Studio before and after

The Big Clean

If you saw my letter from the editor picture in this latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, you’ll know what I mean when I say my studio easily could have been mistaken for the set of “The Swamp Thing.”  With the amount of clutter and gunk I had accumulated, it resembled a marshy landscape of questionable hygiene. And more importantly, I had an impossible time finding anything. Ever.

Here’s what I mean:


and this:


And since I’m exposing my messy ways, let me show you this:


As Good As It’s Gonna Get

Everyday for the past month, I’ve slowly chipped away at cleaning it up. How did I motivate myself to do this? I pictured my mother (otherwise known as “mA”), coming out from Las Vegas for a long-awaited visit. We’d hug at the airport and loop arms around each other as we entered the house. We’d  ascend the stairs to my beloved studio—my atelier, my secret, cherished garden so to speak.  With pride and joy, I’d open the studio door, only to hear her gasp, look over her shoulder at me with trembling lips and say, “Could you really be my daughter? Because no daughter of mine could ever disrespect her things–or herself–like this.”

This imagined, shame-inducing scenario worked. (Thanks mA!)

As of this morning, April 1st (and this is no April Fool’s), my studio looks something like this:


and this…


And this…


  And OH OH OH…this!


And I can’t forget this!


  And and and…


Oh! And one more…


So there. I’ve cleaned up my act. A few things to point out about the cleaning:

1. I organized all my hand threads into plastic bags, sorting them by color. All of the skeins have been placed on large key rings inside the plastic bags. This way they never get tangled and I can always find exactly what I need. Mary Fisher (the most organized person I know) taught me this trick.2. All of my rubber stamps are sorted into bins by theme (i.e. human forms, alphabet letters, abstract designs, floral designs, etc.)3. All of my hand-dyed and over-dyed fabrics that I love to pet and ogle at everyday, get a special place on the shelf. All my other fabrics (quilting and novelty fabrics) are sorted by color into large bins that fit under the tables, I do not bother folding any of this stuff–I just toss it in.4. I’ve separated my studio into four general areas:     a. Mixed-media and stabilizers (all my “burning” supplies and tools, chiffon scarves, Angelina, silk     cocoons, water-soluble stabilizers, Pellon, etc.) are placed in bins near the sewing machine area.    b. Hand-threads and quilting supplies.    c. Rubber stamps, paints, papers, and adhesives.    d. quilting and machine threads. I have a design wall and a peg board to keep my rotary cutters,        color wheels, rulers, and other supplies.

Although I’m constantly mixing it all up, it does help to keep each craft housed in their own corners so to speak.

If you want to see other artists’ studios, click here.