The Room Where It Happens

I think the announcement was impossible to miss if you’re on any social media anywhere, but this weekend, Disney+ added Hamilton the musical to its streaming service. Jake and I watched it on July 4th instead of going to the firework show, which of course was cancelled.

One of the things I did before this art business was get a degree in theatre studies. I was a T.A. in a musical theatre course during the height of Hamilton mania, and there was a point in like 2015 that you couldn’t walk through the theatre production building without hearing someone singing, listening to, or talking about the Hamilton cast recording. Most of us couldn’t afford the trip to NYC to see it, not to mention the price of the tickets (which were going for as much as $1,000 each due to demand). In fall of 2019, a good friend and I got discounted nosebleed seats for the Chicago production of the show, which was even more meaningful to me after all the reading (and listening) I’d already done about it.

Fast forward again to 2020, the middle (?) of a pandemic, and Broadway has announced its closure through the rest of the calendar year. Even though I ultimately decided not to pursue a theatre career, I still have plenty of love for it, and plenty of friends in the business who are out of work right now. I actually found myself getting weirdly emotional while watching the opening number of Hamilton Saturday night, partly too because it’s just better to watch a show live, to be “in the room where it happens,” to paraphrase one of the songs. We’re not going to be able to do that again for a long time. It’s a sad thought, though I am happy that so many others who can’t make it to a big city to see the show even in “normal” times are able to watch now.

Part of the room where the art happens. You wouldn’t guess it from this pic, but this is a lot cleaner than usual. This is where I stage current painting projects.

Another thing I did this weekend was continue my Gale Course, “Start Your Own Arts and Crafts Business.” One of the lessons I completed focused on how to organize the physical space that we work in. It inspired me to rearrange and reorganize a lot of my my art supplies on Saturday, especially now that I have the room to myself (Jake and I originally shared the space, until he started working from home, at which point he moved his desk up to our library).

This metal utility cart (from Michael’s, though I have another from Ikea) are great for keeping supplies right next to my work table. Plus it’s on wheels.

The lesson instructed/reaffirmed the necessity of having your tools and supplies easily accessible and close at hand to your work space. I kind of discovered this on my own when I’d want to draw or paint in the past and have to dig out plastic totes or boxes of the supplies I needed before I could start. Aside from being a deterrent to sitting down and working when the motivation did strike (I was a little less disciplined back then), the instructor pointed out how it’s actually a waste of money, in that you’re taking time away from your productivity by having to track down your supplies.

The rough map I drew of my supply closet. I think the only non-art-related item left in there is the vacuum.

As I was organizing, I decided on my own to make a “map” of my supply closet to hang up inside, so that I know what’s in that plastic tote at the back bottom under a bunch of shipping supplies. It’s pretty basic, but I think it’s going to make a difference next time I want to know where my fabric stash is, for example, when I want to make some masks. (Not a thing I ever though I’d have to do — mask making, that is — but here we are.)

Found a microwave stand on Amazon that works perfectly as art storage/work station

It’s still a work in progress, but it feels a lot more spacious with the changes I did make. Now I just need to figure out a way to keep my scrap paper stash, though I think I’m going to try to find an over-the-door organizer for that.

Do you have any good organizational tricks that you use, either for art supplies or anything else? How about any organization “tricks” that you tried that just didn’t work for you?

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