Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Daily FeatureessaySaturdaythe artist's life

The Artist’s Life: The Studio Shuffle

About one-third of the things in my studio moved to the bedroom

I am still shuffling and organizing things in the basement studio, and will be for a while—I decided just this weekend I needed to get some “real” shelves for the area in the back because everything I have to store down there doesn’t fit in the storage areas I have set up. That’s an easy fix, and two sets of resin shelves are on sale right now that will exactly fit in that spot, and are 18″ deep. Though it will mean getting rid of a set of wooden “shelves” that have been with me nearly 40 years, in the long run I’ll be far better for it.

While I spent a lot of last autumn on the basement, I also needed to work on my original studio in the small spare bedroom upstairs. Until I had the basement ready for stuff, I couldn’t move it out of that studio. And until I moved it out of that upstairs studio, there was nothing I could do with that room. I could barely walk into it, my work table was covered, and the larger cabinet had popped out its one side wall years ago, not even emptying it and partly dismantling it could help me fix that. So it’s been that way for almost a decade, and I debated what would be best to put in there. One consideration was the corner desk I use downstairs, since I don’t need that down here anymore and it would be great to have more work surfaces in the room. I could put shelves on the back of the desk against the wall, and store other things underneath. But dismantling this desk was just too big of a project that had to happen all in one day, so a large set of heavy duty shelving was in order. I had taken photos of the old cabinet a while ago but can’t find them now. You’ll just have to imagine it!

The reason it had to happen all in one day was because, even with a large portion of the contents of the room already moved to the basement, I had to empty out the cabinet and the area around it in order to dismantle it and remove it. The only place to put all that was in my bedroom and bathroom, and if this went more than one day, no bath for me, and I had no idea where I’d sleep.

I had been putting it off because I felt the need to get back to work for a bit, then I’d get back to it over the weekend some time in January. But New Year’s Day, standing in the kitchen in the morning, I knew I had to get to it now, before I got back to work, because the room was unworkable and I needed to start some paintings and use that work table.

The rest of the things in the bedroom doorway.

I started right away, before I could get involved in anything else like social networking or designing yet another new product. I carried things out of the studio and into my bedroom, tucking them in to fill up every inch of available floor space right up to the doorway. The photos don’t even capture it all. The cats stayed on the bed and out of my way.

When I had enough out of the room I dismantled the cabinet and stashed the pieces in the bathroom. Then I opened the box on the front porch holding the shelves I’d purchased and brought them upstairs and assembled the shelves level by level.

The new shelves, ready for stuff.

Then I took out the pieces of the old cabinet one by one. They were very heavy and awkward to get down the narrow steps and out on to the deck, but not much else has felt as good as getting that cabinet out of my house. After that it was all to organize things on the shelves. I got all that done by evening. The open spaces on the bottom shelves are for my bins of photo prints on film.

Shelves all stocked.

Technically the move was done, but I still had a lot of work to do. This is what the rest of the room looked like.

So the shelves were in and things were organized on their awesome depth and width, but I still had too much for the room. Full sheets of mat board will never fit well, but I have since managed to inch things around the room to sort it and tuck it in behind things. Each time I go in there, something has to get off that table or my drafting table, either by putting it away, or moving it out of the room. So far so good, but setting up more shelf space in the basement will go a long way toward making this studio actually work for me. But I’m really, really happy about the progress so far, on both spaces and I’ve been using both just about daily.

Aside from this one photo of the Fantastic Four stuffed in behind the door one of the days I worked in there, my feline roommates don’t have any reviews of the new room.

They could be anywhere in the house, but the four siblings are all jammed in behind the door in my studio because that’s where I’m working today. It’s dark back there. There’s also a furnace vent back there.

But I know they can’t wait until the table is cleared off and they can once again roll all over it and luxuriate in baths and naps.

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watercolor of black cat on windowsill
“Studio Window, Autumn”, 5.5″ x 8.5″, watercolor © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

 I often remark how my cats enjoy spending time with me in my studio because they sense my own enjoyment of what I’m doing, and for frightened fosters not only can they sense that but I’m also in a typically non-verbal space, something they and all cats find very comfortable. Sharing my non-verbal self with animals, especially cats, has been one of my lifelong joys, and often a great comfort. Read more and purchase.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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