It started with tape - masking tape to be precise - on the floor downstairs to illustrate where the walls, entry doors, and closet spaces would be once we started to build. From there, I began pushing the studio furniture around to see how it would sit in the defined space. And then, I started sorting, sifting, and clearing "stuff" although not in my usual way... in a much, Much, MUCH deeper way.
For the last few months, I've had a familiar tingling feeling. It's the one that signifies a coming shift in my life. I don't know what it means going forward but I do know that it means certain parts of my life are now over and it is time to clear out the "left overs".
Three full days later, I had literally touched every single thing in my studio right down to sorting through the buttons and beads. When I was done, all the business and teaching resources were gone, the research papers and manuals for taking my degree were gone, illustrations were sorted and shredded, and twenty-seven (banker's) boxes went to the thrift store, two went to shredding, and one was left for re-gifting plus nine, extra-large carpenter-style, garbage bags went to the dump leaving behind a carefully curated collection. You could say I purged a lot of potential.
In June, I took the above picture of the Bits & Pieces of Potential Boxes. Since then, I've created two knitting bags, two handbags, and one denim coat from the pile. Keeping that in mind, I sorted out ONLY the projects that really excite me, the ones that get my imagination churning and that pile...
... came down to two wicker baskets that fit in the work island instead of the nine boxes plus two baskets plus a few bags that were there before. It's less overwhelming, more doable, and more energizing. YES YES!
Spending almost four months working in those boxes and creating only five items really clarified where I want to spend my time and attention and the types of supplies I want to work with. Both of my sewing desks have three baskets underneath. All six baskets were full to overflowing. The three under the sewing machine were reduced to one and the three under the serger were completely emptied and then filled with the small quantitiy of quilting fabric I decided to keep. Everything else went to the thrift store.
In my previous studios, I have limited acquisitions to available space. With more space, I'd begun to ooze considerably and the fabric stash had exceeded shelf space, moved across the hall to the other wall, and was lining parts of the floor. Now, it's limited to five 9' shelves with a box each of small knit pieces, lining fabrics, sheer overlay fabrics, and interfacing on the bottom as well two boxes of dyeing and painting supplies. The brown self unit and the top white shelf are also dye and painting supplies. These were previously in another cabinet in the studio that has now gone to the thrift store along with two chairs, a stool, a side-table, the button shelf, and a book shelf.
Yes... a LOT disappeared but... again... what's left are supplies that I can see myself working with sometime soon and that I'm excited about. The others were never going to make it to the top of the pile so better to let them be used by somebody else. Their time with me was up.
My button collection moved to larger jars in a bigger cupboard. This is a wall unit with glass doors. I'm going to add legs below and evolve it into a cabinet. When I was exploring the idea of textile jewelry, I moved the jewelry making supplies into the tall glass jars that are now on the bottom shelf of the button cabinet. It wasn't a good system so I've gone back to the two drawers of six baskets in the work island. The picture above right is of the bead drawer. The other drawer is more tool and findings oriented with some purse supplies as well.
Any yarn that wasn't especially yummy - IMHO - went. While I was sorting through the skeins, I came across this teal wool project. Luckily, the needles were still in it because although I can tell by the start that it's a sweater, I have no idea what the plan was and I don't even remember when I started this. After creating a moss stitch sample, I've reduced the stitch count by forty-eight stitches and am drafting a cropped cardigan with a collar and three-quarter sleeves. I love the beginning and the way I've been able to that that "part" and continue.
I also came across two balls of beige sock yarn. Beige is so not my colour and the project I purchased it for isn't going to happen. It's fingering yarn. I dislike working with such small yarn especially as I knit loosely and the resulting fabric doesn't have enough body. I combined it with another fingering yarn and with five stitches to the inch am knitting a pair of warm socks for a friend who wears these colours. It'll be good.
William Morris wrote have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
With a far greater understanding than I've ever had previously of what I can hope to accomplish during my life in the studio, there is no point in having anything that I do not know to be useful, energizing, or inspiring. I can start at the top, create what tickles, and get to the good stuff now. Having touched everything, my mind is swirling with ideas of what I want to sew next and of little hidden gems - like the square wooden buttons - that I've uncovered and now want to work into a project some time soon. I've rediscovered old friends and developed new ideas.
Today, I'm wrapped up in a blanket and knitting on the couch. I've been fighting a cold for the past week and it isn't getting worse and it isn't getting better. It's just hanging around, loving me too much to leave me. I'll sit in the sunshine and maybe even take a nap.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - space, flow, openness, a beautiful collection