17 November 2013

Breathing Room

PictureSpace is the breath of art.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

One of my themes for 2013 has been Release. Over the course of the year, my husband and I have decluttered almost our entire home--excavating every closet, cupboard, and drawer for items and objects that were unused, redundant, or just taking up space.

It has been an amazing process to work through that touched on concepts of abundance and scarcity. It made me question what we truly need versus what we think we need.

For each item, I asked myself three questions:
  • Is it beautiful?
  • Is it useful?
  • Is it loved?
If I couldn't answer Yes to at least one of the questions, then the object, in theory, needed to go. In reality, I still found myself clinging to some of my stuff.

The most unexpected
items sometimes caused the greatest difficulty. Who knew that so much of my sense of security revolved around owning 38 bath towels, 18 hand towels, and 45 wash cloths? It took my husband several days to convince me that we would be fine winnowing it down and that the local animal shelter could use them more than we could.

But as we worked through the process together (all along it was much easier for Kevin than for me), it became fun. There was something liberating in sorting through our belongings and keeping only those that were beautiful, useful, or loved.

And so after several months' work, we managed to work through almost the entire house
, releasing umpteen carloads to local charities and to the local landfill. The change was dramatic. Our newly decluttered home felt spacious and open. There was truly room to breathe.

I say we worked through almost the entire house because one room saved for last
was my studio, which was my responsibility. Kevin didn't care if I decluttered it or not.

As the year went by, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable in my
studio. It is a large room and contained my fabric, craft books, sewing and cutting tables, ironing board, painting table, shelves for paint, an easel, a design wall, and my mother's hope chest. That is a lot of stuff, even for a large space.

My studio was no longer a place of refuge, no longer a sacred space for creation. I'd toss things in without putting them away. It became a confusing jumbled mess.

One morning, Kevin and I were enjoying our morning caffeine, and I started musing about my ideal studio. This is how I described it at the time: "
I can see it perfectly. White walls. High, sloped ceilings. Excellent natural light. Wide blonde pine floorboards. A large cabinet for storing supplies. Loft area for reading. Open. Spacious. Clear."

Not only could I see the space, but I could feel how it would be to breathe in the space.
It felt so different and I longed for the ability to make the change. Then I had a realization: I already have a studio. If I decluttered and reorganized, then I could make the space feel closer to my dream.

I mapped a plan.

With Kevin's encouragement, I decided to move all my sewing and quilting supplies to a spare bedroom and dedicate my studio space to painting.

It's been a week since I finished and the space is more than I dreamed. I may not have the pine floorboards or a loft area, but those are mere details. What I do have is the experience of an open, spacious, and clear studio.

I no longer feel confused when I walk into my studio. I feel clear and creative. And I can breathe. 

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