The Studios of Our Viewers
The Entire Messy Studio Thread

In a recent artist profile (June 2nd, click here to see archived Daily) we profiled Robert Dancik and his wonderful art.  One of the pictures included his studio that can best be described as cluttered.  After the profile ran, several people began to write in about their studios and how “messy” or “clean” they were and the reasons why.  This page is just a collection of those pictures and letters.  You are more than welcome to add your comments, concerns and comparisons.  We will post those first in the Daily and then add them to this page.

The Original Picture of Robert Dancik’s Studio


Viewer Correspondence by approximate date

June 3

I love the articles about Robert Danick. He is such a talented individual. I particularly enjoyed the photo of his workbench. My dear husband has created an entire room for me with floor-to-ceiling shelves on two walls which are packed with craft books and beads. I have two work tables, my computer and a TV. Periodically I get a guilty attack that I should straighten up my room and every time I do I can't find anything. So I'm happy to know I'm not the only one.

Sylvia McDonald Bowman

Dear Sylvia,

We have shown shots of a lot of artist’s work environment or studios, and those that are neat and tidy I often wondered if they just cleaned them up for the photo. I just don’t know if “neat and tidy” goes with creative. Perhaps we can get some other input from our readers on this.

Thank you for writing Sylvia, and have a great beading day. ~ Bill

June 4

I loved the second Robert Danick article so much that I emailed it to all the artists I know for inspiration (and to plug his faux ivory) and to all my non-artist friends to say "see, the way my house/studio looks is just part of the creative process". I tend to have piles of projects underway. Multi-tasking is the only way to go so a piece has time to develop or for the glue to set...

I have a wall of similar stuff hanging in my kitchen. Old objects are just very cool.

Patti Leota Genack

Dear Patti,

Thanks for your comments and that is at least TWO artists with “messy studios” <s>. Hope your friends will sign up for the Free BeadBugle.Com Daily issue.~ Bill

June 5

Well it was nice to hear about everyone else’s messy studio. I too have a messy studio, but the fun part is when I decide to do a big clean of my work area and I discover beads I had forgotten about or some beads combine themselves with other beads in a way I hadn’t considered, and the next thing you know, I am inspired.

So now I have a contest idea. People could send in pictures of their messy studios and the messiest one could win an organizing system. Kind of like an extreme makeover contest.

Have a great day!

Dear Cornelia

What a great way to look at it. I love when you turn lemons into lemonaide! Good idea about the makeover contest, but what organizing system to offer as a prize?. And who would install it? Would the organizer sit in the corner waiting to be used? This whole contest has more questions than answers (lol) ~ Bill


I love your articles and projects.

I, too, have a chaotic studio. Shelves all the way around, phd (piled higher and deeper) with beads and bits of creative fodder. I think all beaders must be part magpie and part pack rat. At least all the ones know are.

Ingrid Frances Stark,
aka Ingrid the Crafty

Dear Ingrid the Crafty,

Thank you for you kind and wonderful comments on the Daily. It seems unanimous Ingrid, or at least no one is “admitting” to being a neat and tidy beader! ~ Bill


The Messy Studio Event

Ever since we did the Robert Dancik artist profile, there has been interest is seeing more “messy” studios, people confessing that they “have” a messy studio and I assume that “neat and organized” people are just sitting back smugly and smiling

Robert Dancik’s Studio

Cornelia thinks a “make-over” type contest would be fun, but unfortunately it would be difficult to do and fund. Ingrid the Crafty introduced the new organizational beading term PHD, Piled Higher and Deeper. Finally Melissa suggested a write in where share their organizational tips and comment on how someone might improve their “messy” studio. All of these are great ideas, but this is what we decided to do.

  • We ask that those with the “messy studios and “organized studios” alike please send in pictures of your studio.
  • “Organized” studios should tell us what they use to reach that cosmic state of organized.
  • I would ask people to write and comment on what they see in the picture and how they feel it would work either for them or one of the studios pictured.
  • Depending on the volume of entries and comments they will either be posted in the Daily and archived on a separate page for easy access and review of all entries.

