Maybe you are one of those people who never seem to accumulate too much stuff. You quickly dispose of the old whenever the new arrives. I am more likely to suffer from "stuff creep". I go through periodic purges. Clearing out the accumlated stuff that begins to feel like it is suffocating. It feels great to re-establish order, and to give breathing room to the things that are most important to me.
If you watch Tim Gunn's new show, the first thing they do is get in to the closet of their client, and sort out what to keep, what to give away, and what to throw away. The same thing happens on the show Clean Sweep. People with rooms that are scarily filled with too much stuff (my studio??) are purged in the same process. This clearing out always comes with some anxiety. The emotional attachments to our stuff can even confound us, as we refuse to let go of that special "whatever", that the rest of the world sees as having little to no value. But this prepares the ground for the transformation. The new and improved. The metaphorical rebirth.
This post is not about cleaning out my studio...at least not directly! That will be happening over the next few weeks. What it is about is my work. It is time for me to move out the old, and make room for the new. Over the summer, and into the fall I have had so many new ideas that I have started to explore, and begun to bring out to the market. All the while, I have been carrying on with the work that I have been doing for the last few years.
At first, I could not imagine letting go of the "old". Old is relative, isn't it? But as the new work began to emerge, my interest in doing the other work waned. It seemed to slide to the bottom of the list. I have not made a new vessel in the last several months. I had a jewelry order to fill this fall, and as I made the pieces to fill the order, I realized how infrequently I had been doing this work in the last few months. Between crane orders, I was working on two new lines.
First the pods. I have had so much fun exploring the possibilities of this line. I still have lots of uncovered terrain. For awhile, I would wake up each morning with one or more new ideas churning away in my head. The ideas are still spilling out, just not quite as fast and furious.
Then, late this summer, and into the fall I began working on something that was so loose and undefined, that I questioned whether I was wasting my time whenever I worked on it. But there was something about it that I liked, and so I continued, without any real sense of where it was going. It began with pins, and then beads. I had no idea what I was going to do with the beads, but I liked them. So I made them here and there. Accumulating several hundred of them. In the last few weeks, I have begun to play with those beads, and I can see that there is something there for me to explore.
Back to that closet. The older work is like the clothing in the back of the closet. Taking up space. Worn less often, and with less enthusiasm. It feels crowded. It feels like it is time to clean out the closet. Let go of the old, and usher in the new.
I was up late last night. I had begun to try and put some of the new work on to my website. I was going to just load the pictures onto a page, but not make them accessible yet. But as I looked at all the lines of work on my website, I knew it was time. Time to shed the old, and make way for the new. I am calling my newest work "Shibori". The surface design reminds me of shibori fabric in some ways.
I have more work to do on the website, and developing these new lines. But the old is heading out. It feels good to be moving forward with this new work, and not feeling tied down by the work of the past. Lighter. Freer. And it feels a bit overwhelming to think of all the work I need to do as I move this work out into the world.
I will be doing a show at the Fitchburg Art Museum on the weekend of December 8th and 9th. It is a little show. Inexpensive. I plan to use this as an opportunity to clear out some of the old inventory. Marking things down to make way for the new. The emotional attachment I felt over the summer as I considered this possibility has begun to evaporate. And in it's place is excitement, and lots of possibilities.