A guest post by Chantelle Brightbill of Clothscape.
I spent a large piece of February getting my studio organized. With the help of a professional.
When I tell other artistic types about this, the general response is a wince, and comments like “some people need help like that I’m sure” or “I have everything exactly where I want it, if someone came and organized it all I would never be able to find anything,” and “my mess is part of my creative process.” The idea seems quite disturbing to so many artists.
I used to feel the same way myself. So what changed things? It was many small things, but overall I realized I was avoiding working in my studio, because the space had a negative impact on me creatively.
Chaos does not encourage creativity, it impairs it.
When I thought about it, it made sense. Why would someone who spends her time making things beautiful want to spend time in an ugly space? The mess made the room ugly to me, and I finally had to admit it.
Let’s be clear here, I was not a candidate for a reality show, so why call in a pro, instead of doing it myself? After all, I do almost everything myself, from painting walls to building furniture.
Because if I could make this happen on my own, it would have already happened.
Working with an organizer was nothing like on TV. It was really more like hiring a business consultant. Claudia looked over my space, asked a lot of questions about my processes and work habits, identified my key problem areas and helped me brainstorm solutions. She engaged me creatively by coming up with things for me to sew and build as a part of the process.
The one thing she didn’t do was actually organize my stuff.
She pointed out that I had my own way of doing things, and I needed to be the one to put each item in the most logical place for me. She was there to help me look at things from a different angle, advice and support, not to do it for me.
Most of the work was accomplished alone. Claudia kept me encouraged, and at one point I got stuck, and she came back and did some hand holding while I pushed through a tough spot. But just like working with any consultant, I had to take her advice and suggestions and implement them myself.
In the end I gained much more than a tidy work space. The experience was quite an emotional journey. I gained insight into why I had created this chaos in the first place, and I learned that I had the ability to stop that from happening again. I increased my efficiency and optimized the use of materials, saving me money.
Most of all I achieved my ultimate goal. Now when I tie on my new work belt and step into my visually appealing studio, I feel enthusiastic and ready to create.
Chantelle Brightbill is a quilter and textile artist creating under her label Clothscape.