... do you suppose...
.... that at this time of year there are conversations going on between wood turners about having too many blocks or between chefs about having too many spices or between jewelers about having too many stones or between painters about having too many canvasses or between pianists about having too many sheets of music or between ____ about having too many ____? There are numerous ways to fill in the blank because each form of creative expression comes with its own list of tools and supplies.
It would seem to me that how much is a personal choice influenced by our personality, our finances, our creative goals, our proximity to the nearest store, and the available storage space. The more important questions to me are what do I want to create, what tools and supplies are required, what do I currently have, what do I need, where will I store these supplies, how will I pay for them, and what are my personal boundaries.
Do you have a studio space? How big is not the most critical element. That it exists is - whether it's an entire room, the corner of a room, or a closet. Women especially tend to put the needs of others before themselves and yet it is only by nurturing ourselves that we have enough energy to nurture others. A failure to nurture ourselves de-energizes our environment. Me being creative is essential for our household running well and I believe that's true of all creative people and since all people are creative, all people have some way in which they need to nurture themselves including making time and space and funds available.
How much time, how much space, and how much money we invest in ourselves are individual choices influenced by our circumstances. Our situation and the way we move through life is unique to each of us but caring for ourselves should not be. I do something for myself - definitely journal writing and usually sewing - every day and see it as not only important for my own health but as a role model for other women.
Where do you sew? I have had a sewing space in every home I've lived in since I was seventeen. When we got married, Howard and I never had a conversation around whether I would or wouldn't have a space. It wasn't a topic that was up for debate. For me to be fully me, a sewing space was part of the mix. It has to exist.
Since I'm a minimalist and since I hate other people's stuff oozing into my space, it has always been important to me that all the ingredients of my art form are contained within my designated space. When I have a small studio, I have a small stash and when I have a larger studio, I have a larger stash but I've always had as big of a stash as there is space to store.
How much fabric I have is determined by the amount of space I've allotted to it as is true of every item in the studio. I want as much fabric, as many patterns, as wide a variety of notions as possible, and as big a collection of books as fit on my shelves so that I can create what I want to create when I want to create it and - should the bottom drop out of our financial situation or an ice storm keep me from the shops - I want enough stashed up supplies to get me safely and sanely to the other side of that issue. LOL - we have a generator!
I don't debate if I have too much or even if I have enough. I debate if I have what I want and need and that depends on what direction I'm exploring. When I'm done with one direction, I move those supplies and ingredients along so that they no longer take up valuable real estate in the studio. Once quilting was my primary creative outlet and quilting fabric took up an entire eight foot closet. Now, the cotton batiks I've kept take up two 36" shelves. The same shift happened with books. Except for a few favourites, the quilting books are gone and in their place are fashion related ones. There's no longer a roll of batting in the closet, just a few pieces in a basket on a shelf. More space can be created in a studio simply by moving along what is no longer needed.
I clean the studio twice a year going through every box, basket, drawer, cupboard, shelf, and closet and analyze do I really need this or that particular item. Do I want it? Does it add to or detract from my goals? In the process, I reacquaint myself with my supplies, look at gaps that need to be filled, and open up empty spaces to create flow and new directions within the studio. Crammed full is not good either. What I no longer need I donate.
AND THEN... because I have a large enough stash of fabric and patterns to get me through for a quite a long time... I can concentrate my designated dollars on finding the fabrics I really want at the prices I'm willing to pay. Right now, I'm concentrating on acquiring both a higher quality of fabric and a higher quality of second hand garments to refashion. That goal, along with my goal to explore surface design, is dictating the majority of my purchases at the start of this year as does what's on sale because I prefer to stock up on certain supplies - like thread and zippers and interfacing - when they're on sale. Why pay full price if you don't have to?
There are times when boundaries are just the push you need. In the past, and again this year, I have limited myself to working with what is already in the studio. This isn't because I have too much or because I can't afford more supplies. It's because it challenges me to come up with solutions I might not otherwise have thought of BUT... I'm not shopping any differently. If there's space in the stash and I find a fabric I love and I have the cash to spend, I buy it.
When I travel, fabric is still my souvenir of choice - high end, quality, the best I can afford. I have three trips planned so far this year to Calgary, Seattle, and Oregon. Knowing I'm going means I'm leaving more gaps in the stash and knowing what's already in stash will limit what I buy. AND... I love a sale, especially in the bargain center but even then I only buy what I can afford and have space to stash which limits the debate for me. I've already made the decision by designating space. My stash is as big as the walk-in closet in my studio and that's the limit.
Those are - a few - of my thoughts on space and stash. I could probably go on because I feel quite strongly about how important it is for those of us who sew to feed our creative souls HOWEVER... as you can see, my friend Patti took some pictures of me in the Koos skirt including a headless shot because it really wasn't pretty. I love the way I feel in this skirt. It makes me feel confident and flirty, feminine and pretty. I'm not so sure about the way I look. The pictures surprised me. They don't match the feeling. LOL - I just won't look.
Definitely, I'll go down a couple sizes next time and shorten it another two inches. LOVE this sweater from the second hand store, never worn, complete with Asian tags I can't read for only $9.99. The back detail is especially lovely and it goes perfectly with the skirt.
Tomorrow, I'm leaving bright and early to visit my daughter and her family. I'll be there for two weeks painting their new home, helping with the move, and snuggling my grandson. Since the household is in an upheaval and phone and internet connections are shifting locations, I'm not taking my computer with me. There won't be any blog posting again until February and I'll reply to any comments and emails sent after today at that time. Enjoy the rest of the month. I have had a fabulous beginning to 2014. I'm determined - come inevitable ebb and flow - to have a great year. YES YES ! ! !
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - Howard had a long awaited appointment yesterday with the surgeon and they (the system) are - finally - going to do something about the excruciating pain he's been in with his legs. The doctor was amazed he was still standing and walking. I'd love to see him pain free for a change. What a blessing that would be.