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Studio before and after

1 Apr 2006

The Big Clean

If you saw my letter from the editor picture in this latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, you'll know what I mean when I say my studio easily could have been mistaken for the set of "The Swamp Thing."  With the amount of clutter and gunk I had accumulated, it resembled a marshy landscape of questionable hygiene. And more importantly, I had an impossible time finding anything. Ever.

Here's what I mean:


and this:


And since I'm exposing my messy ways, let me show you this:


As Good As It's Gonna Get

Everyday for the past month, I've slowly chipped away at cleaning it up. How did I motivate myself to do this? I pictured my mother (otherwise known as "mA"), coming out from Las Vegas for a long-awaited visit. We'd hug at the airport and loop arms around each other as we entered the house. We'd  ascend the stairs to my beloved studio---my atelier, my secret, cherished garden so to speak.  With pride and joy, I'd open the studio door, only to hear her gasp, look over her shoulder at me with trembling lips and say, "Could you really be my daughter? Because no daughter of mine could ever disrespect her things--or herself--like this."

This imagined, shame-inducing scenario worked. (Thanks mA!)

As of this morning, April 1st (and this is no April Fool's), my studio looks something like this:



and this...


And this...


  And OH OH OH...this!


And I can't forget this!


  And and and...


Oh! And one more...


So there. I've cleaned up my act. A few things to point out about the cleaning:

1. I organized all my hand threads into plastic bags, sorting them by color. All of the skeins have been placed on large key rings inside the plastic bags. This way they never get tangled and I can always find exactly what I need. Mary Fisher (the most organized person I know) taught me this trick.
2. All of my rubber stamps are sorted into bins by theme (i.e. human forms, alphabet letters, abstract designs, floral designs, etc.)
3. All of my hand-dyed and over-dyed fabrics that I love to pet and ogle at everyday, get a special place on the shelf. All my other fabrics (quilting and novelty fabrics) are sorted by color into large bins that fit under the tables, I do not bother folding any of this stuff--I just toss it in.
4. I've separated my studio into four general areas:
    a. Mixed-media and stabilizers (all my "burning" supplies and tools, chiffon scarves, Angelina, silk     cocoons, water-soluble stabilizers, Pellon, etc.) are placed in bins near the sewing machine area.
    b. Hand-threads and quilting supplies.
    c. Rubber stamps, paints, papers, and adhesives.
    d. quilting and machine threads. I have a design wall and a peg board to keep my rotary cutters,        color wheels, rulers, and other supplies.

Although I'm constantly mixing it all up, it does help to keep each craft housed in their own corners so to speak.

If you want to see other artists' studios, click here.

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denise lombardozzi wrote
on 2 Apr 2006 11:33 AM
many thanks for sharing all and baring your "soul" here! it is always a pleasure to gaze into the studios of other artists...each pile tells a beautiful,inspiring story!
Maggie wrote
on 2 Apr 2006 3:32 PM
Congratulations on your space. I hear echos of 'go clean your room'!! Your mA will be pleased
Robbi Eklow wrote
on 3 Apr 2006 5:30 PM
It looks lovely. ON THE SURFACE.I certainly hope you alphabetized those books within their proper categories. Or used the Dewey Decimal system. Last night I was looking for a crochet hook I knew was somewhere in the family room. Brian said "don't you have a drawer full of them labeled "crochet hooks, size 1-8" and another labeled "crochet hooks size 8-16"? I said "no, they are in the drawer labeled, "Knitting needles. Are you making fun of me?" See you Thursday. Love, Robbi
Liz Berg wrote
on 3 Apr 2006 7:33 PM
Pokey, you just don't have enough fabric to call it a need more! Liz
Clare Montgomery wrote
on 7 Apr 2006 7:52 PM
Thanks for sharing, I just recently purchased a quilting table and was wondering how to squeeze it into my studio. All these wonderful ideas will help me to make the best of my cramped work space. Your article is most helpful. Thanks again Clare (Cobar NSW Australia)
Patricia Bolton wrote
on 14 Apr 2006 12:48 PM
Robbi, If you are offering to come to my studio and categorize my books by good ole' dewey, then get your knitted behind over here! Liz--you're right. I need more fabric. I bought some of Wendy Richardson's overdyes this past weekend in Chicago. Have you seen her fabrics?! I always drop at least $100 in her booth (easy!) Maggie, Denise, and Clare--Thanks for the comments on my studio! I haven't had a chance to get in there for a couple of weeks and to be honest, I'm a little afraid to mess it up!
Joyce wrote
on 11 May 2006 9:33 PM
WoW! You did a great job!! I like your idea of having corners for each area. I'm just getting passed traditional quilting into the art realm and am a tad scared about where all the new requirements will be housed! Your room is MUCH neater than mine. I got a huge box of chiffon scarves at an auction last month and I'm anxious to do something with them. Love the mag - my favorite!!
Jackie wrote
on 13 May 2006 4:41 AM
It is so interesting to see other peoples' work space- and so reassuring that you are not the only one who enjoys being surrounded by so much apparent chaos - which is a puzzle to anyone who doesn't share the same creative itch.
Kenda wrote
on 18 Mar 2008 5:31 PM
Wow! Thank you so much for showing us your before and after. That took loads of courage! I finally have a space to call my own and I did not think I had room for a design board. (That was/is something I really want/need!) After looking at your studio I saw you have a small one on your wall; looks like it's sitting on the table or perhaps hung over it. Then it was a smack to my forehead moment!! Yes, I can have a design board, on the blank wall next to my sewing table. Thanks so much for the idea!