Friday, October 28, 2011

Creating a Space

There's been a lot of delay in my crafting, due to being in the process of a move.  What was supposed to be a quick and painless settling-in in a shiny new (old) bedroom-turned-workroom has turned into a lot of stress--and I'm not even painting the place!

why yes, that is a director's chair, two bags of Monster High dolls, and a large plush penguin in a Santa hat

I found my first problem to be the simple fact that I have too much stuff, and not enough of it is useful to my design process to warrant being in the room I'm supposed to be working in.  While some personal pieces are acceptable I need a clean, orderly space if I'm going to be working in it for hours a day.  Beyond that, I need little chance for distraction.  God knows, my Blackberry provides enough of that.

Some tips I've found to be useful in my own process of setting up a work space:

Separate Items Into "Work" Items and "Personal" or "Fun" Items
As much as I love my extensive collection of stuffed animals, they don't need to be in my work room, and furthermore, detract from my ability to work.  Especially when all my fabric, yarn, and paper selections can be occupying their space instead.

I do leave room for some personal items, especially ones that inspire me.  Artwork hangs on my walls, my bookshelf remains clean and organized behind me.  One or two of my Monster High dolls overlook my work as quirky style consultants, and a reminder that it doesn't hurt to be different or have a little fun with my work.  But beyond that, my penguin in a Santa hat?  He can go in my bedroom.

Organize and Inventory Your Work Items
Especially for those of you like myself, who work in multiple mediums.  When you sew, sketch, paint, knit, make jewelry and book bind it's easy to get your materials in a jumble, and it's also easy to keep things you don't need.  If you have family and friends like mine, you often end up with random items people give you under statements like "you make stuff you might be able to use this broken potato slicer from the 1930s."

And if you're anything like me you're response is "Awesome!  I want that!"

And now it's two years later and you really don't need a broken potato sliver from the 1930s, because let's face it, there was nothing you could do with that to begin with.

So get rid of it!  And everything else you have that you just plain don't need.  Those centimeter-long pieces of fabric?  Gone.  The atrociously cheap and ugly beads you can't knowingly sell people without securing yourself a one-way ticket to hell?  Tossed.

And with what you have left, organize, organize, organize.  Organize by types of yarn, by fabric colors, by materials of beads.  Keep them in bins or on shelves that let you use them at your greatest ease.  I spent years shoving fabric into canvas drawers before I realized it just plain didn't work.  Now they're on shelves--which, granted, I don't have enough off--but at least I can access them with ease.

Set Up the Room to Your Advantage
Me, I have my desk in a corner by the window for maximum light.  I have my beads to one side, and my fabric and yarns on the attached wall where, while I do have to stand up to get them, are not in line with the bed, bookshelf, or anything I will want to nap on.

Granted, this is only as far as I have gotten so far.

This also means getting rid of distractions.  It's amazing how much work I do when I have no computer, and no television in my room, just me, my work, and music.  One of the primary problems I had with my previous space was not only a lack of decent lighting, but the fact I had my laptop desk on one wall, my TV on another, and no real section for working.  I was curling up in bed with bead projects and waking up tangled in silver wire and searching for necklace charms under blankets.  It simply didn't work.  So I didn't.

Don't Forget Yourself
For every tip I have that works for me, there will be another artist out there who swears their organized chaos and broken potato slicers are important parts of there creative process.  So be sure to keep your needs in mind when setting up a space to craft.  Don't try to be the crafter whose room looks like it's out of the pages of Better Homes and Gardens (that is a thing, right?), just try to be you.

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