It must be spring.

Not outside, it’s vilely cold, but I feel within myself the irresistible  twitchings of someone who wants/needs to do a little sorting out and organising.

I have fabric in several locations throughout the house, art materials too, and more materials in the garage. As I am on a mild mission to use what I have, rather than buy more, I thought I’d better reassess exactly what I do possess, and try at least to get things in vaguely the same location.

In short I was becoming irritated with a situation which throughout the winter hadn’t bothered me at all. This is the first sign of spring as far as I am concerned. No peace until it’s done, then.

I like tidy, but I’m not crazy, I will wallow in a little mess if I am working, but there comes a time when a good old sort out is very refreshing. I don’t have huge quantities of materials, but even so I own enough to make a lot of work; I don’t need more for a very long time, if ever. Going through fabrics and being quite tough about what to keep was the start,  then deciding that I wanted to integrate 2 sets of drawers into one set. I went through some piles of stuff I had brought home when I left my studio, and decided what to do next with them, and sorted my art materials cupboard so I could actually see what was in it. I still have materials that I may never use, but I think it is good to edit as much as possible; it concentrates the mind, lightens you up and increases your creativity, which is strange, as the reason we buy a variety of media is to boost our creative possibilities.

So here is a little photo essay of tidying up. There was a good amount of rubbish at the end and a nice full bag to go to the charity shop.


It starts off in an orderly way, then rapidly disintegrates.


Old work; cut up or keep?


The first of many piles.


More piles, but the ‘interesting paper’ drawer is being organised, with ‘interesting papers’ being gathered from many places to all reside together.


Look at those neat piles; they are all in labelled bags now, in a box. As soon as they are taken out when I start some new work it will be a different story, but there we go.


More sorted piles. I have lots of computer prints I make from my work, which I print on papers and acetate, to use in books and collages. Too many really, but I love to print.


Work being sorted for future artist’s books. I had actually lost some of this, so finding it made the tidy- up even more worthwhile.


All my bondawebbed fabrics grouped, vaguely, by colour. The plan chest I bought last year is about the most useful thing I have ever owned, it swallows so much, and keeps it flat and tidy.


More drawer sorting.


All the potential book material in the plan chest, all together, amazing.


Introducing the second set of drawers to go through. I admit that although I did eliminate one set entirely, which I kindly donated to my husband’s little workshop [it’s full of such donations, no room to actually work in] I did have to introduce a ‘students’ box’ which is full of things I take to courses. It’s not in the house any longer though, so I think that counts.


More incredible tidiness.


Look at this cupboard. It has a few more rolls of fabric in now though, but at least they are in my work area rather than lurking upstairs behind the computer.


I keep my general threads in some rather nice little rattan drawers, so I  don’t have many other types of thread; but even this lot managed to be in three separate places. Now they are altogether. I think my aim is to work eventually in just one medium; I am going in the opposite direction to that at the moment, with at least two new processes, dyeing and thermofax printing being added last year. Well, let’s just get on with it for a while and see what happens; at least I have a well sorted space in which to start new pieces, [and move on with one unfinished piece too, to be accurate] which is very cheering.

6 thoughts on “It must be spring.

  1. Q: ‘Old Work … cut up or keep?’
    A: Neither – give to mate (co-author mate)

    And also … Dear Steph, please would you come and visit me and do the same in my studio? (you may need to allow a little more time). I will make you Danish buns. Thank you … a friend (same co-author friend actually .. so you can bring all the old work for me at same time – brill)

    Hils xx

    1. I would very much like the buns, and when I eventually make it to your abode, some time in the future, we will have such fun rampaging through your studio Hils. I will bring C, she is the very best at de-cluttering. It will be like one of those programmes on Channel 4. xx

  2. Oh Steph you were on a mission. I suppose I too ought to tidy up but I don’t have your drive! For me, this week felt more like midwinter than spring – I think it was because it has been so cold!!

    1. I am blessed with Hilarys! It is so not spring, you are right. It feels as if we are approaching Christmas, not Easter. But my brain is in spring mode, so these things will be done. It has at least made me keen to start new work too, which can’t be bad.

  3. When I tidy up it can sometimes lead to a bit of inertia Steph as I don’t want to mess up the piles again, I must definitely be a candidate for a Channel 4 documentary on OCD or something! You were on a mission here but it seems to have enabled you to consolidate your thinking about where the work is going. If you are moving towards one technique or medium I wish I could predict what it is going to be. Methinks you have too many skills and ideas at your fingertips to abandon some of them but on the other hand you are very focussed so I shall be watching this space to see what happens next!

    1. I don’t mind messing my piles up, in fact they have already been disturbed. It’s a shame though, they were so ordered. Tidying is good for me as I reacquaint myself with materials I have, and in this case moving things along that I don’t think I will ever use is also proving to be quite freeing. I think you sorted out something similar last year when you tried a technique or two then in a very clear headed way decided to move them out of your repertoire; that has also stuck with me. I’m not immensely focussed at the moment but the mist is definitely clearing away from the path!

Comments are closed.