While this is not a contest I would like everyone to get something for contributing either their pictures or good thoughts and then for taking the time to send them in. We will give each person a 3 month free premium subscription for each entry received. If you are already a premium subscriber, we will extend your existing subscription for three months. Only two extensions per person will be given.

What does the free subscription give you? Free downloads of all articles and complete versions of the projecs. A Free copy of Alice Korach’s PDF book “Designs for Beaded Jewelry” 19 projects and 37 pages and finally 50% discount when you shop at on discountable items.

If you want the prize, simply email your pictures and comments. To get the subscription activated we will need your personal info like name, address and email address that you would like to use for registration. If you have a password that you would like to be registered with, just let us know, otherwise we will just create one for you and you can change it later. Iif you are already a Premium Subscriber we will just extend you subscription.

June 11:

Dear Aunt Acid,

First off, I find it hard to refer to you as "aunt" when, at the very least we're of an age, if I'm not older. . .

So, Ms. Acid I'd like to say that the apparent chaos in the photo you post as demonstrating a "messy studio" is anything but! Things of a kind are with each other, and where else would you keep your viola while restoring it? I only WISH that my studio were so tidy! I would encourage the craftsman to stow his painter's tape though. It looks like its trying to run away.

KT (6-9-08)

Dear KT,

So are we going to see a picture of your studio? And I am also wondering if Aunt Acid’s studio is neat and clean or not! ~ Bill

I really had to laugh when I saw that photo. I am not surprised that it resonated with so many.

Kat West’s “Messy and Dusty” Studio

Enclosed is a picture of (part of) my studio. This is how I like to keep it. I would be hard pressed to look anyone straight in the eye, and tell them that it ALWAYS looks like this. In fact, the Messy Table looked quite familiar.

However, I find it very difficult to create in the midst of chaos. I am very blessed to have a large work space. I have a china cabinet, two hutches, and a bookcase, and a smaller cabinet for glue, thread, tools. I organize my raw materials in plastic boxes with drawers sold in hardware stores for nuts and bolts. Seed beads and fire polished are separated by size, and somewhat by color range. Semi-precious is alphabetized. I have numerous hand painted paper mache boxes from India for holding druzy and hand made artist beads and the rest of the good stuff. Half a dozen cigar boxes hold brass, Swarovski , coral etc.

On the rare occasion that I have creative block, I start dusting and re-arranging.
(The dust doesn't show in the photo-right?). I look forward to seeing other artist's workshops.

Kat West

Dear Kat

Such organization, Wow! I find your view very relaxing out your window and see why you would love to bead in your studio. As far as dust......wait......I think I saw some <G>. Thank you for sharing ~ Bill

Denise-Desart-Strasser300wHere are the photos of my shop. Messy at this time........I am working on it! Thanks. I am glad to see I am not the only one who can work in chaos!!!!

Denise DeSart-Strasser
Designs by Dagmar

Denise’s Studio

Dear Denise

This is really not that bad. Here’s a hint. With your 3 month free subscription you can download tons of BeadBugle.Com projects and then store them on a single DVD disk. That would free up the top shelf here you are storing all you old magazines <S>. ~ Bill

Send us pictures of your studio...Messy or Clean. By the way...we can always use just your initials Donna Milliron if it is TOO messy. (In an email my friend called Robert Dancik’s studio a “piker” when compared to her studio)

From Our Readers:

Hi, The photos of the studios today were messy?? I wish I had the view!! Here is my messy studio, beading/wire station and polymer station:



Who can be creative and a super neat, not me.

Monica A. Galley-Keller

tsk tsk... So you have TWO areas or One?  On my way up to your site.  Mikey, the bead dog is having surgery and I need a new necklace to perk him up! ~ Bill

Thompson1wHere are some pictures of my 'messy studio'.  Actually this is 2 spaces.  The first 2 pictures are of my "upstair" studio where I used to work all the time.  Now I have family issues that make it more convenient to stay downstairs to work.  SO - my dining room table has become my Studio2!  Less room so it's even more messy!

