20 April 2013

my worst studio habit - feeding The Heap

I've got many goals in the studio this weekend. I had decided not to dive into additional cleaning but rather just work my tail off beating my to-do list into submission.

And then I did it. I started to indulge one of the worst studio habits I have. I need to prep some fabric for a new project and the thought of wading through The Heap of fabric at the one end of my studio kicked my automatic response into action: "I'll just go buy a couple of new pieces."

No. Stop. Worst. Habit. Ever.

My goal with my upcoming studio overhaul, otherwise known as The Great Studio Reno, is to not only make my space functional for how I make art now but to break the habits that have contributed to me getting here.

So I stopped and said, "How long would it take me to go to the store and buy new fabric?" I estimated an hour given that it's a Saturday and there are more fabric addicts lurking about plus the store that carries the fabric I like is a little bit of a drive for me. Okay, an hour. If I'm willing to spend an hour of studio work time driving to go buy fabric I already have, then I can spend an hour working toward taming The Heap and locating the fabric I need for this project.

I approached The Heap with a big coffee and a somewhat surly attitude. "I should be working, not cleaning!" I kept thinking. But the logic kept kicking in saying, "If you clean you'll get the fabric you need to work and will have not spent a dime."

Okay, fine.

Here's where The Heap was at when I plopped down in front of it with my timer set to one hour:

See those white boards? I bought those at the Houston 2012 IQF. They are Fabric Organizers. Trick is, they don't organize much if you don't put the fabric on them. Weird, right? I sat there for a full hour and put fabric on them. Turns out they work like a charm when you do that.

This is what I had when the timer started singing it's song:

I decided not to get too picky about how I sorted the fabric. If it's a yard to half a yard, it goes onto one of the long skinny boards all by itself. If it's less then a yard but far too large to go into the scrap bin, then it gets folded up and arranged with a friend on a skinny board. If it's an unholy amount of yardage, it gets a fat board all to it's lonesome.

I want this to become a habit, using these. I know myself, if it's too much work to keep track of what goes where, I won't keep it up for long. This I can manage plus it gives me a quick visual of how much fabric I have in a particular color so I know which board to grab.

Here is The Heap after all my efforts:

Doesn't look like much change does it? Yeah, that's what I think too. And I instantly started spiraling toward, "Well that was a waste of my time!" But was it? Really? Reality is that it wasn't. I have more fabric easily accessible and I found what I needed for my project. Which translates into I didn't spend money on something I already have.

Sounds like a win to me.

I still have a lot of work to do and I need to figure out what in the hell I'm going to do with all my strips and scraps. I use these in my collages, I'm not hoarding. And much of them are printed pieces. I'll give that one a think, boards are not an option because the sizes of the fabric are manic.

I also need to address my little stash of commercial prints. I go back and forth on that one. Because while 98% of the time I do print my own fabric, I like to mess around with little projects that use commercial fabrics too. Point and case, my Secret Keeper Owls (previously known as Wishing Owls). I need to resolve the reality of what I will actually use and then deal with it.

The goal of the re-org is not give away everything and then end up re-purchasing it at a later time. It's kind of a fine line.

I did put the boards on the bookshelf I currently have for storing fabric:

Hate this bookshelf for fabric storage. Hate the color, hate where it sits in my studio and hate that it does absolutely nothing for me in allowing me to see what I have. It's on the hit list of things to change.

I've got a long way toward making this an actual habit. But it's a start. And for that, I'm happy. :)


Regina Dunn said...

Want to let you know that your owls go a long way. When I was taking care of my terminally ill mom, I sat with her and stitched the owls. She got such a kick out of watching them come into existence from the mish mash of fabrics. Unbeknownst to her, I left her one in her favorite colors up by her TV in her bedroom the day I left for home and she didn't notice until that night when she was watching TV. She phoned me and was almost crying she was so happy to have an owl. Thanks from both of us.

Lisa Chin said...

Baby steps! Small steps lead to great progress. Keep up the good work!!!

P.S. I'm a stacker too. It has taken many years to work towards NOT stacker and heaping. I still do it in small quantities but thankfully no where near where I started out.

Dll Maker said...

I'm very proud of you! Your on your way!! Suzie Bright

Nina Marie said...

I have my Sew Many Spaces open on my blog if you want to link up your studio reorganize space - its funny - I create better when there is basically nothing in my studio accept what I need for that project. I'm getting so much more done now that my fabric and extra stuff is two floors away!

Nancy said...

Well you certainly showed that heap who's boss! Good job. I have to ask about the two square boards that have patches laid out and partly covering them (one blue, one grays/blacks). Where are they going, and how did they wind up in the heap? There's a story there I'm sure.

Jean Baardsen said...

What about asking a few friends over to lend you a hand? They could all help roll the fabric onto the boards. Have a list of questions, like what to do with the little scraps, and get ideas from the group. Serve lunch, or tea, or a good stiff drink if no one is driving! Friends love to help!

Anonymous said...

your boards are awesome but you have them stacked the wrong way. stand them up with the fabric out like in a store. looks like your selves are tall enough.