Monday, September 29, 2008

Even fishermen have to mend their nets....

That's what my husband told me when i complained about the brutally boring task that i have been doing instead of fun creative pursuits. Not net mending exactly. But necessary maintenance of the craft room. Oh boy. Probably for the first time in two years i dragged almost everything out, meticulously sorted and labeled and filed, and put it all back in. It has been about a month of weekends and some evenings. And honestly it is not complely finished. Will it ever be? But at least all the totes and piles and stuff are out of the upstairs hallway and IN the craft room.
But ya know, some things just defy categorization. I already have a miscellaeous file of stickers, misc papers, misc embellishments, misc fibers, unsorted images and a tote full of stuff so random - you'd need some kind of advance degree in the library sciences or be the salesman of the year from California Closets to know what to do with it.


That being said - i did have a master plan and i can proudly say that 90% of all my precious treasures have a home. The room is the former guest room - about 10 feet square. The walls are lined with that cool metal pantry shelving that goes on sale from time to time at Target. We have 7 of them. A small desk sits under the window - with the shelves on either side. So i can pretty much reach just about everything just by spinning my desk chair in one direction or the other. One side of the room is "paper". Several shelves of books for altering, books with interesting fonts, images or languages and all the how to books and craft magazines. This side also holds several plastic filing totes with sorted paper. solids - with each colour family in a separate hanging file, one for 12x12 paper - in broad categories like florals, geometric, vintage. I had a craft store type rack in here for a while - and determined it took 4 square feet of space to hold 6 inches of paper. It is now hanging from the rafters in the garage.
Then we have all the clippings - people, animals, architecture. The all the ephemera - legal docs, ledgers, receipts. A whole tote of stickers - butterflies, letters, stamps, asian. Then another tote of maps and travel brochures. And then the aforementioned unfiled paper - one for backgrounds, one for images.

The other side of the room is all the embellishments and tools. Two of those nail/screw little drawer sorting cabinets for all the little bits like watch parts, charms and photo corners. I took a workshop with Tim Holtz and he made fun of all the ladies with their carefully sorted doodads. He instructed everyone to go home and throw them all in one box. He explained how serendipitous it is to just reach in and work with whatever comes out. Well that's great (in fact my friend Denise did just that) but since i have to prep for classes and need to locate 12 matching asian coin charms at any given moment - having a carefully labeled little drawer full of asian coins is a GOOD THING.
Then there are the images. Not a fully worked out system - but in broad categories - cabinet cards, vintage image copies, real vintage photos, fine art images, and art postcards - the kind you get a open studios or art festivals. Also on this side of the room are separate cigar boxes filled with stamps, old keys, adirondak ink, dominoes. Then a stack of plastic file boxes with my rubber stamps: flowers. leaves, phrases, holidays, travel, and MISC - always a MISC category. Then there are the ribbons and fibres. Just finishing up the sorting process. At times i am tempted to just sort by colour. You have to ask yourself, "what am I going to reach for? A blue ribbon? do you want blue organza, blue wool, blue rickrack and blue grosgrain all together in a zipclock? Or am i going to reach for some rickrack and I want all the colours to choose from?" It is really a hard decision. And many hours were spent just staring off into space trying to reach a concensus in my head. Anyway - I went with "type" not colour. All my precious vintage seam binding and other old sewing tapes in one drawer. Organza and satin in another, yarn in another, lace in another, novelties like printed ribbons, metallics and fringe together and finally twine and raffia.
Well, that it what i have been doing for a month. More pics to come once it is all vacuumed and shiny. I managed to squeeze out an altered book for my swap in the middle of it all - but not a single other art project has burst forth from my craft room in ages. Do you think all this organizing and sorting will create a zen calm that will cleanse my brain of stress and launch such a tsunami of creativity this house has never seen? One can only hope....!

1 comment:

jurassic said...

wow! that's a lot of discipline to do so much organizing! Congrats on getting so much done!