Friday, 10 July 2015

The Mess

Creativity has a nasty doppelganger called Mess. It just creeps up on you. At first you don't notice and you just work around it...until that day comes when you can't find your scissors and think you must have last seen your laptop...um... around here somewhere. My DDs visit and have no sympathy for my predicament. They gather up the creative nests I've left around the house and bring them all into my sewing studio ...so that there's really no room left for me to do anything. Except tidy.
It somehow looks worse when photographed in HD. If I saw this in anyone else's room, I'd think it was a disgraceful mess. In fact, it -is- a disgraceful mess. AND ITS ALL MINE!
I'm spending the day sitting here instead of out shopping with my DDs. They can't believe I get anything done in amongst all the stuff and looking at these pics, I can't believe it either. Honestly you wouldn't believe it to look at this room, but I am actually a very organised person.
I've got some clear plastic boxes for sorting things out. I'm packing things away in 'lots' of usefulness. Now that I'm volunteering in a school, I'm seeking out fabrics that appeal to children.
 Like this one, isn't it great?
 OK enough blogging for today, I have things to organise, pack, label and do...
How do you keep your creative space under control? My own theory about keeping space has been rather free range these last 10 years and as you can see, it's not working for me. I need a new system. 

32 comments:

  1. Sorry Esther I can not help LOL as my sewing room looks just like that at present too, I planned to work on tiding mine up on Wednesday but had to do the side veranda and washing area that looked like a tornado had hit it after we had a new washing machine installed you would not believe how much had to be moved to fit it in!!!!! I put aside an hour but it took me 3 hrs to clean every thing up on the side veranda by then I had run out of steam so my sewing room still looks like your LOL. Cheers Glenda

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    1. Hi Glenda, I know you have to work double hard with all the mold issues up in QLD. Another problem with tidying up is that I keep finding interesting things...and get sidetracked, it takes double the time to sort out projects and fabrics because I get involved with them all over again!

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  2. Why does it seem that the one piece of fabric you need is always in the last box opened? By then you are not ready to stop and put everything back again...you want to move forward on your project. Good Luck with your organization.

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    1. Hi Sandra, when you find out, let me know! My stuff is always in the last bag, the last box or tucked impossibly away...

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  3. It really is a challenge when I am working on more than one project at once. Seems I pull all the fabrics together and end up with piles all around. I have started limiting myself to only 2 or 3 projects out at a time and that helps some but I still need to tidy up about once a week!

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    1. I have about 8 projects on the go and if I didn't slip them into project bags, I would be all over the place. It definitely does get confusing!

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  4. Ah, yes, Glenda, I do that too!!!!

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  5. Hilarious to hear you talk of your wonderful mess. Love the line it's a disgraceful mess and it's all mine. You are not alone in thinking that way. Even when things get messy I still love it all.

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    1. Yes, I can't blame my DH for any of the mess in our home - its really all mine. And yes, I love it!

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  6. Esther, you have made me feel so much better. My new sewing room has been a mess from when I moved in to it 6 months ago. My DH and I dumped everything in and of course I just started using it and the mess grew.
    Spent time last week tidying mine but it's still not finished as I wanted to get back to sewing, I do now know where more things are and am sure you do to. Good luck on keeping a tidy room, I know I won't.
    Cheer's Jenny

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    1. Hi Jenny, honestly when I look at 'sewing studios' in magazines, I wonder how they get any work done? Being so perfectly arranged as they are.

      My room is quite bad at the moment - because I'm so busy. Every now and then I have to stop everything and haul it all into some kind of order - just so I can start my creative mess cycle all over again.

      My DDs think its a bad idea to show images of my messy studio, but I don't care. This is what creativity actually looks like for me!

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  7. Thank you for your post. I'm so glad to see, for my husband thinks I'm the only one in the world with such a mess. The only difference is that I mostly work in our living room, though I really have my own room.
    Greetings, Mar

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    1. Hi Mar,

      I was seriously considering moving my sewing room to our lounge room as the space is bigger and the light is better on dark days. Unfortunately my lounge room is 'open plan' and it would look like someone burgled us every time we stepped inside. Luckily, my studio is currently in a room and I can SHUT THE DOOR. Bliss.

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  8. Dear Esther,
    it is a miracle, no matter how nice and tidy the sewing room was before starting to play in it. Afterwards it is always in total chaos. I don't have a clue when and how I turned into a tornado, but it does happen in the process. I clean up when the girls come over for a sewing weekend. Nice motivation to have sewing visitors and make them think I am soooo organized.

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    1. We should install time lapse photography to capture the 'magic' moment it all turns to chaos!

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  9. Hmm my kids call me a neat freak I can't work in a mess lol. I try to clean up before I work on anything or after I have made the mess. Actually lately I want to get rid of all the fabric I have had for years as it bothers me that it's not being used. Since I am appliqueying more I don't do as much machine work. Although whe we moved a year and half ago I did get rid of tons. So that is my next step to clear out more. Bunny

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    1. Hi Bunny,
      It's taking me YEARS to downsize and I still haven't achieved it. I envy you your neat streak, its a beautiful thing to have.

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  10. The secret is LESS. Take half of it and give it away. I spent 35 minutes this morning making three piles of one box. Give away (or sell), repo fabs and other fun fabs. Certainly just a drop in the bucket one paper carton, but two weeks worth and a corner will be free!!!! LESS

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    1. I know it doesn't look like it, but I have been selling and giving away a LOT of my stash. In fact, from this tidy up alone I have two huge (15kg each) sacks of fabric I'm donating and I've boxed the rest of the fabric I need to release in the garage so I can grab it and put it in my car whenever I go somewhere where fabric might be wanted. Less is more, totally agree!

