I am relieved to find out that I am not the only one feeling overwhelmed by the state of my studio. (Although, I am pretty sure I win the prize for the messiest studio!) I’ve heard from many other artists who are also looking at their studio space with a heavy heart. These spaces are sucking our creativity. I am certain that my lost mojo is in here somewhere. I’m on a mission to organize and reclaim my studio space. I feel that my work is stale and that if my studio had a good airing out, maybe my jewellery would be better. But what to do with all this stuff? It’s all good stuff. I hope readers have some organizing tips for me!
Everything in here was put here by me. This was a perfectly empty garage a few years ago. But in all fairness to my studio, I don’t think it has ever recovered from its last move. I used to have my studio space in my house. But after nesting in there for ten years, I had to give up the space when we had kids and we needed to build bedrooms. My old studio was in a walk-out basement and had four large windows that faced south west…when it was my studio space, I was in heaven. So bright, so handy, so large. Then I moved to a single car garage. It is about 1/2 the size of my old space, yet I brought everything from my larger studio and squished it into the new space. That was my first mistake with this space!
In the beginning it felt a bit like camping in there. One light bulb on the ceiling, no heat. Over time, we added insulation, a window and a heater. Then the stuff started to come….and come…and come. The busier I got with the magazine, the less time I spent working in there. But somehow the “I don’t know where to put it Gremlins” moved in when I wasn’t looking. And my once modest single car garage became the dumping zone…both for art materials and household items.
But what to do with all this “stuff” now? Will I ever make stained glass again? Paint with acrylics? Work on my potter’s wheel? Maybe yes, maybe no. Do I have room for it? No. Do I like tripping and banging my shins on it? No. But I do know that the minute I move out something, I’ll realize that I need it. For example: I had about 150 Mylar balloons. (My mother-in-law found them and thought I might “do something” with them.) I had them hanging around for 12 years. Not 2 days after I got rid of them….my friend Kathleen e-mails me a photo of her slip trail work in metal clay…guess what her secret tool was…. A moment of silence for my lost Mylar balloons.
In my ongoing search for “inner studio peace” I started to read articles about clearing clutter. Every once in a while I was motivated to come back into my studio. Then after a few days of “pushing things around” I’d give up…and go back to working in the 12″ x 12″ clear space I managed to find…and the clutter just seemed to populate. Determined to over come my clutter, I sought out books about clutter. (I now own at least 4!) I have all the bins, and drawers, and organization tools I should need, but the space has never been pulled together. I have little “goat trails” in my studio to get from one part of my studio to other. If I don’t move too fast, nothing falls over.
My need for a neat studio reared its head again when I read about the popular Japanese organizer Marie Kondo who counsels the “stuff challenged” to look at each thing we own and ask if it “sparks joy”. If the object did not “spark joy” we were to get it out of our space. I think my studio could wear out her “spark joy” theory. Despite scoffing at her idea, it planted a seed. The idea has percolated in my brain. Perhaps the key to getting a grip on my messy studio is to sort like with like and not just try to move through the mess like a snow plow?
So now that I’ve showed my studio…will you show yours? Maybe we could encourage each other as we clear our studios and “heal our artselves.” (Quoting Ann Davis from the article in part one of this series.) You can share comments and ideas below and on our Facebook page:
If you don’t see a new post here next week, please call the authorities as I may be buried under a “stuff avalanche” in my studio.