I’m really hoping that by reorganizing my studio it will also reboot my creative thinking. Why? Well because I feel as if I’ve been in a cozy rut for too long. Within my studio space I’m cosseted by my favourite work, all created over the past ten or so years. The trouble is though, that I also feel constrained by this comfort and suspect that my creative vision is slowly narrowing. So, if I really do want to kick start myself, it’s time for some drastic action.
I’ve been at this point several times over the last two or three years but the task has felt too daunting. But I see now that the only way forward for me is to completely empty this very cluttered studio space and the only way I can force myself to do that, is to have the studio itself repainted as soon as possible.
And so, as a result of this decision I now have just two weeks to clear out all my creative ‘stuff’ before the painter arrives.
It all feels like a momentous task but I’m definitely up for it and I even have a plan! As I empty out the room and temporarily relocate all my ‘stuff’, I’ll try to sort it all out into what to keep close by, what to store away and what to recycle or give away.
I live in a tiny old cottage and know that being organized is essential here if I’m not to fall over myself and do some serious damage – not a good idea and definitely best avoided if your head firmly believes that you’re an agile young thing but your body doesn’t quite agree.
So far so good, several days in now and my plan has been working well despite the stiff muscles and sore lower back.
At this point, what feels significant is that I’m realising how much time it takes, not just to move ‘stuff’ around but also to reflect on what I might actually want all around me in my new look studio, if I’m to avoid feeling hemmed in again. I’m hoping for an uncluttered, inviting, white space. In preparation, I’ve bought a fair number of storage boxes of various sizes and am attempting to be logical in what goes in them and in particular, where and how I’m going to store them. My ultimate aim is to have only three large shelving units as opposed to the overstuffed five I had at the outset of this challenge.
And it does feel like a challenge.
This isn’t just about logistics. Every item of ‘stuff’ has a memory threaded through it and reveals a unique step along my multi-faceted creative path. Understanding this and appreciating that even although this ‘stuff’ all matters, perhaps some of it is less relevant to who I want to be now, as an artist, looking forwards. Yet perhaps being older also prompts me to be ever mindful of all that lies behind me.
It’s these sorts of emotionally complex decisions that take up the unanticipated time and energy.
Despite the rapidly approaching deadline, I find that I’m actually working very slowly and am also really enjoying it. Nearly all the ‘stuff’ is ending up in my bedroom, which now resembles some kind of jam-packed 70s art store, with shelf upon shelf of intriguing boxes. It literally does sound like the ‘stuff’ of nightmares. But what I never anticipated is how this moving around of boxes has magically transformed my bedroom. Lying in there at night, gazing round this room full of memories, it all feels very comforting, like an extra warm blanket in December.
Before I began all of this, I was finding it very difficult to think clearly in my crammed, little studio and was even avoiding going into the room. But in this tightly packed bedroom full of ‘stuff’, even though it’s still the same ‘stuff’, I’m finding that thoughts flow easily in among the boxes of memories. Who’d have thought?
In my next post I’ll tell you how it’s all going, as I continue to reorganize my studio in an attempt to reboot my creative thinking.