Friday, March 27, 2009

Please Pardon My Mess...NOT!

If you've read more than one of my artist interviews you will see that many of the questions I ask are often the same. I think it's facsinating to see the similarities and differences among artists regarding interests, influences, and style. One question I always ask is what type of studio they work in--Is it organized and neat, or controlled chaos? I initially asked this question just to assure myself that I'm not the only artist whose studio/workspace often looks like a bomb went off, and I am relieved to know that I have yet to interview an artist who keeps their workspace neat as a pin!

My husband, a brilliant scientist/mechanic/fixer-of-all-things finds my workspace horrific. No matter how technical or difficult a situation is for him (working up to his elbows in the guts of a tractor, or rebuiding a delicate parrot egg incubator) he somehow manages to keep his workspace organized and, dare I say, tidy. Every tool has it's place, whether in the box or laid out for immediate use. I've tried to explain the whole right-brain, left-brain artist thing to him, but I believe he just thinks I'm hopelessly disorganized.

BUT, we creative types know better, right? How can you really explain the artistic process? I try, I really do, to keep my space organized. Every few days (okay weeks) I actually sit down and clear my workspace. Tools put away, beads back into boxes and trays, bits of scrap metal into other storage, patinas and paint on the correct shelf, right down to the bare wood on my table-top. Then I get an IDEA...and the process begins. No matter how detailed a design is in my head, the process of laying it out and actually creating it is as organic as the design itself. I imagined turquoise, but what about carnelian or coral?? Lay that out. I need a opossum tooth, but found vertebrae I forgot I had. Lay that out. Beads, wire, beads, feathers, beads...lay them all out. Inevitabley, while pulling together all the elements I think I need for a design I find stuff I forgot I even had! Might as well lay that out, too. I'm sure you get the picture...the messy, messy picture.

Once, I knocked a small box of 3mm faceted gemstones off my table to the floor, where they scattered hither and yon. I found myself on my hands and knees, flashlight held tightly in my teeth as I searched for anything shiney. I found the gems, and a package of pheasant feathers, a bone moon face, several long-lost silver beads and a length of sterling silver chain I had given up ever finding again. And that was just in the immediate area around the chair I sit in...Ah, the thrill of the hunt!

In all honesty, I LIKE having a crazy workspace. It's like a freaky treasure hunt, and for the most part I do know where everything is....sort of. I like looking at the chaos and digging a design out of it. Where in nature do you ever see neat and tidy?? Look out your window--unless you live in a formal English garden, everything you see is gorgeous, unplanned, natural chaos. I say, REVEL IN IT!!!


Queen of Tides said...

I can't agree with you enough, if it is all tidied up, I am frustrated that I can't get to my "ingredients" quickly enough...but still, every so often I have to bite the bullet and re-organize so I can start all over un-doing it.

Kate said...

I love your work very much and I agree on the workspace disaster zone area i cant create under anything but that sort of chaos.