Know What’s You

A couple weeks ago I wrote about having too much stuff here, here and here.  Having too much stuff is something I think about rather a lot, since I tend to, um, kind of acquire a lot. Oh, not art supplies! No, I’m pretty good about that, having learned my lesson when I finally sorted and purged. No, my weakness is clothes, specifically clothes from the thrift, or garage sales, or estate sales. Very specifically? Clothes that have already had another life and that I can cut up/dye/alter/embellish to make something new.

Since artwear is my art form, I guess clothes *do* actually count as art supplies. I regularly find stuff with tons of possibility and bring it home with me. Hence the necessity for periodically assessing what I have and weeding out the stuff I don’t either need or love.

This is a photo I posted on my blog on Tuesday as I pondered how I ended up with a dress I don’t love. I bought this Gap dress at the thrift. I dyed it, shortened it, and changed the buttons. I thought I would love it, but I don’t.

In writing that post, I realized that not only does the importance of knowing yourself and knowing what your life is all about apply to things like clothes and furniture, it also applies to your studio and your art supplies. At some point, most of us look around and realize we’ve got a ton of stuff that has nothing to do with what we make and everything to do with what we imagine we might one day make. So you’re making jewerly but have half your garage filled with bins of fabric, never mind that fabric doesn’t call to you and that you can’t even remember what’s in those bins. Maybe you have a drawer full of packages of polymer clay, like I used to. You know, just in case someday you might want to make something with it. Let me just say this: I don’t know if I was storing it wrong or if most of that stuff really does have a shelf life, but when I finally got around to opening the packages, it didn’t look like anything that was going to allow me to make it into fabulous beads. It looked like what it was: stuff that had been sitting around, unused, for way too long. If I’d realized earlier that polymer clay isn’t me, I could have passed it on to someone else, back when it was still fresh and new.

In that post, I talked about figuring out what your life is about, what’s you and what isn’t, what you love and what is really about some imaginary life that isn’t anything like what you really want. That’s the key here: taking time to think about what it is you do and what makes your heart sing, and figuring out what fits into that and what is just getting in the way. It’s a useful exercise for your closets, your cabinets, your rooms, your bookshelves. And, of course, your studio.


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