Five creative workspaces

VISIT-FIVE-CREATIVE-WORKSPACES By Diana Scully

Following my previous post, how to design your own creative workspaceI set myself the task of answering a few questions about creative women's workspaces: What is the ideal workspace? Are there any similarities between the workspaces of creatives in different industries? How do others personalise their work space?

Through The Circle Database, I found five CWC Members from varying industries and asked them to share some details of their own workspaces. Here's what I discovered... 

The Photographer

Photo: Elizabeth Bull

Elizabeth Bull owns and manages One Fine Print, an business that collaborates with talented photographers to bring unique, bold and distinct photographic prints into the home. 

Describe your workspace (or spaces) in five words. Industrial - Creative - Light - Productive - Fun

Do you have more than one workspace? Occasionally, just for a change of scenery I'll work from home or if I'm finding I'm getting stuck on something, I'll wander to my local cafe with a note pad and work from there for a while. I usually find the change of scenery and the walk helps get the creativity flowing again.

How have you personalised your own workspace? Many big beautiful bold photographic prints, timber desks, old cameras, greenery and a hammock!

Do you share your space with anyone else? A partner, pet? We are attached to a communal warehouse which houses many photographers and designers. We love being part of a community of creatives.

What are your essential ingredients for a productive but engaging workspace? I've worked from quite a few spaces, and I've learnt that the most important thing for me to look for in a space is natural light and big windows. That combined with great people makes for a place I want to work from every day. 

The Florist

Photo: Meghan Fletcher

 Meghan Fletcher, floral designer for weddings and events and director of her own business, Good, Grace and Humour. 

Describe your workspace (or spaces) in five words. Homely - transient - innovative - tuneful - fragrant. 

Do you have more than one workspace? The majority of my work is completed from home. But, if it counts, I would consider my second workspace or 'workspaces' to be the venues I install into for each event. I take along my tool kit and set up and pack down in some fantastic spaces. 

How have you personalised your own workspace? For now, my workspace at home is transient so it's difficult to create a permanent workplace personality. My home needs to be functional for my family at the end of each day, so arrangements and tools need to be stored so they're not eaten by my toddler! If I were to separate my workspace from my home, as is the plan in the near future, I suspect the personalities would be similar - I'm a sucker for colour, abstract art and clean lines. 

Do you share your space with anyone else? A partner, pet? Home and work can often be a colourful and collaborative coexistence. I share my space with my husband, our son and our cat. Part of the house is dedicated to storing GG&H items. One room used to be big enough for me to work in and store items, but as GG&H expands, I've had to become more innovative with storage and workspace solutions. Not that my husband or son seem to mind eating their brekky while I bring flowers into the kitchen! 

What are your essential ingredients for a productive but engaging workspace? In my case, being able to balance work and home life with storage solutions, comfortable and waterproof (!) workspaces, and efficient and sustainable set-up and pack-down practices, along with a nice place to sit with the laptop and a cuppa. I'm hoping to have a permanent studio space for next season where I can incorporate all of these really practical elements, along with the little personal touches that permanence encourages. 

The Furniture Maker

 

Photo: Anne-Claire Petre

Anne-Claire Petre is a furniture designer and owner of her own business, Anaca Studio, which offers a range of furniture and accessories with a focus on using responsibly sourced timber and other sustainable material and finishes.

Describe your workspace (or spaces) in five words. Light-filled - uncluttered - inspiring - green - zen.

Do you have more than one workspace? I have one studio where I work from when I'm not doing pick-ups or visiting clients. However within this, I have two "workspaces", my main desk where I do most computer work and drawing / sketching and another desk for anything requiring assemblies / cutting / finishing or sewing / "crafting" at times…

How have you personalised your own workspace? I have only recently move into my Collingwood studio, so unfortunately I haven't yet done much in the way of personal decorative arrangement… Except for my little golden hatted gnome from Hunting for George which makes me smile… Walls are in great need of some artwork!! But to make up for that I have brought in quite a few plants and adding to the collection fairly frequently! Never enough green!

Do you share your space with anyone else? A partner, pet? No, it's just me and the gnome! Until recently, I was working from home so my two gorgeous cats were my companions, although quite distracting at times! The studio is part of a complex of other artists and designers so I always bump into other fellow creatives at some point in the day, which is nice. It gets a bit boring being in your own head for too long!

What are your essential ingredients for a productive but engaging workspace? For me, cluttered space = cluttered mind. So I try to keep the space as tidy as possible. Every night before I leave, I do a bit of a tidy up, feels so much better when you get in in the morning. I also turn on the music and plug in my essential oil diffuser. Plenty of natural light is key. That's what got me when I first visited the studio - massive windows and height ceiling… It felt really inspiring. Quirky objects are also essential to light up the mood!

