Thursday, September 18, 2014

Seth Apter's "Studio Table" Challenge

My dear friend,
Today is the day...


Today is the day I share the reality of my creative studio space, not that I haven't already shared peeks of my creative space before, but Seth Apter is hosting a great challenge for artists to share the reality of the 'studio table' and the reality of creative chaos so we can begin to banish the 'shame' of not having the 'dream space' that one sees posted in Pinterest boards, Houzz ideabooks and craft magazines!

I am so glad that Seth put out this call to share what our creative studio tables look like when one is in the midst of creative chaos and it is long overdue. The idea that one can create without making a chaotic mess, is highly unrealistic, yet this myth is quite pervasive and I am happy to help Seth bust this myth!

I am hoping that this might also help me come to terms with the reality of HOW I work and maybe it will be the start of figuring out how to design around that to make a truly FUNCTIONAL studio space for me, because I am tired of being so frustrated and unhappy at my lack of a 'dream space' that I see happening everywhere else, just NOT in my home...

Let's Start at the VERY Beginning...
To begin with, my old creative space began in the spare room of my old apartment, which I quickly outgrew when I began to take on more than just sewing as a creative pastime...



Images from my old sewing room...which moved into the dining room when collage and book arts became my main mode of creative expression:

The reality of 'creative chaos'!


Fast Forward to TODAY...
I moved at the end of last year and tried to forge a new creative space, but it was filled with all the boxes of creative supplies and decor, which was hard to get through...


The new studio space and studio closet, packed to the brim...

...so I began to start using the dining table to work from:

This is just half of the dining table, not the whole story...

...so let me share an overview of the dining table I work on most of the time - clutter is the name of the game, it seems!

But this could not be a permanent solution to my problem, so I began to slowly unpack more of my supplies, such as my creative books, which I found a (temporary!) home for...but at least they were organized!


While this unpacking began to help, I soon came to the realization that I had used my entire home as a creative space, and trying to cram all that into one small room was going to be a Sisyphean task...despite this, I still attempted to make a work table happen...

The studio space before setting up the "Studio Table"...

The day I set up my "Studio Table" - it's a CLEAR table, devoid of clutter, but that didn't last long...

So let me reveal what my "Studio Table" looks like today...



"STUDIO TABLE"
Baring all to share what a creative studio table really looks like when in the midst of creating - in this case, trying to create a 'dream studio'...

My "studio table" today - loaded with supplies to be stored and organized somehow...

An overview of the "studio table"...

...One end of the table with embroidery threads waiting for a new home, fabrics to be put away or sewn up, boxes to be used for storage of who-knows-what, and a plaster cast of my face for making paper-mache masks - one day!

The other end of the "studio table" of ribbon spools, wire baskets of lace and ribbons, piles of paper for book making, yet very little storage to put it all =(


That is my "studio table" as it stands today...

You can easily see why I have constant frustration and unhappiness at NOT having a pretty and organized studio space, let alone an organized studio table!

And I can see that having more than one creative interest could be at issue, since there are supplies for each interest, which can quickly get out of hand. However, I also know the supplies I have for rubber stamping and knitting are pretty small when I see how many stamps and how much yarn my fellow practitioners collect.

Truly, their collections put me to shame!

But having more than one creative interest IS a challenge, no doubt about that...

And I don't yet know how I can approach this challenge just yet. All I can do for now is to take stock of my supplies and discard that which no longer serves me, which is something I've been doing for quite awhile now.

It just hasn't felt as if I've made much progress...

At least I have shared the reality of my "studio table" and I hope that by sharing the reality of my studio table it will help to dispel the myth of the "perfect creative space" so we can begin to embrace the studio tables we now have, instead of having shame around them...

...and maybe THEN I will be able to let go of my personal shame at not having that "perfect creative space" which might make space for the great studio space I'm MEANT to have in my life...

Here's hoping!

***   ***   ***

Many thanks to Seth Apter for his bravery in 'baring all' with this challenge, as well as the participants of this challenge! It's not too late to join in - just visit this post for details, and visit today's post to see the list of participants and peek at real world artist studio tables!

Friday, September 12, 2014

On Making New Connections...

Hello Dear Friend,
For some time now I've been marinating in the effects that writing for August Moon has had in my life. Magic is starting to happen and it is getting exciting!

One of the things I expressed a desire for was this:

My intention is to continue with my creativity AND to search the company of other creative souls, because I know that those who serve their creative impulses are people of kindness, generosity and humor, things I need in my life right now since I'm having trouble remembering how to treat MYSELF with kindness, generosity and laughter

...and here is what's taking shape since I wrote out this wish:

I joined a private Facebook group to provide inspiration to a woman named Lauri who also needed some creative support of her own in the year ahead. She was NOT related to August Moon in anyway, but she is part of the Inspiration Deck Swap group I joined and that is how I learned about Lauri's year-long project...

