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Creative Space

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

We talk a lot on this blog about making space for creativity in our lives. From the Doodle a Day Experiment, to Dating Your Muse, I'm all about squeezing in art wherever we can.

One thing we haven't discussed, however, are the literal creative spaces we cultivate.

The desks where we do our doodles.

The workshops where we bring projects to life.

The studios where we make our messy magick.

I appreciate that not everyone has an actual, physical, dedicated creative space.

Given the variety of our living situations, financial situations, time constraints, etc, it may not be practical for you.

For most of my life, I've been art-ing wherever I can: at the kitchen table, on the back porch, on the floor of my bedroom. I imagine many of you can relate.

In the last 10 years, I've moved 8 times, and was only able to bring with me what art supplies I could stuff into a plastic toolbox I'd bought in high school. (Later, I would pare that down to what I could fit in a shoe box in my suitcase.)

But whether we're creating at a desk, a workbench, a card table in the corner of the living room, or a full-fledged studio our creating spaces can be highly personal.

That's why, much like a nosy neighbor peeking over the fence, I'm fascinated by other artist's workspaces.

We've all got different organizational systems and styles. We've all got different working strategies. Some of us are cleaner or messier than others. We have different tricks for keeping track of ideas and maintaining inspiration & motivation.

I don't know about you, but I never tire of a good-old voyeristic studio tour.

And so, if you are likewise interested, I thought I'd interview a couple of friends about their own studios and making-spaces.

First up is painter, collage-maker, and all-around color-slinger Dayna J. Collins.

I first met Dayna at the Reuse Rumble, a community event that promoted waste reduction and creative reuse through game-show-like art competitions. By the end of the evening, Dayna and two other contestants had created epic tacky Christmas sweaters using bags of mystery materials... and had me modeling one for the audience.

Dayna's an effervescent and passionate artist, shining her light through a kaleidoscope that, personally, I can't get enough of.

But without further ado, let's get to the studio!

What are your studio must-haves?

"A standing work space is essential, with my tools close at hand, and visible as much as possible."

Dayna makes a point of noting that her custom work bench is a DIY-job, put together using plastic garage shelving and an old, solid door. Tres chic.

"Bins, bins, bins. Stacking and flat bins, without lids, so I can easily see what is in the bin and reach in and grab what I'm looking for. I also use tins and ceramic vases to store tools upright, again, so my tools are visible and accessible."

She notes that good lighting is a must and good music, too!

"Music that is energetic and danceable; it helps me work loose and free."

What's an absolute no-go in your space?

"No TV, movies, or any kind of screens as it stymies my creativity."

The only exception, she says, is when she's doing what she calls "scut work." When she's sanding boards, taping edges, or working on other repetitive tasks, "then I might put on a show to help pass the time."

What's your organization style?

"When I'm working 'in the zone,' creating without too much thought, I make a huge mess," she says. Don't we all?

"But when I finish a project or even finish after a successful day, I almost always tidy up in preparation for my next session."

You're doing better than me, Dayna!

How do you use your space to stay inspired?

"I have so many ways to stay inspired!"

In addition to collecting inspiration when she's out and about, Dayna also surrounds herself with "functional stuff," including notes about her ideas and color recipes.

She surrounds her space with postcards from art museums or shows, and hangs photos of her past work.

" They remind me of what was successful and I can use them as a stepping stone to new work."

You can see more of Dayna's technicolor works at

Thanks for the tour, Dayna!

Are you inspired to re-think your creative space? What are your must-haves?

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