It's been so much easier to work in my studio this week after the sift and sort I did last weekend. It's a predictable routine that I go through several times a year. All is well and then the overwhelm seems to creep up on me slowly, scrap by scrap, until I reach the point where I can't function, which feels like I can't breathe, and suddenly the only thing I can do is clean. I've been struggling to figure out the workflow since I added the jewelry station so I started by attempting to move the furniture into better positions only to put it back exactly where it was two hours later... minus one of the surfaces... putting me behind not ahead. Thankfully, after a few slight adjustments, I was able to add a low dresser by the island where I can place pattern pieces when working on a project and a narrow cupboard near the jewelry station with my polymer tools on top and supplies inside.
It solved how heavy and crowded the room had been feeling but not how stuffed the stash had become. Lids wouldn't snap onto containers. Shelves had become dislodged. And I didn't want to open the cupboards doors anymore. Once you see potential, you see it everywhere, and so you save it, and it accumulates...rapidly... so rapidly that I am absolutely convinced scraps breed in the night. They definitely multiply without permission Mine were overflowing - whether it was thread ends, serger strips, parts with potential, projects to recycle, or fabric scraps. I know the accumulation is completely out of hand when I start piling things on the floor. That's never a good sign. It's usually the tipping point. Mine were on the floor, crawling over to the guest room, up onto the bed, and making themselves into stacks. It was way too much.
It took all day to go through everything and by the end there were several piles for friends, seven paper grocery bags full to go to the thrift store, a couple bags for the garbage, and LOTS of white space. Empty shelves. Low level containers. Piles with space above them. I can breathe again. I can create again. When I first collect potential, I'm excited about what it could become and that energy may sustain it through several cleanings and then the next cleaning comes and it has reached its best before date. It's gone stale but not for everyone, just for me. The ideas have stopped hopping around in my head. I look at it and I'm bored and uninterested even though the potential is still there. It's not my potential anymore. It's time for it to move out, to find a new home.
My definition of hoarding is keeping things I'm no longer using that could be useful to someone else. I really enjoy thrift shopping and the thrill of the hunt. I imagine someone else finding these treasures, taking them home, and exploring their potential. While I know that all income brackets thrift shop, I particularly love the idea that another woman who might not be able to purchase these supplies new will be able to enjoy a creative journey. It's one way I tithe to my community and support and encourage the creativity of others. It makes me happy and that...
... happiness seems to infuse the remaining potential with extra energy. I see it in new ways perhaps because I can actually see it again. While cleaning, I have touched everything in my studio, reconnected with things I'd forgotten, reminded myself of plans made but not executed, and begun to move in new directions. It's energizing.
Two of these necklaces needed clasps but otherwise were finished. The chip of broken china was a gift from a mentor I worked with years ago that my friend Claire set in a silver bezel for me... and then it waited for the perfect beads. I had them. I just hadn't made the connection until I cleaned. The polymer pendant was a copy of a textile piece I'd made years ago. It goes perfectly with a pair of pants sewn for my trip and is now finished and waiting to be packed. The heart necklace was made for the trip. It took a few twists and turns and almost didn't make it but now, post clean, it's done.
Cleaning reminds me of what I have and of plans I still want to explore. Two of my containers are of jewelry to be refashioned. Their potential may go stale before I get to them because I'm not at all sure where jewelry is going but I'm excited to see. It has called me back several times now so it's something to explore. I've narrowed the parameters some since the last time with less tools, techniques, and supplies and a tighter focus of polymer, epoxy, and metal with cold connections. I'm leaving on my holiday next week, taking a liquid polymer clay workshop. I've taken three other workshops this year about combining polymer and metal and have another one on making bespoke chains when I get back. That's a lot of theory. It's time to start practicing and see where it goes by beginning with the basics and building up. Beads seem like a wise choice considering how much I love necklaces and the idea of making one-of-a-kind art beads intrigues me. I'm quite excited about the workshop. It is the first time ever that I am travelling to take a workshop that is not about sewing. That surprised me when I realized it. It's time for different adventures. I am looking forward to new and fresh learning just as I'm enjoying my clean and fresh studio. YES YES! Have a thought to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk soon -