I’m in the happy position of having almost emptied and then reorganised my studio just before Christmas, to make way for a new and somewhat gigantic sewing machine. I really surprised myself with the space I gained by the reorganisation as well as how much I let go. The feeling of freedom gainedfrom all that extra work space and lack of clutter has stayed with me and made me determined to keep it going. Everything I use regularly is on display and easy to reach. My worktop holds only work for current projects (3 of them) and the machine, which I need to get to grips with now 2 of the projects are nearly resolved.
However, I cant completely get away with it – there are 3 drawers of machine threads that need reorganising (that will no doubt save me buying new threads I don’t need) plus a couple of drawers and low cupboards that I didn’t touch. They are not easy to get at and I cant quite remember all their contents, which suggests they don’t hold anything very useful! We know what that means - weekly task!
I’m fairly thrifty with materials and have learnt over the years what I need to use. I’m not tempted by the latest gizmo or new materials anymore and buy only neutral fabrics in a limited range of qualities that I can dye or print if necessary. The threads I use are becoming finer and finer, so mostly buy silk and machine thread. Most of the time I work with a very limited palette, so don’t need a wide range of colours of threads, wire, fabric. I’ve recently taken a sketching course and learnt the wisdom of having a limited watercolour palette / colour pencils, in the process learning to mix my own (more interesting?) colours.
As part of this week’s exercise I’ve written a list of my ‘Desert Island Basic Kit’ and am impressed with how short it is – although I couldn’t manage without my iPad, my virtual sketchbook, which might be an issue until they bring out a solar powered version.
My work has a fairly coherent voice, with new interests and concerns slowly filtering into the mix. It has taken me quite a long while to see how connected it is, with more recent works ‘joining the dots’. Alongside this body of work, I have undertaken several residencies over the last few years, working on site specific projects for heritage sites, museums and nature reserves. This brings in a new element, the content and materials used being dictated by the site. This diversity brings new challenges and influences my more personal work. Journalling, as part of this process, has helped identify the connections and limits, and also to see how new work and ideas fit in.