 

The Lawyer

Image: Yasmin Naghavi

Yasmin Naghavi is a solicitor at Media Art Lawyers, a boutique entertainment and media law firm.

Describe your workspace (or spaces) in five words. Not - a - corporate - law - firm.

Do you have more than one workspace? I mostly work at my desk but also use the boardroom and meeting areas downstairs when I’m meeting clients. I sometimes meet clients in their workplace, but the majority of my work can be conducted by phone and email. I also get the opportunity to work from our Sydney and Auckland offices from time to time which is always a refreshing change.

How have you personalised your own workspace? Mostly by bringing in plants, records, posters, books and a couple of comfy armchairs – I wanted the space to feel like my living room. Our space was initially just one room, but we added a bookshelf to store our vinyl records as well as act as a bit of a room divider. If I had my way we’d change the lighting, because fluorescents are just plain sad. Luckily we have a huge window above the stairwell which means we get heaps of natural light and a view of the treetops in front of our building.

Do you share your space with anyone else? A partner, pet? Well, there are up to 12 people in the building on most days but the type of work we do is very autonomous so we spend most of the day at our respective desks. I work on the second floor with one of the partners of the firm (who also doubles as my husband) and our dog, Wilco (pictured). Wilco prefers to conduct his business outdoors.

What are your essential ingredients for a productive but engaging workspace? Communication is always key to an effective workspace, but so is working with people you respect and colleagues who have a quick wit (you need a sense of humour in this line of work).

 

The Writer

Image: Madeleine Dore

 

Madeleine Dore is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub by day, and in her free time, runs an online project called Extraordinary Routines, where she interviews creative people about their daily lives - from what time they wake up in the morning, to their views on life and creativity.

Describe your workspace (or spaces) in five words. Filled - with - to-do - lists.

Do you have more than one workspace?  For my day job I work in a city based office, but have set up a desk in my share house to work on Extraordinary Routines. I also have a fondness for sitting in cafes – one of my favourite places to work is John Gorilla in West Brunswick. They have this adorable little nook by the window, which is perfect for just one person. Also Moat (below the Wheeler Centre) and £1000 Pound Bend are great places in the city.

How have you personalised your own workspace? I recently got around to framing a watercolour by illustrator Monica Ramos and a beautiful embossed poster created by Maria Popova of Brainpickings - my favourite website. It’s nice to have something beautiful to stare at in those moments of absent-mindedness and distraction! I also like to collect cards from exhibitions and have them dotted on the wall. I’m not very good with plants, but have managed to keep a Sweet Chico alive for a month now, and so it has been nice to have some greenery on my desk. I also have a giant desk planner from Kikki K and I’m addicted to writing to do lists and pinning them around my desk.

Do you share your space with anyone else? A partner, pet?  My desk is set up right beside my roommate’s identical IKEA trestle desk, so we often sit side by side in the evening working on our projects. It’s very cosy, and nice to have company when you’re working into the night!

What are your essential ingredients for a productive but engaging workspace? Even though my mind works best when I’m working on something individually, it really helps to have other people around me – if I can see them working, it motivates me to get cracking on something instead of just scanning Facebook! In the absence of people, there’s always Spotify.  I really like having my planners, diaries, and lists nearby so I know what tasks I have ahead. Similarly, I don’t like clutter, and often need to neaten my desk before getting onto the task of writing. As I writer, I also think it is really important to make sure your screen is at eye level to avoid hunching – I stack my laptop on books and use a remote keyboard. Natural light never goes astray, too!

Interior Designer, Diana Scully owns and operates her own interior design firm, Spaces by Diana that’s all about designing beautiful, personalised homes to reflect the people who live in it. Diana also has her own lifestyle blog, Spaces + Places, where she regularly writes about inspiring spaces to see and visit from around the world and shares her recent travel adventures. This year she has plans to spend time abroad in the US. Follow Diana on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

How to design your own creative workspace

design-a-creative-workspace_CreativeWomensCircle_DianaScully530 By Diana Scully

I was never much of a desk or office person. In my previous profession as a lawyer, I had the opportunity to work at a communal desk and then was later given my own private office. While I do enjoy working in a quiet environment, attending the same location/room/chair each day was a challenge for me. So it’s no surprise that having now moved out of the corporate world and running my own interior design studio, the opportunity to work where it suits me best, is such a benefit to me.