There is a swap of mail art each month and the first mailing has already been sent out. I had an idea of something to do for Lauri throughout this year-long project and she wrote on her blog about the mini-book project I sent to her.

The feelings she conveyed regarding my project for her moved me immensely and it warmed my heart to read her words at her blog. I plan to share how I made the small booklet with you soon,  but it was the instructions of what she is to do with the booklet that really captured Lauri's imagination...

Small handmade book, made and sent to a new friend...

I have also begun making a new connection with someone who IS connected to August Moon, who expressed her need for creative companionship at her fledgling blog. I read her post about her desire for a 'close support system' of her own, so I reached out, as I have a habit of doing, which Kat (the hostess of August Moon) can certainly attest to!

We are now beginning with weekly emails to get to know each other and we have plans to do our own monthly mail art exchange as well...I am getting excited about these new connections! Not only do I make new friends, but I will receive art-full goodies in the mail as well!

And who wouldn't enjoy some bright cheerful mail art instead of bills or junk in their mailbox??!?!

A few mail art postcards in various states of progress which I plan to complete SOON and eventually mail out!

All this mail art is starting to form an idea in my head of something I might be able to provide as a service to others. It is just an inkling of an idea that I need to ponder on for awhile, but you can bet that I will share more with you when the time is right, my friend!

I'll be back soon to share more news on these emerging friendships, as well as my inkling of an idea for a mail art project. Until then, I hope you are making time for some creativity in your day to feed your soul!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My 10 Inspiring Items

In my last 'letter' to you, my friend, I wrote about Amelia Critchlow's fun series "21 Free Creativity Tips and Ideas", which I'm getting in my email and the first tip was a fun one:

'Collect 10 items that are visually inspiring for you'

This was what I collected while going through my creative studio:


Today I thought I'd write to you about just what it is about these items that I love and what connects them, if there are any connections...but I have a funny feeling that there WILL be connections!

I thought I'd group a few items from the larger group to smaller groups, and this grouping I call "rustic vintage":


This group of items include a vintage cigar box with crumbling paper, a jar of vintage laces and trims and a hat made from burlap fabric with a scrap of tea-dyed silk tied to decorate it.

This group of items certainly has VINTAGE in common, and vintage is something I love: vintage laces, buttons and trims are always sought out when I make a trip to a flea market and I love the look of rustic faded things, such as the paper of the cigar box and the holes beginning to appear in my burlap hat.  I do get inspired when I look at these things in my studio space...

Other things that inspire me are BOOKS, especially art-full, handmade ones:


The 3-dimensional book is made by me using a variety of papers, many of them VINTAGE! The other book was made FOR ME by a lovely woman who wanted to show her appreciation of a giveaway gift she received from me. The journal she made includes some vintage papers and LOTS OF COLOR, which I love...I do plan to add to this journal one day, but it give me so much delight to look at the pages, just as they are!

What else inspires me visually? Here is peek at that:


COLOR inspires me a great deal and here are two items that inspire me when I look at them - a VINTAGE set of water-COLORS and an old set of mini-pencils. The watercolor paints were given to me many years ago as a gift but I felt too intimidated to use them at the time. However, they were so beautiful to look at that I kept them and kept them and I eventually began to use this set about 2 years ago. It feels special to use this old set of watercolor paints with my creative projects.

The set of mini-COLOR pencils I bought at an old Woolworths store over two decades ago, which I guess makes this set of pencils VINTAGE! The box eventually began to fall apart from frequent handling so I made a linen and cotton pencil holder for them. I love that they are small enough to carry with me, if I choose to bring some art supplies whenever I'm out on a trip, and I also love the carry case I made with linen and cotton fabrics.

Here is another visual inspiration:


Leaves collected on my many morning walks, which I gather and save to dry for use in nature-based projects, or possibly to be assembled into a 'hortus siccus'* one day...these items speak to my love of NATURE and TREES.

And finally these last items in my collection of visual inspiration:


COLOR-full fabric of linen/cotton blend with embroidered COLOR-full FLOWERS made into a head kerchief, something I've been wearing lately to keep my hair out of my eyes! Also, an inspiration card given to me, featuring a FLOWER in rustic tones...

While looking at this grouping before receiving the next creativity tip, it dawned on me that there are some connections among these items and there are themes that stand out for me:

COLOR * BOOKS * VINTAGE
NATURE * TREES * FLOWERS

I think there is a message here that I need more of these items in my life to keep me in a cheerful outlook...but we will see what might come of gathering these inspiring items and what creative projects might emerge from them as the "21 FREE Creativity Tips & Ideas" continues. Be sure to stay tuned and see what happens!

* - I learned of the concept of the 'hortus siccus' while watching this movie starring Ewan McGregor . The example of the 'hortus siccus' and planning of a large garden quite grabbed my attention - not to mention Mr. McGregor's handsome face! ;)