Saturday, March 5, 2011

Water, food, shelter, a sharp pencil…

and a few decent tools...

 In the studio, just as in the kitchen, I have found that there always seem to be a few tools  essential to the process of a smooth(er) workflow. That is not to say we can’t also make do. In fact, often with least at hand, the best of our creativity comes forth from the deep well of resourcefulness in each of us. So, don’t get me wrong, this post is not about “tooling up”!
In fact, is sort of the opposite.  It’s about narrowing it down to what really works, which may be different for each person.

However, since I am always interested and grateful to learn what works for others. In turn, I’d like to contribute to the big exchange going on.The internet has become a great tool, in it’s own right, allowing us to “cross pollinate”, both practically and creatively.

Apart from the the camera, and the officey obvious (rubber bands, pens, paper clips, loose change, spare buttons and fortune cookie messages  …), here are a few of the items that I consider especially helpful on an average day in the studio:

First, possibly the most important, also hardest to come by: A big, clean, empty surface. 
Before I set this up, I used various surfaces such as a drafting table, the dining room table, the floor...

A good cordless mouse. I really like this  Logitech “Anywhere MX”. It has good, smooth control for handling detail work. I just wrap it in the Belkin wrist rest it lives on when I leave the studio with my laptop. See that tiny black chip resting in one of the USB ports of the computer? That's what makes the mouse wireless. It stays in that port all the time.
 Inspiration: I really love having inspiring things to read and to look at in my workspace. Books, a branch of something I found on a walk, stones, a shell, a postcards, photos of friends and surroundings are always evolving, and I feel a sense of synergy in my working environment among these things.

 A large smooth, hard art board: A truly smooth surface is necessary for  hand-painting. I use big clips or tape to hold the images in place, and usually use this board at the easel, or propped on the table.

 Rotatrim paper cutter: Amazing tool. Self sharpening, and a total workhorse. This one is called a "Mastercut ll".
And, I really like this clear ruler.

The humble brayer, essential when adhering prints to surfaces (I don’t use it directly in contact with the print).
Paint brushes, etc: All shapes and sizes of paint brushes are, of course, invaluable for hand-painting prints. 
When they get a little too scruffy, I move them to another jar on the desk where they live a long productive retirement doing all kinds of things.
 That jar has an incredibly useful assortment of other tools as well:  Knitting needles, chopsticks, bamboo kitchen skewers, Q- tips, fluffy makeup brushes, the saved plastic spine edge of a report cover, etc. One of my favorite tools is a porcupine needle found on a walk in Italy.
 If you do your own framing....can't imagine doing it without a Point driver and double sticky tape gun.
 Swinging arm lamp with daylight bulb….When short winter days just don’t provide enough sunlight to get the work done in real daylight.
 Portable hard drives for keeping things backed up: My favorite are the “G drives”. This one is 500 GB.
 Sometimes it is really the smaller things in a fine tip sharpie, or a gum eraser...

 Card  case: Great little hard, portable chip case.

And then, of course, there's The Tool Drawer....


Annie Salness said...

Terrific post Amy! I always want to know what someone else uses! I really appreciated the contents of that jar... I'm looking for anything to make more marks with! :)

chhipa said...

I am quite sure they will learn lots of new stuff here than anybody else!


Boundlesstech said...

A great article indeed and a very detai led, realistic and superb analysis of the current and past scenarios.

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