Last weekend I drove to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to visit an old friend.We love to see art together - we met at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts - and art-making remains an important part of our conversations when we're together. Even if both of us are too busy to be making much art.
We had a conversation at lunch about what might be the number one reason I'm struggling in studio. The answer has to be: my space. It's a hot mess.Here's a photo:
You see, two years ago, I moved from a very large house into a very small one. In that big house we had three outbuildings, two storage units, and a second home that held a smaller, second set of art supplies. This house was built in 1866. In 1866 people wore one dress every day and then burned it at the end of the season. Short summary: there's no storage space.
The studio actually looks a little better right now than it did in this photo - taken last year. But it's still stressful to be in there. Every time I reach for something, a thousand other things fall on my head. At lunch my art friend and I decided this week's priority should be for me to un-f&*% it. To go through it (yet again) and dump everything that isn't serving my current creative priorities.
And so...that's how I spent yesterday. It was an emotional roller coaster. Kind of like that Hoarders show. Since I've already culled the fluff, everything I touched had some meaning to it. Was being saved because I had a plan for the material. Or had already used it for something I'd enjoyed making and didn't want to let go of just for the memory attached. Even worse were the items I'd absorbed from my mother when she moved into memory care.
I thought of calling Julie Morgenstern, or Dorothy Breninger, or Lissanne Oliver and just paying them any insane amount of money to come and help. But, of course, I've spent all my money developing mood sprays - and having professional help doesn't keep you from feeling the feelings. Eventually, you have to just suck it up and sort through it. I donated a shirt my Dad wore. Kept the table cloth my grandmother embroidered for me - still in the plastic Glad bag with a note she penned more than twenty-five years ago.
I used to have cherry trees and was always amazed how much fruit one tree would give me. Pounds and pounds of cherries came off this little, tiny thing. The studio is much the same except that this is BAD FRUIT. I pushed five bags of fabric out the studio door yesterday. Today, after my workout, I'll start again. Five more bags. Ugh. I hate the memories. So many things started and never finished. So many relics. But I got through the fabric closet. And then a night of sad dreams.
Interestingly enough - and I'm bringing this back around to aromatherapy mood sprays, don't worry! - I never thought to use my own products to try and cheer the room while I was working. I'm going to try that today. And then report back.