I design scented bath and body products -- soap, lip balm, body scrubs, massage oils -- using all (and only) natural ingredients. I love coming up with new scent combinations, and I love trying them out, too (though, alas, I don't think I can write off my hot water bill and call it 'product testing'). Many of my products have healing properties as well, and I do a lot of research and testing to make sure that they're safe, and they work.
Where do you do your art/crafts?
Mostly just outside of my kitchen -- I worked in my kitchen in my old apartment, but my new kitchen is so small I've spread out into the living room. Fortunately I've fit most of what I need in a small space, though there's a doorway in the middle of it all.
How do you keep all your supplies organised?
I have a variety of shelves -- some thrifted, some trashpicked, and one set that's built into the kitchen. My favourite piece right now is my workbench -- I picked it up off the side of the road, and then found the perfect drawer pulls at the local ReStore. I'm working on a project to lower the bottom shelf some, so I can fit taller things in it, and maybe eventually add another shelf below that one. It's just a few inches higher than my kitchen counter, which makes it the perfect height to pour tricky stuff like lip balms without straining my back.
The black shelves that hold my finished products are another thrift store find -- actually a friend of mine bought them, and then I traded my old shelves for them; they were exactly what I needed, and my friend was looking for something with taller spaces between the shelves. It was perfect!
I keep a meditation altar of sorts on top of it -- an icon of Saint Michael, pictures of my family, gifts from friends. Just some special stuff that I can focus on when I need to.
I paid eight bucks for my desk at a Salvation Army store in Colorado. It weighs almost as much as my car and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
How do you keep yourself motivated to keep your space tidy?
I'm...I don't want to say I'm obsessive, because strictly speaking that's not true, but I do like order. I find it...soothing, pleasing, when everything has a space, and it's in that space. Don't get me wrong -- I get messy -- but soon enough it all gets to be too much, I can't think, and it's time to straighten up.
Any tips for how to keep art spaces tidy or organised?
Find the right space for everything. The right set of shelves, the right container, the right box or bin or basket. When everything fits just so, it's easier to put it back there, and easier to want to put it back there.
Make it fun. Maybe 'fun' isn't quite the right word, but do it in ways that please you. The pen holder on my desk isn't just the right size -- it's pretty, too, and it feels good in my hand when I pick it up. The matching mason jars I use to hold my ingredients look so nice lined up on the shelves, and I know they're sturdy and reusable, too. And I love my workbench -- just looking at it makes me smile.
This doesn't have to be expensive. For me, digging through thrift stores and yard sales, looking for just the right piece, is a good part of the fun.
Do you get stressed out when your space gets in a mess?
OH MY yes I do. It rarely gets very bad, because I know how frazzled I get when it's all in a pile, but when I have a show coming up and five batches of thisandthat to make, yeah, it gets messy. And it's harder for me to find things, to focus, to think. Even if I don't have much time, taking a few minutes to straighten up really helps my state of mind.
If you could have your dream space tomorrow what would it look like?
I'm hoping to move into an RV and travel from craft show to craft show around the country, full time, within the next year or so, so -- long and narrow! I've been doing sketches in AutoCAD for a while now, trying to figure out how to make things fit, and I don't even have the RV yet.
Is there any craft you would love to do but cant due to limitations of your art space?
Everything I've tried so far is pretty small -- though I've started drawing and calligraphy, and I'd love a space other than my desk for that, so I don't have to keep shoving my keyboard out of the way...
What is the next big thing on your wish list for your art space?
More work on that workbench -- at least one more drawer, and maybe more than that, if I decide to store the five gallon buckets under it elsewhere. And more glass jars. I love how they look, and I love being able to see all of my ingredients through the glass.
Is there a website for people to see or buy or art/crafts?You can find me at omshantihandcrafts.com (I have a blog there as well that might be of interest), and I also sell at Etsy (http://omshanti.etsy.com).
Thanks to Kate for allowing me to publish her studio photos and for taking time to answer my questions! Thank you!