Thursday, March 1, 2007

Chaos in my wake

The thing that gets me stuck, as far as working on art/craft projects, is too much stuff. Stuff everywhere, and no clear space to work in, and things that can't be found to do what I want to do because there's no rhyme or reason to how things are stored. I've even been known to buy something that I'm pretty sure I already own - black Neopaque paint, for example - just because I can't find the one on hand.

Oh, there used to be organization: when all I did was gourds, I had one of those tall wheeled 5 drawer things that contained my tools, embellishments, paints, and dyes, and all of the things I needed fit in that one unit.

Then I branched out into polymer clay, and there were more tools, and jewelry findings, and wire, and different kinds of paints, and inks, and of course the clay itself, which you always have to buy more of when the local craft store puts it on sale at more than 50% off. Which meant more sets of drawers to house those materials.

Unfortunately, starting from the point where I focused on one medium and then expanded into several others, I didn't keep up with sorting things appropriately, because, you see, so many things cross over into other media, and my original system fell by the wayside.

My real downfall is the altered art. I have board books. Regular books. Altoid tins. Other tins. Little wood cabinets to be made into shadowboxes or shrines. 37 different kinds of glue (you think I'm kidding?) And paper - oh, god, the paper. Tissue, scrapbook paper, handmade paper, collage paper, plus all of the magazine pictures, old photographs, and ephemera (AKA "old paper that our forebears would never have imagined would be considered important or appropriate for making art from.") There are now shelves, and clear plastic shoeboxes, and stacking bins, and clear plastic envelopes, and little sets of drawers that sit on my tabletop. There are also multiple work surfaces, depending on what I'm doing - a large ceramic tile or glass board for clay, a self-healing mat for paper, newspaper for painting dolls... and everything requires storage space.

And there's also all the publications - Polymer Cafe, Art Doll Quarterly, Cloth Paper Scissors, Altered Arts, Belle Armoire, Legacy... I only subscribe to a couple, but periodically there'll be a special issue that catches my attention, and I'll have to add it to my library. These days I've gotten better about the actual books - I'll check things out of the library to make sure they're worth devoting the money and the space before I actually buy - but my art/craft library is still pretty large.

So this weekend I'm launching a reclamation project, in which I completely revamp the way my "studio" space is organized. I've secured a pile of empty boxes, and I plan to spend at least an hour each day sorting the drawers and the boxes and the piles of art supplies into categories, and ridding myself of some things (I have a bad habit of buying things just because they look interesting/useful, not because I actually already have a use for them, so I'm sure there are at least a few things that can go to a new home.) Once I have a better grasp of what all is there I'll be better able to assess what I need in terms of additional storage and how things can be set up for future, on-going organization.

And no, I WON'T post before and after pictures. Maybe after. Before is just too depressing. (Note: the pic above is NOT my space. Mine is not that bad. Really.)


Sandy said...

Hey Lisa

I had a little chuckle when you described your studio. Yours is way bigger than mine, you lucky girl, but you and I sound like soul sisters. I have the same problems/habits/challenges that you are having. I'm not into much other than ATCs, altered art, greeting cards and collages, but let me tell you, I think the paper is multiplying while I sleep. I've gradually been weeding thru stuff so my studio is in better shape now than it was a 8 weeks ago but it's still far from perfect.

I belong to a group called "the Organized Studio" and I've found it to be very helpful. You might want to give them a visit.

BTW - love your blog - May I link you?


Lisa said...

It's funny - I recently joined the "Organized Studio" Yahoo group. It has helped, esp. in terms of "how to store *this*" issues - no sense reinventing the wheel when others have already done the work, and there are so many good ideas at least SOME are going to apply to my needs.

As far as linking to me, feel free! I think you'll be the first.