"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."Hans Hoffman
I cracked open another box in the studio and was faced with a stack of papers I'd not had time to sort through before moving. Story of my life: good intentions but always delaying the inevitable to a future date. The future is catching up with me and so rather than follow the usual impulse to shove said papers back into the box, I sorted through them. The above quotation was the only one of 3 pages of similar inspirational quotations printed from the internet that still resonated. We are constantly encouraged to simplify these days, but this particular perspective made the case in a way that made sense to me. Something I can apply to my material holdings as well as my actual art designs. A wagging finger as I continue to settle into my new studio.
I'd love to report that I hit the ground running on New Year's Day, studio set up, goals lined out, new projects in process. Instead, I was still pondering and rearranging and bring forth even more things to be put away. And I finally moved out of the denial phase about a portion of my stash I thought unaffected by the smells in my old house. Actually, they are not musty or mildewy, but they are anything but fresh. I think the real culprit is how tightly I had them packed into baskets, no way for air to circulate, cautionary tale here. So with the new year, the washing and ironing has begun.
Here's the state of the studio on January 1. I pulled that 5 drawer unit out of the closet to replace a lower unit that now stacks with like units on the outer wall, placed my irons and spray bottles atop it, shifted the ironing board a bit and now have a much better pressing station. I'll have to work on what's in those drawers but for now, the goal is to get all stash storage on the same side of the room. That meant some bins in the closet on the left got shuffled into the right closet and bins I'd rarely crack open moved into their place on the left. The fabric on the worktable is the first of the smelly ones now washed and dried. The floral is from a skirt I'd made for myself I don't know how many years ago, but too pretty of a print not to think it could go in a quilt. Ditto for the blue fabric, which has cranes. Now I'm thinking they might be good fodder for fabric bowls. Under them is a turkey red bought specifically for a reproduction of an Amish quilt along with some Amish black. I still think I'd like to make that quilt, but for now, that fabric is folded ready to go in a big bin. Ok, so I still don't have a good handle on this simplify thing, but at the moment, none of this seems unnecessary to me.
So this is how I ended 2012 - not rushing to complete one last quilt to add to the year's tally, nor tallying my accomplishments at all, not making big plans for the new creative year, not even considering a new resolution word to guide me in 2013, just still trying to get my feet back under me and making slow but sure progress towards settling into the new space with all the old baggage, good and bad.
One of the things I unearthed last week was fabric set aside for a mystery quilt. It was muslin along with just two pieces of fabric bought early on in my "seriously getting into quilting" phase before I understood the difference in fabric quality. Once I did learn that it was printed on a lower quality griege goods, I thought putting it into this mystery quilt would be a good way to use it, the quilt probably destined for charity. But of course, that put it pretty low on the priority list and it was one of those things pushed to the back of the closet. Well, it had picked up a little smell too, and something made me vow to at least cut the pieces for the top once the fabric was washed, not just file it back in the closet. So in fact, I DID start something on January 1st, yet another traditional quilt, but again, it all seems a part of getting me back into creating. Something reassuring about wielding the ruler and rotary cutter to cut those precise squares and triangles. And as all this has been going on, I realized a very good resolution word for the year would be perseverance. I think that needs to be the driving force to keep me on track and from getting overwhelmed. It's what got me through most of 2012.