Yesterday, in preparation for the new year, I returned to my sewing studio only to find a horrendous mess. I hadn't been in there since the snow-day-inspired basting extravaganza back in early December--an unexpected snow day led to my pin-basting five quilt tops--but had apparently decided to use the room as a dumping ground for anything remotely fiber-art related.
An enormous pile of sample quilts sat right inside the doorway on top of my crochet project bag. Piles of books and magazines spilled across the entry. Fabric scraps and thread snips littered the floor. An overflowing trash can tilted precariously against the table leg. Finally, I had cleared off my sewing and cutting tables for the basting bash so my workspace wasn't set up.
In short, it was a disaster.
I had two quilt tops left to baste so decided to finish that task first and then get down to the business of sorting through the mess. Later last night I set the timer for 30 minutes and started to work.
I rapidly came to the conclusion that I have too much stuff in there. The rest of my house is fairly minimalist. My husband and I decided a few years ago that it was better to have fewer beautiful things than lots of junk. So periodically, we go through closets and drawers to purge the extra junk that accumulates.
I have never done that in my studio.
This summer, I had a friend come to help organize my space. She had great ideas for rearranging my work environment. When I asked her to help me purge, she looked at me in horror and said, "No, no, no. I never get rid of anything. You never know when you will need it."
And that has been my perspective too. I accumulate stuff on the off-chance that I may need it some day. I have two large banker's boxes full of "found objects" for use in future projects, when I have never, ever, not once used a found object in my work. I have a stack of circa-1970's quilting books that my mom bought for me at a yard sale. I keep thinking that I will read through them one day and find lost patterns or techniques. Four more banker's boxes of ribbons, yarns, and trim are stacked high. And three more of fleece and felted wool. Not to mention my ridiculous fabric stash. And the ginormous box of pillow forms. Or the sloppy stacks of magazines. And the bags full of batting scraps. I could go on.
Looking at this stuff, thinking about this stuff doesn't inspire me anymore. It just makes me feel tired. It's blatantly obvious to me that my mental and creative energy is being blocked by this. But I am not sure how to proceed. I'm not sure how to discriminate between things that I may use some day and are worth keeping and junk that is just taking up space.
Time to set the time for another 30 minutes and see where that leads me.