I know I’ve talked about this a lot in the past. Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while are probably thinking, what??? This again??? Isn’t she always reorganizing that studio?
Ok, so here’s my dirty little secret. Yes, I seem to always be re-organizing my studio because I talk a lot about it but I never, ever get the job fully accomplished. I get on a tangent where I just can’t take it any longer and uncover a top layer of stuff. I try (and I mean really, really try) to set aside hours and days to go through my studio with the absolutely sincerest intent to purge, clean and organize. I get myself into the mental game, roll my sleeves up and start working. The ugly truth is that the problem is a few layers deep so I run out of steam and never finish. My schedule gets busy and I keep going, working and making until every surface is full and I’m down to a 6 inch by 6 inch square.
And here’s the even crazier part of this. When I develop my classes, I like to teach a linear, techniques-based process with a finished project. That means that I have an idea, I create art samples, I reverse engineer what I made to ensure that I can teach it as it makes sense during the flow of a class and not how I make it in my studio. I take photos. write a description, gather supplies for my kits, keep all the art supplies and materials for the workshop in a big box until I’m ready to kit and ship before an event. What I’m trying to say is when it comes to my teaching (and even my publishing), I am sooooooo dang organized!
I’ve been thinking long and hard lately, wondering how both sides of me can co-exist. It feels almost Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at times. I’ve also been thinking about how my studio turned into such a mess when we’ve only moved back to Phoenix 4 1/2 years ago. There are many answers to this. The simplest being that we moved back right during the crazy wonderful growth of ICE Resin. We moved back and I set up my studio in two days and we grew. I remember clearly one year where I was on a plane 17 times for either a teaching or PR gig or a sales meeting. I truly didn’t have the time to correctly organize my studio to begin with, and I definitely did not have the time to put things away.
You know what’s awesome now? Life has re-organized again with the changes and I find myself having time to stop, think, catch up on sleep, take some deep breaths, rekindle friendships, snuggle my daughter and stay in touch with my husband and teenage son. I didn’t get as much down time as I had hoped for last year, as life presented other opportunities of looking after for my parents their final year. Nonetheless, I feel beyond blessed.
This table was at the end of first day of the professional organizer. It took a while to get down to this! To be fair we worked on a giant cabinet and cleared it before we tackled the work table.
Their deaths have also been a wake up call to me in many ways. It’s been said death of a loved one makes you face your own immortality, and that’s probably so. What it has made me face is simply what I call my “stuff” — my physical belongings, as well as my own beliefs that stem from everything from the way I was raised to cultural influences to how I view my life through my own private lens. Various business and life coaches I’ve admired for a while all mention that physical clutter equals mental clutter. I looked around my studio, aimed a looking glass to my head and simply said, “Jen, Enough!”
Right before the Tucson show I spent two full days purging. I donated and tossed with reckless abandon. Oh, it felt goooood. Then I had to pack my teaching supplies, stop mid-stream and go to Tucson. I lost a little wind in my sail for a couple of weeks afterwards. When I tried to find the fire within to start again, all I felt was overwhelm. I decided that I needed professional help — not the therapist kind, but the professional organizer kind. I did some research, discovered Melissa of New Day Organizing in Phoenix and made an appointment. She’s been here one time and helped me start with a big cabinet where I knew 90% could be tossed, recycled or donated. We worked for 4 solid hours, side by side, hair in ponytails, wearing tennis shoes and work out clothes and hustled.
We made a list of things to accomplish before my next appointment. I got 80% of it finished (and some help from my amazing friend Trish). She comes again today and I’m ready for another round.
I shared my little adventure as it was first happening on my Facebook business page. I was surprised (ok maybe not-surprised because this is an issue for us mixed-media folks!) how many comments I received on the whole clean, purge, organize one’s craft space. Lots of great questions. Lots of cheering me on. A few peeps horrified by the thought of an organizer touching their art supplies.
I plan to share my process in this little journey of mine. Yep, I’ll show you the good, the bad, the downright ugly. I’ll also show you the end result, which I guarantee will not be a picture perfect magazine-worthy space. I absolutely want to be inspired when I walk into my studio, but this is my life. It’s where I go to discover myself and how I feel about things. It’s the space I need to give voice to my art. It’s where I ask questions so I can teach others what I discover and know to be true. My studio will always have a little bit of chaos because unruly and wild is more interesting.
I hope you stay with me on this new little side journey. I have some fun things planned. Keep your fingers crossed for me that between myself, Trish and Melissa that I’ll do the hustle and cross the finish line.
Also, if you have any questions of the process, be sure to comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook business page. I’m enjoying these brief little chats.