While I still have my own office, where I get to display, decorate and style my own way, I don’t have to confine myself to this location, every day. Luckily for me, my role as an interior designer means I’m not always designated behind a desk, so I embrace the opportunity to mix things up and find spaces that give me the freedom to work at my greatest capacity and feel creative.

Transitioning from a practising lawyer into an interior designer, I have learnt how how to set up my work environment to maximise my ability to think and dream creativity for my clients. In this two-part series, I will share with you how you can adapt your environment to give yourself the opportunity to maximum your working capacity and allow yourself to be creative. In my following post, I will interview other creative women from Creative Women’s Circle to see what others are doing to inspire their creativity. Hopefully, during this process, you will gather some inspiration to covert your workspace into an inspiring, creative one.

Think beyond the desk

I think we’ve all learnt to believe that you are most productive when you sit at a desk. After all, for many of us, going to work means sitting at your workstation in an office environment, right? Not necessarily. Some of my best work has taken place in my favourite cafe with my headphones on, in the local library on one of their many armchairs with my feet up, or even taking my meeting calls as I walk through a city park or stroll along the beach. After spending the last year in LA and not having a designated workspace, I’ve learnt that I can equally if not more so, be productive at locations that make me happy and accommodate my needs (i.e. internet access). So think beyond the office desk and immerse yourself in various environments to allow yourself to think differently.

design-a-creative-workspace-2

Your space is an extension of you

If however, routine, consistency and organisation is what you need to work productively, then a designated workspace may be the winning formula for you. In that case, before you set yourself up and run down to the nearest office supply store for your standard desk and chair combination, reconsider your space. Why not create an environment that makes you feel excited to come to everyday?

A few ways to avoid working from a typical workstation:

  • Choose an unconventional desk chair  - maybe a favourite armchair or dining chair? Or set up a few different seating arrangements in your space like a bean bag or sofa.
  • Bring in your favourite table lamp or floor lamp.
  • Choose a dining table for a desk and use boxes, crates, baskets and bedside tables as alternate storage options.
  • Create a vignette of little pots in one corner of your desk, filled with greenery to offer you constant energy throughout your working day.
  • Avoid bare and blank walls by hanging up your favourite prints or posters to keep you motivated and inspired.
  • Place a sheepskin rug at your feet to keep you cosy and warm at the desk.
  • Be adventurous with colour and paint a wall in another hue, or for the bigger risk taker, introduce some wallpaper!

Co-work spaces and four-legged friends

Last year, in LA, I spent some time in a co-work space in Santa Monica. Not only was this space a breath of fresh air from the stagnate interiors of the corporate world, it was an opportunity to meet new people, each doing their own thing. A fabulous place to network, discuss and explore your ideas with like minded attitudes and work in an environment that was comfortable, relaxed and free from rules and systems.  Plus, most co-work spaces allow you to pick and choose the days you want to come in - so there’s no on-going commitment!

One of my favourite perks from working in this LA co-work space was it allowed guests to bring along their dogs for the day. This was such a delight! I instantly felt more relaxed and comfortable in my unfamiliar surrounding with a furry friend at my feet. Generally, dogs were well behaved, even as they roamed the hallways or nuzzled their noses into your legs, begging for their next scratch.

If you are lucky to have a gorgeous four-legged friend, next time consider taking him on a walk on your next meeting call or to sit beside you when you work from your laptop at your favourite cafe. I found that having a dog near by helped me keep calm and relaxed during my work day and a good excuse to take a break and pop outside for a walk.

design-a-creative-workspace-3

Look inside then look around

To maximise your creative energy each day, you need to understand what sort of environment you work best in. Be open to exploring different locations like a home office, co-work space, local library or cafe and if it suits you, don’t restrict yourself to the same space every day. Give yourself the opportunity to explore new surroundings in hope to encourage you to think a little differently. For some of us, who thrive on routine or require a point of reference for work, don’t limit your environment to a mundane, boring space. Avoid conventional furniture arrangements and use unexpected pieces that will help you create something special. Be passionate about where you work! Setting up a workspace that makes you feel comfortable, as well as address your business needs, will no doubt keep you feeling creative and excited about what you do. Choose to create a space and find a location that reflects who you are. After all, how you work and play is a representation of your business and brand. Embrace this to design a space that is an extension of you.

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Interior Designer, Diana Scully owns and operates her own interior design firm, Spaces by Diana that’s all about designing beautiful, personalised homes to reflect the people who live in it. Diana also has her own lifestyle blog, Spaces + Places, where she regularly writes about inspiring spaces to see and visit from around the world and shares her recent travel adventures. This year she has plans to spend time abroad in the US. Follow Diana on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.