Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Gravity always wins. Not just on my body, in the waning days of my forties. But also everywhere around me.

I don’t know if it is because I am off to some other task before I get a chance to put things neatly away, or if it is just that there is just no place to put some of it. Whatever the reason, I seem to want to defy the rules of gravity. Piles amass on my worktables. At my desk. Or even in the kitchen sink when I am really in the throes of a creative whirlwind. ;-)

I want to be better about it all. I look at pictures of people's work spaces and they are immaculate and orderly. And then I go into my studio. Piles of things are everywhere. I have a sense of where things are, but there is no orderliness. No neat here. I am weak, inadequate. Shame creeps in. I need to do something about this. But then somewhere in the “mess” I see something that needs my attention. And that is where it goes. I am busy creating again. In my six square inches of free space. Pushing back the pile to create a little room.

Eventually the piles do begin to succumb to gravity. As cranes were flying out of my studio as fast as I could make them this fall, the pile of scrap clay began to grow. The rounded mound of clay became a mountain. Then a more jagged and sharply rising mountain. Then the avalanches began. So I found another box and transferred some of the clay there. A smaller box, but enough to tide me over for a while till I figured out what to do with all this clay. Now two mountains of clay have the occasional “rock slides”. I still don’t know what to do with all this clay!

Yet these precarious piles can have inspiration in them.

I recently had the idea pop into my head ….what if I took some cranes and made a piece that was a stack of cranes. Cranes on cranes on cranes. All sizes. “Peace Rally” was born. The crane on the tail defying gravity, but right where it belongs.

Yesterday, I was working on making earring cards. I was not in love with what I was making. But it was the best solution I had for now. But then as my eyes wandered the room, I saw some patterned paper. ….hmmmm…… Now I was energized to take on this task with vigor. I was cutting, gluing, sticking….I had no idea if this was going to work, but in my zealousness, I created about 20 cards. I brought them upstairs to where most of my earrings were, and began to put the earrings on the cards. Yes! This was much better. Misplaced enthusiasm…..maybe. But one thing I have learned over the last few years, is that the details of how you present your work matters. It is a niggling detail, just like finishing, that sometimes we would prefer to skip right through. But in the end, it affects the way your work is received. Will it change the sales of my earrings? I don’t know. But I do know that I am happier about presenting them this way than anything I had before.
The reality is, I am not a person who works best with too much order. There is inspiration in that mess. Something catches my eye and makes me what to go off and explore a new path. So even when I have cleaned things up, there is still some messiness. I can never finish the job with out finding myself itching to get to work on a new idea.

If you are naturally orderly….enjoy that state. Order has beauty. I just can’t seem to make it work in my life. If you are messy like me, stop beating yourself up so much. Sometimes that mess is there for a reason.


Libby said...

Thanks for sharing some honest photos of your work space. I think most polymer clay artists eventually end up working in that crowded 6X6 inch space. Good luck with your piles of scrap clay. I eventually gave mine away.

"Peace Rally" is beautiful and fun!

Kathi said...

wooo hoooo someone else's work table looks like mine! I think everyones table looks like that except when they are taking pictures to show their studio. I am so glad to know I am not alone in my 6 inch work space :D

Shirley said...

I love your workspace...just shows you are a busy busy lady!!!! I like it much better working that way anyway...I love clutter and mess, it gets my adrenelin going!!

Leelinau said...

lol, OMG I thought it was just me who ended up doing that (working in the tiniest spot after everything piles up around me) heheee...

Thanks for sharing your great work!!