of new coasters.  Also I've been able to photograph everything so much easier with all those windows!

Wife and Bea enjoy a sunny Saturday in the studio.

What I've learned from it all is that yes, having the space does help.  But really, not letting anything hold you back is the real lesson I've learned.  No space? Who cares! Get creative and do what you can with the space you have.  I wish I didn't let the lack of space in our old house stop me from making. But unfortunately for a lot of years, I did let that stop me.  Of course hindsight is 20-20, but I should have just used the floor space or set up a table behind the couch.  Which I did some days but more often than not, I'd say "meh" and watch TV.  For me, having the space to spread out has been a game changer.  I struggle with just focusing on one task at a time.  So I was often all over the place working on several projects at once.  I'm sure if I focused a bit better, stayed organized, I could have utilized a smaller space.  Lesson learned!  And I hope if you're me a few months ago, you're not letting the lack of space stop you.   Get organized and try to focus on one project at a time!  (Reminding myself to still do the same). :)

So much natural light during the day! Not upsetting.

Now that the sunny studio exists, I'm pretty stoked about it.  Creativity seems to be flowing quite well these days!  And I've had so much fun tweaking the space to make it work so I have three fun areas for different projects. 

Outlining this magical new studio space are large windows. Lots of windows.  Even windows into the kitchen!  (The sunroom in our house is now the studio space so there are windows looking into the kitchen from the studio).  I have essentially three work stations.  One with my easel set up for painting, a table for misc tools, sketching, paper goods and such, and another table completely dedicated to concrete planters and concrete object making.  BONUS!  There's also room for my wife Hayley's folding table with all her lego making.  Our dog Bea is usually sitting underneath the card table or skipping out the dog door. Mostly it's the weekends spent here, with some evenings sprinkled in throughout the week.

Studio after dark - sometimes that's when the creative juices really start flowin.

Making the most with what you have can be tough.  But if there's no other option but to use that desk that folds up against the wall or your floor, then I suppose you outta go for it and use what you can, where you can.  "Designers, make it work." Tim Gunn said it best. :)

Wall under the kitchen windows.  Shelves put together courtesy of Hayley.

Concrete work station behind my easel and a much cleaner than normal work space :)

Go get your make on!


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