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45 Unexpected Studio Essentials

45 Unexpected Studio Essentials

Posted by Amber Demien on May 29th 2024

Every artist has those “must-have” items or rituals that are indispensable to her studio practice. Sometimes these essentials are practical, enabling one to create with ease and efficiency, but sometimes they are more unexpected, catering to emotional comfort, providing inspiration, allowing for rest, or simply encouraging a smile in an otherwise hectic day. The talented artists featured on the pages of  In Her Studio often share their studio essentials, so we’ve handpicked some fun and unique items to share with you here. Whether or not you take these as specific recommendations or they simply inspire a new idea for your own studio, this list is sure to benefit your own creative practice. 

1. Sunlight

2. Positive self-talk

3. Grace (toward myself)

4. Awareness to pause and rest

5. Play

6. Curtains to control the light

7. My modern ceiling fan by WAC

8. Dedicated chargers for every device in the studio so I never have to go looking for one


9. Field trips: I love to “play hooky” and take an unexpected field trip to buy a plant for my desk or visit a bookstore for a reference about one of my subjects. No day is dull when you are free to do what you want!

10. Naptime: Sometimes the best thing to do is take a nap. I treat my studio like my bedroom. I want to feel safe here. If I want to nap, I will first set a goal of what I want to achieve afterward.

11. Eyeshadow brushes to clean my sewing machines

12. Swiffer dusters to collect fabric lint around the studio

13. My well-worn painty pants

14. Iced tea in summer and hot tea in winter

15. Old Sperry topsiders for clomping up to my studio through dewy grass

16. Burt’s Bees lip balm


17. My Ammie “Y’all” rainbow mug

18. Cozy slippers

19. Singing along to Elton John and Alan Jackson

20. Dancing to the “Mama Mia” or “Chicago” soundtrack

21. The motivational quote I transformed into a sign reminding me to keep persevering if I get discouraged


22. A chair large enough to sit crossed-legged on

23. An anti-fatigue standing desk mat with a massage bar

24. A virtual assistant to answer random questions and play favorite music, podcasts, and audio books

25. A window to view nature

26. Rainbows from my sun-catcher sticker

27. My husband bringing me coffee

28. My daughters

29. Chickens outside my window

30. A woolen throw featuring heroine Frida Kahlo

31. Rudyard Kipling’s poem “IF” — an all-time favorite


32. Beef jerky

33. Noise-canceling headphones

34. Essential oil diffuser: I like to spoil all my senses.

35. Lavender oil: I use this for painting fine details, and it also infuses the studio with a floral scent.

36. My Levi’s coveralls: I love painting in my coveralls, as I can wear layers underneath when it’s cold.

37. Being alone: It’s an exercise on how to love yourself and your own company.


38. Wool slippers or my red wool socks and old black clogs — I always feel ready to work once these are on my feet.

39. A bowl of fresh fruit — essential for snacking on during long studio days.

40. Fresh herbs — mint for tea and basil for salads and easy pasta lunches.

41. Vintage tin tea tray — I load it up with tea, scissors, threads, and my to-do list, and carry it around with me as I go about my routine.

42. An oat milk cappuccino made by some of my favorite people in the Mills Tea Room

43. Absolutely excellent scissors for every different task

44. Friends — I love it when my friends visit me at work.

45. Warm, comfy socks — it’s impossible to weave in shoes, and the studio is nearly always chilly.

Discover more tips and advice from artists in  In Her Studio magazine.

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