Gayle Thompson
G.O.T. Clay




Gayle, it would appear that your hobby/business is slowly taking over your home <s> ~ Bill








Send in photos of your Studio and/or beading work area and remember if it’s real messy and you don’t want you name associated with it I can print just you initials by request <S>









Messy Gina Reed


When I read about the messy studios, without changing anything I took the enclosed picture.

Gina Reed

Oh Gina, you are WAY too neat!.  Keep up your good organization ~ Bill



DiVaStudio-DianeVannier400I relocated from California to Colorado almost a year ago and I still haven't quite finished unpacking my "Bead Room". In addition, I am working on bead projects, while discovering new things (PMC, Wire, cord making). Add in a visit from my sister who decided to design four necklaces she wants me to make for her (notice the layers) - and tada - my studio!

At least now I know I am in good company ; )

Diane Vannier

Diane,  Considering a major are allowed to be messy.  Welcome to California! We have a larger picture on the website of your studio. ~ Bill


I love my workstation. I have all of my pearls and gemstones in bins organized by color (see photos). To the right, I have all of my silver and gold components, organized by category (Jumprings, beads, headpins, earring tops, wire, etc). It is all set up at my computer desk so that I can listen to music and look at my designs while I make jewelry. Then when I am done, I can price everything right at my desk.

Karen-Schieb1I did not show photos of my kitchen and dining room tables when I am in the middle of a huge production. But when I am, all pieces are in trays neatly arranged awaiting photos and packaging before delivering to stores.

So you can be organized and creative!!

Thanks for the fun contest!!

Karen Schieb
Schieb Designs
Houston, TX

Karen,  You work space is beautiful. I love the use and adaptation of containers to fit your needs. I also am interested in the placement of the computer in your studio.  How many artist studios have a computer as an essential tool for creating and accounting for their jewelry?



IdeaWrks-MessPlease don't use my name (I'd be embarrassed) BUT this is my work space. I'm pretty new at beading so I have just begun to take over this room ... I seem to work OK is chaos.

Dear Madam X,

Oh My Gosh!  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  I think your work area is VERY NEAT! It seems today’s mail has brought us a fair share of neat and orderly versus messy.~Bill


KlewStudio1400wDear Bill,

Photo one is of my clay bead table, where I don't actually "bead" as others have written in but I make beads. The next photo is the other side of the studio where I work on the business end of the bead business, scanning, uploading to my site etc.

Sufficient yet it is a bit messy.

I try to clean it prior to every show I travel to so that when I come home with a fresh mind full of ideas I am ready to sit down and begin! At the moment I am in production for a gourd festival.


The Spirited Bead & Klews Gallery
435 West J Street
Tehachapi, CA 93561

Klew, Great to hear from you on all fronts and nice to see you are checking out the BeadBugle.Com Daily.  For those of you that are not familiar with Karen Lewis’ work she is one of the VERY top polymer clay bead artists and teachers in the world.  Her signature work is easily recognized and valued....even her work area is fairly well organized with standard containers and drawers.  Nice job Klew!

Oh My Gawd,

Bill, these people do not understand the word "mess" !!!!! Their idea of chaos is what I aspire to in organization!

Donna Milliron (Pate de Verre Tile Goddess)

Dear Donna, I know that these messy studios are simply humble attempts of discorganization when compared to the queen of messy, but when, when will we see your studio? ~ Bill

Dear Aunt Acid,

Caryn1First off I love your name.

I have a messy studio. Even my messes have messes. I share it with my birds and husband. This is only part of what there is. Wish to be organized one of these days.










Dear Caryn,  I see the bird cage, but I see absolutely NO room for your husband or what might be an area for his hobby.  Is he into beads as well?  How many rooms are dedicating to your bead hobby? This of course are questions from a male perspective <S> ~ Bill

Bill, thank you for showing my "messy studio" in your newsletter. It was a real thrill to see my studio on line and it was not just from me displaying it in Photoshop!

My jewelry is for people to wear. I did start out in 1999 making jewelry for pets to wear, but I was ahead of the times, and only sold 10. In 2004 I started to sculpt dogs and create jewelry. I can sculpt anything in clay and recently completed my sketches and designs for horses.

