Opening Up The Studio! / by Leslie Fandrich

By Leslie Fandrich // Themes: Organizing, Open Studio // Category: Personal Work


My studio has never been this clean and organized or filled with so much work that I am excited to share! I've been working hard all summer on new collages and for the last month I have been getting things ready for a local Open Studio Tour. 

Next weekend, September 27th and 28th, I will be opening my studio to the public to share my work and discuss my process. I'll have a collaborative project that visitors can work on with me and seasonal refreshments like apple cider donuts and coffee. Yum.

All my new collage work will be for sale, as well as some photography prints and watercolors. 

This is my first Open Studio and I'm pretty sure I've gone overboard in preparing. All along, I've felt that I could just open my door and let people in and it would be fun and fine, but I also enjoy using these kind of things as an excuse to spend time really cleaning and organizing my space. It's also a really good time for me to step back from making work and think about how I'm going to present the work. They are two very different things. Making work requires absolute immersion and flow and presenting it requires perspective and insight. 

To help me with all the details, I've been consulting a couple of excellent books. How To Survive and Prosper As An Artist by Caroll Michels and ART/WORK: Everything You Need To Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber. Smart people, those ones.

Getting ready for open studios is straightforward. You’re basically turning your studio into a minigallery space that should entice people to step inside and linger over your work. Push all of your supplies and everyday clutter into a closet or a corner, clean the walls, and curate your space.

Basically, I did everything those people said to do, plus more, but here's a list of things that happened that I was not expecting:

  1. To make room in the closets for all the art supplies I was putting away I pulled out boxes of receipts I've been hoarding since the beginning of time. Now I know that on August 14th, 1997 I ordered from Chicago Deep Dish pizza in Calgary and charged $20.00 to my credit card. That pizza was delicious. I wonder who I ate it with. Also, between 1993 and 1997 my favorite things to put on my credit card were pizza and taxi cabs. Ah, college.
  2. A spider had set up a massive bug killing operation in my farthest window. The window that I couldn't get to because of piles and piles of magazine clippings and my comic book collection. This spider was alive and well, surrounded by an intricate web and food for years. With the help of the vacuum, I helped him move out. I did not kill him. I do not know where he went...
  3. I FINALLY found my binoculars.
  4. I had a good look at a number of projects that I designed while I worked as a graphic designer in New York. I was a pretty decent designer. I had multiple copies of some projects though and I threw everything away except for one copy of each project. Now it all fits into a nice box and one day I can open it and show my grandkids that I made some cool things when I was young.
  5. I don't think I have ever thrown away a photograph. I have all the out-takes from when I used to shoot film. I need to sort through everything and figure out what stays and what needs to go. That is a massive project so I just moved the boxes onto a higher shelf and made a mental note to DEAL WITH IT LATER.
  6. When Chris asked me what was in a big black garbage bag, I answered, MY WHOLE LIFE and I am throwing it out to make room for MY ART.
  7. The artwork I made three years ago was crap. I threw that away too.
  8. I have too many books. I put books that I didn't want to display into a closet and they broke one of the shelves in there while I was sleeping. I don't blame the books, the shelves were poorly made, but OOF. Books are so heavy and take up so much room and mean so much to me
  9. Self-reflection can be a blessing and a bitch but the bottom line is to live in the moment. Nothing else really matters.

If you are local, drop me a line and I will send you information about the Open Studio Tour! I'd really love to see you and have a chat about art.