Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Studio - De-Cluttered and Re-Organized

I just finished reading the blog of my good friend Anne Rayner-Gould, in which she tells the story of how her well-planned gift-giving and holiday food-making plans for Christmas were waylaid by a dramatic change in the weather in her corner of the province. I had a good laugh, because a similar thing happened to me. Only in my case it was illness that resulted in a change in plans, and in me waking up at home alone on Christmas morning. I was up long enough to greet the morning - and what a spectacular morning it was, with a few more inches of snow having fallen overnight - before crawling back into bed with a good book. But we'd had our youngest and his family through a few days earlier, and my sister-in-law to stay for a few days, so I didn't feel I'd missed out at all. My Sweetie drove his sister down to Duncan on Christmas Eve, and was back home in time to do a little present opening together Christmas Day evening. Not to get too philosophical, but it does seem that this happens with great regularity.. We make plans and we give ourselves deadlines and we think it's all going to work out just as we had imagined. And then, well life happens. In my younger days I would have found this frustrating, but nowadays I just chuckle. Anyway, that's why you didn't hear from me last week. But things are now on the up and up.
Much of my life over the last 2-3 weeks has been spent de-cluttering and re-organizing my studio. I had no idea it would take so long. But here it is - almost ready to greet the New Year. My space is an L-shped area in our basement. You come into it from the door on the right. When I first started working down here, I used the smaller part of the room - the part that's in the shadow in the background, and the "family room" occupied the larger part of the "L". It was dark with wood-panelling, until I painted the whole thing white a few years ago. But the children are all long gone and I now occupy the whole of it. In pride of place (of course) is my Bernina, set into an old oak desk (I used the drawer for it to sit in) that was an early purchase when we first came to the Comox Valley almost 25 years ago. It housed my older Bernina for many, many years, and has only recently been replaced by this model.
Here you are looking toward the door through which you enter the studio. The oak table has been supplemented by two Ikea tables on trestles. The one on the right is often occupied by a friend who comes over for a "sewing day", while the one on the left is leaning against my new photography wall. There is another smaller table at the end of the room, which is my desk, with a filing cabinet to the left of it. The inspiration board above it is also a long-time fixture, but I think its days might be numbered. To the right of that is a small design wall.
I have two Ikea cube units which contain all my fabrics and most of my supplies. Up until a couple of weeks ago, most of my colourful fabric was visible. But I made an interesting discovery when I came home from New Zealand. The sight of all that fabric was terribly distracting, and I actually missed my limited supply of fabrics from which to choose. So I added enough baskets to those I already had, so that the beautiful colours are no longer visible. I'm busy putting labels on them all, so I can still access them easily, and selling or giving away the fabric that I've culled from my "stash". It remains to be seen how this new-to-me system will affect my studio practice.
The smaller part of the room still needs a little work, but I'm almost there. There are a few too many boxes and bags of things, and my library needs to be reduced still further, and I'm thinking that the quilts draped over the quilt rack (and blocking the large design wall) might need to be rolled and stored like most of the others are, and the rack itself may need to go. And I definitely need to find a way to store the smaller framed works that are completed, while making them accessible to anyone who comes by. Because once the new Comox Valley Artists' Guide is published, a studio visit could happen "by appointment" at any time.
I have to tell you that this has been a massive project, but somewhere along the way this year, I've come to understand that I need to treat my creative space with the respect it deserves. And coming down to a clean studio, with the work I'm currently pursuing close at hand, while the rest of it is tucked away in an orderly manner, is terrifically liberating. When it's done, I will be free to move forward with my textile art and discover where this wonderful journey will take me in the coming year.

8 comments:

  1. What a great way to start the new Year! Wish I were near for a tour.

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    1. Me too, Lea. You'd be welcome for a visit anytime.

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  2. I love this post! Well done. I hope some of your perseverance rubs off on me - my own space needs an overhaul. Best wishes for 2018.

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    1. And best wishes to you too! It feels good having a clean slate ready for the beginning of the new year. It will be interesting to see how long it stays like this.

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  3. kudos for perseverance on the studio clean up, it looks very ordered and ready for the new year. Would that I could say the same of my workspace. A quick tidy is the best that can be hoped for before we welcome the new year but a firm goal for 2018 is to sort through and move to a new home the old and no longer needed items that weigh on me. Thanks for the inspiration! All the best to you and yours in the coming year.

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    1. All the best to you as you get ready for the move. Getting rid of fabric and supplies - even books - that are no longer of interest to you, but might be a windfall to someone else, is a great feeling.

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  4. It is great to have an organized studio space. It's well worth the effort. I redid mine a couple of years ago and it is a joy to go to my studio now. Congrats on getting yours done!

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    1. Thanks, Val. It feels really good - an especially fine way to begin a new year.

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