Where I Spend Many Hours of My Life
An inside peek into my studio habits and how I create.
Is your studio at home or a separate space?
At home. I did a large house remodel after buying a small fixer upper home and added a large studio to the back of my home a few years back.
How big is your studio?
It’s about 450 square feet with 10 foot high walls and a vaulted ceiling.
I believe I am more creative in a large open space so the high walls and ceiling were key elements of my new studio.
Typically, how many hours a day do you work in the studio?
My goal is to work in my studio 15-20 hours a week although the sad reality is I average closer to 10 hours a week these days.
On weekdays I’ll work 1 or 2 hours in the studio and on weekends I’ll work from 1 or 2 up to 8 to 12 on really good days. It really depends what else I have going on.
How many days a week?
I usually work in the studio 4-5 days a week.
Do you listen to music while you work?
Sometimes but usually not as I’m a big fan silence in the studio.
I love music and attending live concerts – I think if I were to transfer all of my music from my CDs to my iphone I would listen to music more because loading up 5 CDs in the player seems like a big chore so I ignore it.
When I do listen to music, I tend to listen to the same thing over and over again. I’ve listened to the same song over and over again for a month.
Do you watch television while you work?
No – I don’t own a TV. At times I’ll watch tv shows on hulu or netflix but generally that is when I am procrastinating after a hugely productive few months.
I do listen to books on tape in the studio and I go through phases of wanting complete silence for a while and then I’ll listen to books for a while. Eventually my brain rebels and insists on silence again.
Right now I’m listening to Imagine: How Creativity Works. Fascinating and I’m recommending it to everyone – especially people that claim they aren’t creative.
Do you answer the telephone while you are in your studio?
Sometimes and when I do I usually regret it as it interrupts the flow so I either have to stop what I’m doing or be rude to the person on the phone and quickly hang up – neither option is good. Best to just let it ring.
I try to leave my phone out of the studio so I never hear it (I only have a cell phone) but my books on tape are on there so lately it’s been in the studio more and it’s harder to ignore.
Now that I write this I’ve decided I am going back to a strict – “no answering of the phone in the studio” – rule.
How often do you take breaks?
If I’m on a roll I work for a couple of hours before taking a break, and then only to run to use the bathroom or grab a quick snack and within minutes I’m back in the studio.
On really productive days I can work like this for 10-14 hours.
Usually I have too many other demands on my time so I only get to work for and hour or 2 before moving on to the next item on the list.
If I find myself bouncing in and out of my studio “taking breaks”, I try to discover the source of unrest because it’s a sign that something isn’t right.
Turning off my computer tends to do the trick to get me refocused. While I love being connected via the internet, I also considered it the greatest hindrance in my life.
Do you have any over-use issues with your hands or any other body parts?
My shoulders, neck and back take the brunt of the damage.
Guiding a large textile painting through a home sewing machine to add surfacing stitching across the entire composition is physically very hard. When I do this for 2 hours without break for an entire day it’s really not good.
It is the downside of my intense focus.
If so, how do you manage them or compensate?
Yoga is the first line of defense – it is really a must for keeping my body in good working order.
Second is massage. I’m currently getting a massage every 2 weeks and I can tell it makes a huge difference. I feel better than I have in many years.
Third is acupuncture, which I receive about once a month to keep my body’s energy balanced and flowing properly.
When all of that fails, advil comes to the rescue. I try to avoid drugs as I think they do evil things but sometimes sleep is rather illusive if I am in too much pain from a long session in the studio.
How about you? Where do you create and how?
PS – Update: Anyone that would like to do a similar post with these questions you are welcome to copy them (I didn’t write them – just modified them a bit.)
I’ve done a follow up post, The Power of Sharing our Creativity, and I’m collecting links to everyone’s articles on that post (if you link to my original article). Just send me an email (email@example.com) when you are done with your link and I’ll get you added.