Designing Your Workspace | An Interview: Maggie Minor

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a beautiful soul, and wonderful artist, Maggie Minor. We had a great Skype chat all centred around the space in which so many of us spend our day and the vast and varied forms that this particular space might take. We spoke about the ways in which we can maximise the creative potential of this space and how the artwork and furniture in this space really does impact on the work you do. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your work!

I’m Maggie Minor. My passion is teaching people how to successfully surround themselves with objects that bring positivity and growth to their lives; educating people to successfully collect art in the changing art world; and empowering others to embrace their own creativity through my sculpture, prints, and books. 

2. Why is it important to think critically about your workspace? What's at stake and what is to be gained?

I believe that our workspaces are a reflection of where we want to go. In other words, our future. The reason? Because what we see everyday stays in our subconscious. When we’re in our workspace for eight plus hours a day we are absorbing everything we see and feel and it affects how we work, what we think about when we’re working and how comfortable we feel with our work and more importantly ourselves.

When we transform our workspace into a space that makes us comfortable and in tune with where we want to go then we are more easily and quickly able to get into the flow of creating a brand and products that are authentic.

3. What steps would you recommend when designing your workspace?

First, I recommend clearing the space so the walls are blank and it is void of furniture. Then schedule some time to spend with the blank space and think about how you want your brand to 1) make you feel and 2) make your ideal client feel; and then allow images associated with those feelings to come into your mind. Write them down. 

At the same time think about ‘how’ you like to work. For example, when I started telecommuting for my old job 4 years ago, I bought a desk and swivel chair for my home office because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. However, as my workdays progressed I would find myself migrating to the spare couch that I was storing in the room. Then my puppy started sleeping next to me on the couch while I worked making me feel connected and at ease. I never went back and my productivity increased dramatically. 

So with this in mind I encourage you to figure out what kind of workspaces you work best in. It could be a desk and a swivel chair, but it could also be a beanbag chair or a balance ball chair. If you have never experimented with this try a couple of different things till you find the one that feels right to you.

Once you’ve set up your basic workspace furniture, bring in your vision board and place it directly in your line of vision (i.e. where you look when you’re not looking at your computer). If you don’t have a vision board then print out images that represent how you want your brand to feel and put them in your line of vision. If needed reference what you wrote down when the room was blank to inspire you.

While going through this process make sure to remember that like your business and brand your workspace is always in evolution. So if you don’t have a clear idea about certain aspects of your company, leave the walls blank. Because what you definitely don’t want to do is fill your walls with things that are going to distract you or make you think of the past. This is a space for moving forward!

3. Some people are met with limitations when designing their workspace, such as small spaces, renting so they can't hang hooks, or the work area might be co-inhabited by other members of the family - what solutions to these limitations can you suggest?

I recommend really utilizing your line of vision. For example, if you have a small desk that is in the kitchen make sure that as you work you are facing something that inspires you in reference to your brand. If everything in that space is a distraction from your work then make sure to face a wall and place your vision board or brand-inspiring images front and center. 

The same goes for co-inhabited offices. Make your line of vision your ‘space.’ For example, I know from my time working out of cubicle in a busy office that privacy is also a factor. After all, you might not be ready to share your vision with the rest of the world yet. One thing I did when I was planning to leave my job but wasn’t ready to tell my co-workers was to pin small quotes to the side of my computer that my co-workers could not see. So whenever I felt like my dreams were never going to happen I would take a deep breath, look over, and read my quotes. It always made me feel better.

Another suggestion for a non-traditional or cohabitated office is to invest in small artwork; something that inspires you and motivates you. It could be as simple as a post-card with art on the cover, a framed print, or a small simple painting or sculpture.

If you are renting and cannot hang anything on the walls, buy a large bulletin board and prop it up on top of your desk or on the floor (depending on the size). Then tack images, quotes, and artwork to the board. 

4. In terms of hanging art in the workspace, so many people would love to do this, but they either feel it's to expensive or it's an indulgence. What are your thoughts on this?

I think that people don’t invest in art because they are hesitant to invest in themselves. One thing I’ve noticed over the last 4 years as a professional artist is that the people who buy my work are confidant and think they’re worthy. It’s really a beautiful thing to watch someone come into my gallery walk around with a look of awe and then turn to me, smile and say, “I want that one!” They believe that they deserve beautiful things in their lives and most importantly they believe that they deserve abundance. 

As an entrepreneur, I think that it is important for us to surround ourselves with beautiful things that make us feel abundant….and the best part about it is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot. It could be as simple as buying a small print or post-card. It could even be as simple as printing out an image that you really love from the internet. In fact, one of the freebies on my website is a free printable art poster

For a more polished look, you could purchase a framed print or a canvas wrapped print. They come in a huge range of sizes so your purchase can be customized depending on your budget and available space. For example, I have 8’’x 8’’ poster prints for US$12 and 8’’x 8’’ canvas wrapped prints available for US$65; but I also sell 56’’x 56’’ canvas wrapped prints that cost $725 that look great in loft spaces. 

There are also countless sizes options and art styles available on sites like Fine Art America (with printers and shipping facilities all over the world) and ImageKind (US only).

If you feel that original art would best inspire you and reflect your brand, I recommend visiting Saatchi Art online. They are a curated online gallery showcasing emerging and established all over the world.


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MEET MAGGIE MINOR

Maggie Minor’s passion is teaching people how to successfully surround themselves with objects that bring positivity and growth to their lives; educating people to successfully collect art in the changing art world, and empowering others to embrace their own creativity through her sculpture, prints, and books. Her work sells throughout the US. 

Maggie’s road to sculpture was a long winding one that began when she earned a Bachelor of Art in history and art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the United States. During this time, she spent a life-changing semester spent at the University of East Anglia's Sainsbury Institute of Art in England, where she realized that the world is full of possibility and new things to learn. From there, she spent a year working at the New Yorker magazine.

However, the world beckoned her to see more so she packed her bags and moved to Australia to earn a Master of International Studies from the University of Sydney. This led to 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria and over 10 years designing economic and democratic reform project in developing countries. 

In 2012, she dropped her bags in Asheville, North Carolina determined to follow her life long dream of being an artist and entrepreneur. Since then she has created a new colorful organic-influenced genre of ceramic sculpture, written a book about how her world travels have influenced her, and opened herself up to possibility and creativity like never before. 

She looks forward to the future.

To learn more, visit Maggie Minor Designs on the web!