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  11. To add to the "less" camp, one thing that is helping me is less categories and a specific amount of space for that category. For example, I use med sized boxes for WIP/UFO and planned projects. The space for them will hold 20 bins. I can't add until I clear something out. There's one shelf for "irresistables" (the fabric that was too cute / too cheap to pass up. Another small section for priorities. Recently I wanted to clear out a drawer to expand the batik collection so the fabrics "I no longer love" moved to a "priority bin" to make a donation quilt. And about once a month, I spend a few hours moving everything that's drifted out of it's space back to where it belongs.

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    1. Good system Marjorie, I wish I had started out with one. I have one now, but I started quite late into my quilting life...almost too late if I'm honest!

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  12. My DD helped me clean out my sewing room two weeks ago. We put up a pegboard, gave away a sewing machine cabinet and replaced it with a shelving unit that has 9 cubes for projects, cleared off all surfaces by putting stuff away or throwing it out, bought clear acrylic dividers for drawers, bought decorative boxes to hold really big projects in progress, etc. All of my rulers are hanging on nails on a wall space so I can see all of them at a glance (and it's really pretty with the various colors and shapes.) I am determined from now on that I will put one project away in its box or bin or whatever before I get another project out to work on. I have high hopes that this will keep this room tidy enough that I will know where things are. Pinterest is a great source of organizing ideas!!!

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  13. Hmmm... I'm not a big fan of "less;" I think that's Womanly Guilt talking. Our fabrics, threads, notions and embellishments are the tools of our craft. Male artists don't feel guilty about owning too many art supplies. Did Monet feel guilty about owning too many paint brushes, paint colors, or canvases, or did he delight in having just the right colors and range of canvas sizes for every idea that popped into his head? Did Michelangelo or Rodin feel guilty about having too many blocks of marble to choose from when they wanted to make a sculpture, or did they enjoy being able to select the perfect piece of stone for every project?

    However, there IS such a thing as a paralyzing mess that prohibits creative work, and the only solution for that problem is reorganizing. I do try to straighten up between projects, but now that I've been starting new projects while others are still in progress, it's getting more challenging. And I do LIKE having "nests" all over the house with different projects in different rooms -- I think that makes it easier to keep things straight. After all, I have all of my toiletries in my bathroom because that's where I get cleaned up and dressed for the day. I have all of my cooking things in the kitchen where I need them to cook. I have all of my hand stitching applique supplies downstairs in the living room, because that's where I work on my applique, and my machine stitching supplies up in the sewing room with my sewing machine. Dumping my hand stitching supplies in my sewing room wouldn't help me any more than dumping my toothbrush, shampoo and pots and pans in my sewing room. The toiletries and cooking supplies don't belong there, and they would get in the way of using my sewing machines!

    Good luck to you with your tidying chore. The silver lining of such pursuits is often that you find some treasure you'd long forgotten about beneath your mess. I hope that happens for you!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rebecca Grace, you've raised some interesting points. I think the real 'problem' with textile art is that it often happens in the home. If I had a dedicated studio or building separate to my home, I would no doubt fill it up and run wild! Yes, there is an element of womanly guilt about it for sure.

      And you were right too, I did find some buried treasure, so I'm so glad I decided to tidy!

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  14. The best thing I can suggest is move house! My sewing stuff is ever so tidy. Downside is that most of it is in storage right now LOL

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    1. Well I've been downsizing for about 4 years now, what I need is to move house again! You're going to have a wonderful time setting up your sewing in your new home Anne Marieke, what a wonderful time for you.

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  16. LOL! I can't work in my room at the moment for the MESS. How did that happened, who did that?
    Luckily the weather is good right now, so I have moved out into the garden,
    until a fairy sorts it out for me :-)
    Yes, they do exist, but they seem to be a bit thin on the ground around here ;-), so I will have to face it, but I will wait until it rains :-))

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    1. It's gone cold down my way, perfectly quilting weather, so I was forced to be my own tidying fairy - otherwise there'd be no spot left for me to sew !

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  17. I wish I had a £ for every minute I've wasted looking for something in particular in my workroom! I share my workroom with two large printers, my quilting and teddy making supplies, as well as sculpting and painting supplies...not to mention my craft books and magazines. Tidying always seems like a waste of time when I feel I could be doing something creative instead. I do have to tidy between different types of projects as mohair clippings and polymer clay or paint really don't work well together! I LOVE choosing fabrics for a project from my stash, but I really hate the mess it makes. It seems to take forever to put the fabric back into some kind of order. In some respects, I envy quilters who only buy fabrics for their present project, so don't have the storage issues. I have industrial style racking for my fabric and supplies. Fabric sits directly on the racks sorted into colours, while smaller supplies are in large plastic boxes that sit on the racks.

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    1. Hi Sue,

      This sounds just like me! I have doll making, teddy bears, knitting, crochet, quilting, painting, oh my goodness, so many supplies! And yes, millions of books! My next 'project' is to try and thin down my books and magazines, there's just too many of them.

      Personally, whenever a quilter asks me about my opinion in starting out in quilting, I always tell them not to stash build - just buy what you need for the project you're working on and nothing more. Stash building was the biggest mistake I made in quilting. I regret it and it's costs me thousands of wasted dollars.

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  18. If you find a system that works, let me know! I don't even have room to cut or sew so I've moved that out into the living room and my husband really doesn't like it!

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Thanks for commenting!