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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cleaning, Creative or Both?

I spent most of last Tuesday cleaning my studio. My normal modus operandi is to clean up at the end of any project. Sometime earlier this year, I quit cleaning and started piling. Maybe it is because I haven't finished a lot of projects, maybe it is a lack of time. Maybe I'm lazy, maybe I'm depressed. Whatever the reason, the studio was a mess that I didn't want to work in. Get in, dump whatever I was carrying on the nearest horizontal surface, get out. I knew that I would be unable to be truly productive or creative until I fixed things.

I started cleaning in the corner furthest from the door. Piles were sorted and stacks of fabrics put away. I vacuumed the visible floor. I emptied the vacuum cleaner (LOVE that Dyson!) Several projects got put into their own project boxes, eliminating both haphazard piles of "stuff" and a stack of empty tubs. I updated my fabric inventory and put newly dyed fabrics away. I swapped out my barely working VCR for a newer one. I vacuumed dust bunnies and the line where floor meets wall. I did some minor rearrangement in my boxes of commercial prints, and made shelf space for all the floor clutter. I set aside a large box of fabric to be donated to my guild's charity project. I vacuumed newly visible carpet. I emptied the vacuum cleaner.

I ran out of time before I could finish, but the corner that hasn't been cleaned was the least in need of it. My space is better organized. A never-used sewing machine, several bags of batting scraps, and a big box of fabric are gone, giving me space. Things I don't use often are on the harder-to-reach upper shelves. Those odd items I might use "sometime" are sorted into "Keep or Not Keep", then put away or trashed. Photos and paperwork are filed. New purchases are out of shopping bags. Like things with like - sorted and stored. I made a list of three projects which I want to work on - play with the new dye I bought in Houston, quilt my newest quilt, make fabric beads. I haven't had any time to work in my studio since my cleaning day. But in some weird way, cleaning my workspace felt creative.

Maybe spending my time cleaning felt creative because it freed up space and resources. Maybe I'm confusing productivity with creativity. I need an organized (clean!) environment to be creative. Clutter from one project interupts creativity on another project. So cleaning is necessary for me to be creative.

My three projects are waiting for me.....

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