Open Studio: Jen McCleary’s Creative Digs

Posted On August 6, 2009

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*Sorry about the delay, everyone!  Hopefully, this will be a regular feature where we will get to peak into each other’s work spaces, either in the home or at a studio.*

Most crafts come with stuff…lots of stuff.  Trying to find a space to store that stuff, and maybe do some work with it, is hard enough.  But what if you live in a city apartment and need to make jewelry, do some graphic design, take photographs, create collages, and work on other collaborative pieces?  Jenn McCleary does all that, and then some, but manages to do most of it in the 100 square foot foyer of her Mt. Airy flat.  It’s her first dedicated space for creativity.  “I live with my boyfriend, and in our old apartment I just used a corner of the bedroom for my art space,” she said.  She chuckled when I asked if she designed the space herself.  “I wouldn’t say that it is a ‘designed’ space…just an exercise in making the best possible use of a small space,” she replied.

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Organization of her space is still a work in progress.  She has rearranged the shelves a few times, and recently purchased storage bins for her collage materials.  The larger bins work better than her previous system of small cardboard boxes, and the added bonus is that she can see what’s inside them.  The walls serve as a dual source of inspiration, as Jen tacks up interesting things, including works by other artists.  “It gets boring looking at your own work all the time,” she added.  Recently, she found that a reclaimed corkboard fit perfectly into an old picture frame, so it is now used as a way of keeping all the rusty doo-dads, computer parts, and other random pieces of inspiration that Jen collects.

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What she likes most about her foyer studio is that she can have a dedicated work space in her home.  “I’ve considered getting an outside studio, but I think I’d find that annoying,” she told me.  “I work outside my home full time as a graphic designer, and I think I’d find it exhausting to be in the office all day at work, come home, eat dinner, and go back out again. It would be really easy to just blow it off. ”  Her space allows her to do something creative each and every evening, without it feeling like a chore.  It’s not perfect, though.  She hopes that her next studio will include natural light and separate tables for sewing, painting, and jewelry-making.  In a way, the studio is evolving, just like Jen’s work!


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