Thanx for visiting my web site.

Your Welcome Monica.  Mikey is looking for some more “Manly” beaded necklaces he has many for each holiday like July 4th, Holloween, King’s season, Christmas, winter and spring.  A bead dog can never have too many things to wear.  Sorry you aren’t doing that anymore. ~ Bill

Scarborough-beadstudwDear Bill,

My studio and office really have taken over my house AND a nearby shed. I will just send photos of the beading area. I don't seem to have any of the wirework/clay/metal clay/resin and assorted jewelry crafts for now. The shed holds mostly my library and also sewing studio, a second dedicated writing area, and music related stuff.

I'm a very color oriented person (seven of my pieces were just featured in Margie Deeb's new book, A Beader's Color Palette) so I painted my organizing drawers in shades to match the color family of the beads inside. On the upper tiers of drawers I have my lampwork bead collection, my new collection of Swarovski stones, some pre- glued cabochons, special strands and beads of other types.

Scarborough beadrefThe lower drawers have my seed beads by color (more or less, when I straighten them out every three or four projects after mixing them all up for specific projects) and size--delicas in the taller cabinet (with two stacks of plastic drawers holding my finished projects so I can grab them to wear as I go out the door), then size 11's, 8's and 6's in the other cabinets. The tall antique printer's cabinet got a disrespectful but colorful treatment too and holds most of my cabs, both natural stone and dichroic glass, as well as a few resin and vintage pieces from online. The slotted spaces between the sets of drawers hold projects in progress.

Scarborough-beadeskmwThe work desk faces my TV and has deep drawers for boxes of special beads, my backing materials, string materials, tools and so forth. I spread my project in the middle on a cookie sheet with a vellux blanket on the top. I can switch the cookie sheets between the slots behind me and the desk if I need to stop something and start something else which happens more often than I like. The work desk also has a deep file drawer and shelf that holds my smaller size Lacy's stiff stuff, templates, size 15 seed beads (when not jumbled with their bigger friends for a project), a turntable, extra Ott Lite bulbs, and--er--miscellaneous. Including some Egyptian made collars I used as inspiration for my cat collar. The cabinet under the window holds all the stuff I haven't pulled out of it onto the floor where I can reach it more easily. The colored magazine organizers hold magazines I also haven't pulled onto the desktop or the floor to use more easily and the book case under the window is for frequently used bead books. The main book cases hold my larger books. The rest of the room has the couch. The ratty old chair has been since covered with Laurel Burch fabric in case I ever showed photos to anybody--hah! I never took photos of it apparently.

Scarborough-shelfcrwjpgColor coding the bead collection got me into doing a lot of decorative painting elsewhere in the house too. For more photos and pix of beadwork, as well as my books, cats and other art projects, see my site: Hope you enjoy these!

Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

PS: I'll send along some more pix of my beadwork by separate email for your new spotlight page in case you'd like to use them too. You featured my Egyptian collar (also featured in Margie Deeb's new book) a few years ago.

Dear Ann,  Good to hear from you again and yes please send in your latest work.  Your studio appears to be organized and cheerful.  Look forward to seeing you work in Margie’s new book.  I Haven’t received my copy yet. ~ Bill


June 16 - More Messy Studios (they just keep rolling in!....Thank You)!



I remember a a sign that said "If a cluttered desk represents a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk represent?" I use that expression as an excuse for my beadroom. I sort of know where everything is, and it usually doesn't take me more then 20 minutes to find anything.LOL Plus my Beadroom doubles as the guest room and home office.

Actually, looking around I realized that my room is neater then normal. Probably because I'm recovering from having my husband's aunt staying with us for 2 weeks. Talk about withdrawal! I missed my desk and computer so badly!

The desk usually has 3 or more projects going on it at once.


I have two magnet bars screwed to the wall next to the desk. Keeps my tools handy yet out of the way. I do need to get a third as I'm running out of room. Oh, and the bars make a great ledge for displaying my kids art! So that's my only claim to neatness I have!


ida3This is only one side of my closet. And even though it might look sort of organized, its not. I haven't gotten those little drawers organized at all. But I do have fun digging through them when looking for beads. Oh, yeah, the door is usually open.


