Saturday, January 1, 2011

LCS Saturday - Taming of the Stash

Main portion of my upstairs workspace
Hooray!  The baby new year is here!  My mind is racing, heady with all the possibilities ahead.  I am filled with hope, inspiration, excitement and yes, I am a little bit overwhelmed.  In these first few days of January, I am concentrating on making sure my workspaces are shipshape for all the creative energy about to blow through.  My Lost Coast studio is spread out between three separate spaces: two in my home and one at the school where I teach.  Primarily, I work in the upstairs studio which inhabits about half of my long, lean living room.  In the far right of this photo, you'll catch a glimspe of my microscopic kitchen.  The redeeming feature of this apartment is the gigantic loft ceilings that provide a much needed feeling of space.

And that space is absolutely crammed full of stuff!  No doubt you have your own crazy full stash, a conglomeration of art supplies that seems to have a life of its own.  Perhaps all that stuff you've collected is actually working against you.  Today's edition of Lost Coast Studio Saturday is all about making that stash inspirational again.

Last year, I vowed to dramatically decrease the amount of money I was spending on supplies and overall, I did just that.  The endless cycle of search, shop, and stash is beginning to break down and as a result, I discovered that I felt more relaxed in my space, more creative, more productive.  So as 2011 begins, I thought about ways to access the stuff I already own.  Here's some ideas for a "studio reboot":
  • Change up your organizational strategy.  If you typically file by designer, try sorting by color or theme instead.
  • If there is a specific theme you find yourself repeatedly drawn to, create a box just for it, and cull all areas of your studio for stuff that supports that obsessive interest.  I am particularly drawn to the Zetti aethestic so I have a "Zetti" workbox that holds all the papers, ribbons, and embellishments I think fit into that description.
  • Dig through your current system and rediscover what you own.  I guarantee you'll find stuff that you forgot you purchased. 
  • Freshen up your inspiration board:  Pull out those newly unearthed embellishments that wowed you in the store so long ago and pin them up!
  • Shuffle your supplies. Move things currently on the top shelf down to eye level and vice versa. If there are things you'd like to use but you have to get up and fetch them, shift those goodies so they are within arm's length.
  • Change the way you display and/or store.  Remember that out of sight often means out of mind!
  • Once a week (or month) revisit techniques and/or supplies you've shifted out of focus due to time constraints, competing interests, an evolving style, or overwhelmed brain cells.     
  • Re-evaluate supplies and tools that you used covet.  For example, I used to be in love with eyelets.  However, I haven't set an eyelet in anything for as far back as I can remember.  Browse the internet and see what artists are doing now with the things you once adored.  If your creative juices don't begin to boil with renewed enthusiam, it might be time to find those supplies a new home.
  • Get rid of supplies you really aren't going to use again.  Sell your destash items on Ebay, Etsy, Artfire or your blog.  Or donate those supplies to a school art program or  a women's shelter that offers creative classes to its clients.  (Better yet: offer to teach a class at that shelter and use those supplies to fuel your endeavor.)
The bottom line here is to be honest with yourself.  Say, for instance, you know gel pens last longest if stored horizontally so you tuck them away in a plastic box.  But if you forget to pull out that box when journaling, what's the point?  Isn't used up better than dried up?  If you've resolved to doodle more in the new year, I suggest you get those oft-forgotten gel pens into a pretty teacup and put them right on your work table.  Your supplies should work for you, not work you over.  And really, how many eyelets do you want to leave to relatives when you die?  Figure out your priorities: creating vs. collecting.  2011 is now one day old.  How will you take control of your creative life this year?


roc said...

your workspace is so organized and clean! good for you! my space always looks like a cyclone went through it!

Terri Kahrs said...

I honestly think I'm going to print a copy of this post and will keep it handy! Yes, I HAVE discovered that I've purchased duplicate supplies!!! OMG! The worst is when I KNOW I have something but can't seem to find it!!! Happy New Year! Hugs, TErri xoxo

Papillon Bleu said...

Out of sigh = out of mind...Aaaaaah...this is why my working space is in such a terrible state! he!he!

I love your banner very much by the way.

dmuseit said...

This has been a VERY inspiring post. I like the previous poster's suggestion of printing it out and posting it where I see it frequently.

gracie said...

Thank you for emailing me about your inchie technique. I've been reading your blog and love it. In fact I'm heading downstairs to organize right now! Ha. And to cut out inchies for February. :)

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