Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Studio in Transition

When I describe my studio to people I get mixed reviews, but lots of ooh and ahs. And when I tell people my studio is trashed I get a different variety of mixed reviews, mostly disbelief. Why would I lie?
Is it fabulous? Sure it is. Is it a work in progress? You better believe it. We bought our home in February of 2002 and the second floor was totally unfinished. We hired a contractor in May and his part was finished in September. Then we laid the floors, painted the walls, finished off the full bath, and began to turn it into real living space.
We have a library upstairs, and my husband has a study. There's a family room complete with a fireplace, built-in bookcases and of course surround sound. There's a 4th bathroom upstairs as well because you can't spend time and create art if you're constantly running up and down steps.
But the crown jewel is my studio, with walls in bright yellow and intense purple, a black & white checkerboard tile floor that I laid myself, and lots of white to give your eye a resting place. When I say I'm back from a teaching gig and I haven't unpacked my bags, I'm always serious. And when I say every flat surface is covered in piles, including the 14 chairs and sometimes the floor, I'm not joking. So the following photos are meant to give you a peek into my chaos.
In the above photo you can see 2 of my farm tables pushed together and covered in product that went to, and came back from, Cleveland. That bar-height table toward the right is my work station and I've got 2 rotary paper cutters stacked atop one another, with piles below them, around them, and on top of them. This is my life. Welcome to my world.
This photo was taken from pretty much the same place, except I swung the camera over to my right to include the 3rd farm table. It looked bad last night at 8pm, but it looked worse this morning at 8am because I shuffled lots of stuff from point A to point B. It's all about transition.
Now I've swung the camera to my left so that you can see the 3 suitcases in the midst of my unpacking. What you don't see really well is the pile on the floor closer to the sink. That's where I dumped all the Stampaway stuff out of my suitcase the night before I left for Cleveland so that I could use the same bag. Last night while sorting through it all I found goodies I'd bought in August and forgotten, so it was a little like an early birthday present to myself.
One final shot of the studio, but from a different angle. See all that glitter and embossing powder? What you don't see is the zillions of little individual specks of it that remain everywhere. When I tell you that Penscore/Magic Stamp is one of my favorite tools, I'm not joking. In this photo you see about 1/5 of all that I own. Last night I took the time to heat and impress several stacks of them using rubber stamps I bought for that very purpose. In Cleveland I told store owners to fill a basket not only with new Penscore, but also with some that they'd already impressed with large rubber stamps. Just wanted everyone to know that I practice what I preach.
Here we are this morning with progress in view, just not enough progress. Would you believe I was in that studio til nearly 2am? But you see, there's a very good explanation for why I don't accomplish more in my cleaning process. I keep finding things I want to play with, or just touch. And then they have to be put in their proper place. I now own about 100 Clearsnap ink pads, maybe more, and I haven't found a home for them yet. Instead they're stacked in containers...on the floor in front of the bathroom. If you look at the above photo in the center you'll see my Xyron. See it? Well that cabinet of drawers that it sits on is full of ink pads. And I do mean full. Some of those drawers hold over 50 ink pads each; some closer to 100. Making room for new ink pads means sorting and dumping or rearranging existing stock, and when you're hosting stamp club in less than 48 hours, there's no time for that.
Remember the earlier photo of all those open suitcases spilling out into the floor? This is the very spot where they were last night and thank goodness, today they're unpacked. Of course they're sitting all lined up in the library, but at least they're out of my way. At some point I'll nest them, one inside the other, and put them in the cubby where they belong. Probably tomorrow night because that's when I'll be packing for my weekend trip to DC. And I'm certainly not using the luggage filled with glitter! No sirree, I'm pulling out a different set, and since we have about 4 sets, that's only a problem when you start digging in the cubby to get to them.
You can still see a bit of work left to do since there are piles all over table #3, but now you can see my bookcases filled with drawers, boxes, and displayed art. When I get to this point I breathe a little easier because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Never mind that I haven't swept the room yet. In photos, all that glitter doesn't show!
And in this final shot I'd like to point out the 8' farm table over against the wall with the purple legs painted to match my purple walls. This is supposed to be my work station, but it's always cluttered. (Much like my smaller work table.) I have clearance around the keyboard & monitor. Sometimes the mouse is a bit iffy, but eventually I find it and get the area cleared enough to use it. Right now the piles are so high that you can't see all the ink pads I keep on this table, stacked neatly on an acrylic shelving unit. They're like the paper cutters; I know where they are, I just have to invest a little effort to actually use them.
If you were to go back and look at all these photos again you'd notice hundreds of drawers. I think it was around 257 or maybe 287 at last count, and each one is filled to overflowing with rubber stamps, papers, scissors, brayers, and ephemera galore. Most people don't own 22 pair of scissors or 10 brayers, but most people don't teach classes and try to provide everything for their students either.
I picked up the new Studios issue of Cloth*Paper*Scissors yesterday and thought I should submit my own studio to be included in a future issue. But that would mean cleaning up enough to take photos worthy of publication. Do you think I'm gonna do that? Not a chance.
Instead I'm gonna spend another night sorting and stashing and sweeping in preparation for tomorrow night's fun, because to me that's far more important. And then I'll think about pulling out that luggage so I can pick for my weekend away. Wonder which one of those piles is hiding my travel journal?

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