This is my "Bead Drawer," Its sort of organized, in that I tried to keep each box to its own category. So there's one labeled clasps, one earring parts, crimping, etc. There are also several boxes filled with beads that got tossed in a rush to clean. The drawer is about 28 X 29X 8 inches. I'm able to store 24 of those bead boxes easily with extra space.

I always joke that if I won the lottery, I'd hire someone who's job it would be to organize and maintain my beads! I need a bead librarian!

Beads to you!,
Ida Northcott


I think everyone needs a bead librarian (lol).  It looks like you seem to have a lot under control for such tight spaces that you have with the volume of beads you own.  Anyone want to be Ida’s bead librarian....when she wins the lottery of course! ~ Bill

Here is a picture of my studio.


When the contest started I was going to at least clean up the floor but realized it wouldn't happen. As you can see I am mostly organized and do know where everything is, however, when I get into a designing frenzy it spills off the desk onto the floor.

I go to clean up the floor and organize a bit but end up sitting in the middle of the floor with my bead board and design with whatever is within reach.

My husband often jokes with me about getting one of those extend an arm tools so I don't have to move. The funny thing is my dining room looks like this too....but that I clean up periodically for company. I don't mind sitting in this chaos as it becomes a place of solitude when no-one bothers me because they are afraid to enter.

My website is

Mo ~ Wow you have more strands that many bead stores I have seen.  I can only image what is in the drawers and cabinets.  As far as sheer bead volume you are leading the pack I think ~ Bill

Has anyone thought about using some of the photos for teaching children?

How many things do you see that start with (letter)?  Or, can you find (a specific color)?

Due to the size of my yarn stash, and other clutter in the house, my beading must be confined to a very small space and put away each time.


Dear MM,

I don’t think that I have MM, but I think you need to expand a little on your idea and tell us how you would do it.~ Bill

I really love this thread.  I do hoarding of goodies for embroidery as well as beading, so although am lucky enough to have a whole room, still have enough stuff to Katya1350spill out in to the hall....

Things have been getting worse for a while, BUT have been organising with the help of my dear friend for a couple of months now, and should be able to send you the after pics in the next week or so (frantically crossing fingers and touching wood!) Thanks again for supporting this fun topic,




Katya ~ We would all love to see the “after pictures” Please send them in to us when you are done. ~ Bill

Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.
- Anonymous

This quote was sent to me by my friend Donna Milliron. This quote often reflects my feelings on days when I wonder if anyone is reading this column and if anyone even cares <S>

Request Information About The Beaders Center Stage June 2008 : You can view it at

I would like to know if there is a pattern available for this bracelet.

Katherine Johnson

Dear Katherine,  The piece that you are inquiring about was done by Suzanne M. M. Warner I have contacted her and there is no pre-process pattern or plans for one, sorry ~ Bill


Dear Aunt Acid & others. The enclosed will give you an idea of what a bead room looks like when you have had a flood in the house and the gentlemen from the flood cleaning company come in and pack up the room. Then once the furniture has been replaced, you get to go through all of the boxes and find out what you really have. And then maybe in a month or so you will be able to find beads and play with them again and the bead withdrawal will end.

Sara Jane Pearman

Dear Sara Jane

So neat, so sterile, so very, very sad. We all hope you will be able to play with your beads very soon. It’s ironic how important the small things are after a tragedy. ~ Our best to you and your family ~ Bill




After seeing all the photos of what folks consider "messy", I decided it was time to send mine in. You guys are all way too neat.

Ingrid Frances Stark





Ingrid the Crafty helped kick of this event with her “first email to us, “I, too, have a chaotic studio. Shelves all the way around, phd (piled higher and deeper) with beads and bits of creative fodder. I think all beaders must be part magpie and part pack rat. At least all the ones I know are.”

