Okay, folks. Now that the Chicken Bag Saga has completed, I feel the need for spee- I mean, the need to have a little chat about creative spaces.
For so long, I was under the impression that in order to be A Real Creator that Made Real Things, one required a dedicated, perfectly organized craft space in which to create.
Okay two problems with this: 1. while I may want to have an enormous house that has purpose-dedicated rooms (helloooo six libraries, organized by genre then author then spine color *swoon*), this is not my reality, and 2. organized, much less what society tells us is “perfectly organized,” is about as attainable as me going into actual outer space – while technically possible, what it would take would replace any time, energy, or desire to create things in the first place.
So, what to do? Well, it’s kind a silly answer, but what I’ve found to be effective is to just, well, do. Wherever, whenever I can. (Insert my inner 12-year-old snickering here.) I carry small projects like sewing or knitting with me most places I go to keep my hands busy. My dining room table is routinely piled high with enough stuff to form stratified layers, so I strategically pile one more layer on the most structurally sound section until I have just enough space to write in my journal. I have pieced costumes together on my couch, bound books at my kitchen table, and so on.
That said, I still prefer to do most creative work in my attic; a space more or less dedicated to that purpose, but that isn’t the only purpose of that space. My attic has many roles: guest bedroom, office space, supply closet, cat playground. In addition to my sewing machine, cutting table, crafting library, and the majority of my creative supplies, it also contains a bed, several holidays’ worth of decorations, cat boxes, and occasionally, a toilet paper fortress.
And you know what? It’s a MESS. Pretty much all of the time. There are days (fewer and further between with two kiddos in the house) where I will spend the time to overhaul it all and rearrange the furniture and vacuum the baseboards – but honestly, that’s more because I am working through something else entirely than actually trying to organize my creative space. Plus, as my dad always says, “You can’t fit 10 ounces in an 8 ounce glass.” The sheer volume of supplies and equipment I have is too much to fit neatly and completely organized in my space. Less stuff, you say? NEVER.*
However, I make do and manage… more than I expect, actually. Even though my sewing machine lives inside a desk that is also my partner’s workspace, and in order to use it I have to clear everything off the desk surface, I do. Is there a place for all that stuff to go? Wherever it will fit and I can easily retrieve when it’s time to put it all back. Sometimes that’s on the floor, or sometimes the guest bed. Most of the time, I even remember! And in return for that flexibility, I get to make things like The Chicken Bag, beautiful paper boxes, and more.
So, something I’d like to suggest to the creative people out there: the “perfect creative space” is whatever you need to be inspired and have fun and Do The Things. I apparently need mild chaos, a comfy sweater, and multiple cats. What do you need?
*I joke, but I’m actually kind of serious about this one – part of my own inspirational process is to unearth things I’ve forgotten about and get lost in the excitement of their discovery. I am pretty sure if everything was as neat as a pin, I’d get bored.