I like to think of myself as a fairly neat person. I rarely have more than one scary item that gets shoved far to the back of the refrigerator. I make the bed, hang up my coat and put away my shoes. So if I can manage to keep the living area of my house squared away, why doesn't that happen in my studio?
My studio, otherwise known as the Troll Hole or on bad days, the Pain Cave, serves a few purposes. My drawing table takes up a fair amount of room as does my flat file for storing artwork. I also do most of my writing there, so my computer and desk hog up another wall. Then there's my teaching and my file cabinets for files and course materials. And I also pay my bills at the other desk at the other wall. Add to this a TV, a stereo, overloaded bookshelves and you got yourself a clutter magnet. No, not merely a magnet - a black hole sucking in the randomness of my, well, I guess it's the randomness of my own personal creative process.
I've tried to be organized around my workspace - really. And I am so totally jealous of people that can do that. But at the moment, my paper recycling's overflowing (the old man wiener dog was taking a nap in it earlier this morning), I still have a pile of printer cartridges to take back to Office Depot, files waiting to be filed are piled on my computer tower and I see that Twig, the terrible Min-pin has added 3 of my socks to her collection of dog toys littering the floor. Added to all of that, for some reason, I decided my studio was the perfect staging area to get ready for a garage sale this weekend. Genius, pure genius.
But here's the deal. Even though clutter drives me bat crazy insane in the kitchen, living room, bathroom or bedroom. It doesn't seem to distract me from my work. In fact, I've been more productive this past year than in any other. And because I've been so busy, I haven't had time to muck out the studio. And so on and so on. So which comes first? Creativity or Clutter?
Take that, "chicken or the egg" riddle maker-upper.
I recommend to my writing students that they keep a journal. And I practice what I preach - sort of. In the midst of my clutter are my "journals" which are completed crossword puzzle books - piles and piles of crossword puzzle books. For some reason, when I'm puzzling over an entry, that's when I get inspired, solve a creative problem, or figure out just what a pirate pig would look like. The margins of these books are filled with doodles, poems, snippets and idea gobbets.
I have no idea if the way I work is different or weird than other people's methods. I actually don't really want to know because my clutter problem's most likely here to stay - the creative part at least. The other stuff? Garage sale! So if you're in the market for a tea pot collection, a Pez collection, collected pottery, art, Russian nesting dolls, collectible toys, I'm dumping it all this weekend.
Did I mention I married a former art gallery owning collector to beat all collectors?
Clutter, the gift that keeps on giving.