Thank you for sharing the pictures of your studio with us. I shall always think of your studio when I read the letters PHD <S> ~ Bill



Here are a couple of pictures of my beading area. When we first moved to this house, I thought the “entertainment room” with its10 foot long bar would be a perfect work surface. Unfortunately, I like to keep things out when I’m working, and never seem to put them away, so my work surface has become a storage surface.


The second picture is my bead storage system. Notice the neatly stacked and labeled plastic boxes… then the pile of loose beads next to the boxes and on the shelf below… I had great hopes to get organized, but just haven’t quite managed it yet!

Heather Bernard
Lake Worth, FL


Years ago my husband gave me piece of granite that is inscribed thusly: "A cluttered desk is a sign of genius." Naturally I have kept this on all of my future desks and it applies as well to my beading desks.

Temmy Walker GRI, CRB, CRS

Hi I am a mix media artist, retired. So I do not sell my Olmstead1bead work or any of my work. The figure on the table is what I am beading. Have been working on it for a couple of years, as it keeps getting put away because of something else going on. I have one room apartment with kitchen, bath and bedroom and this is what I live with each day. I love beads and not only make jewelry but use them in my art work, needlework and tatting. The white cabinets and the brown one is where all my beads are stored

Kathryn Olmstead




(I feel as though I know you!) I once worked for a man whose desk, to put it mildly, was deplorable. I used the "messy desk being the sign of a messy mind" analogy on him and he replied, "So, I suppose that must mean an empty desk is the sign of... ?"

I love the dailies. So interesting and informative.

BJ Nicholson what was your response (lol) ~ Bill


I thought I would send in my organized studio since mine is a little bit different than most of the others submitted. I make lampwork beads in addition to finished jewelry pieces. So my studio has a "hot" area and a "cold" area and, due to safety reasons, never the two shall mix. I'm really only organized since it would be dangerous for my studio to be cluttered with potentially flammable items. It is great incentive to clean off projects and put them away when I am done working for the day.

linda2The pictures I have attached show the lampwork area on the stainless steel table and my beading area on the white table. Next to the white table is a set of drawers that contain all my beads in containers. Since the drawers are very short it make it easy to find what I am looking for since I can't stack bead containers on top of one another and still close the drawer. I use the top of the drawers as my photography area for getting pictures taken to upload to my web site. I also am including a picture of how I organize my glass rods in case any other lampworkers are interested. I got milk crates and put a solid bottom in so the rods couldn't fall through, and also added wheels on the bottom so I can move them linda3aeasily when they are full (the wooden one is currently holding between 15-20 lbs of glass). I then cut PVC pipe to about 10 in. lengths and put them all in the crates. The pipe makes sections that allow me to divide up my rods by color easily and easily see when I need to order more of a color.

Linda Yniguez


Well Linda, I am sorry to say that we have to deduct 5 points on your score for two different color glass boxes of which are not only different sizes, but different material as
well. (tsk tsk). This is EXACTLY like my friend DM’s, (no names used to embarrass the innocent or guilty) studio looks like and the same Donna Milliron who has not sent in a picture of her studio, of course. (S)

Linda, all kidding aside, this is a beautiful and well organized studio, truly one of the best I have seen for a working area so far. Kat West was going to be the neatest, but she forgot to dust. ~ Bill

On the topic of messy studios, there is a certain amount of creativity that is gained by the ability to have things out where they are visible. My studio is the dining room table, and I don't have a huge bead stash at present (so it does have to be put away) but I do much better when I can lay everything out and see it all at once. My brain makes better connections between visible things.

There is a book I read recently, A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder - How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and on-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place  by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman, that describes how many discoveries would not have been made had certain labs been tidy sterile places (penicillin for one...).

I do enjoy this thread very much--keep it up!

Vienna VA

Caroline,  This is the the first “strong” and documented defense for a messy studio.  Congratulations ~ Bill

I think there should be a law against having a work area as tidy as Linda’s. It must be illegal.


We have a lot of laws in America Jo, but to the best of my knowledge it is NOT against the law to have neat studio, to the best of my knowledge.  But it appears to be unusual to say the least.....very unusual <S>.


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