Monday, March 26, 2012

messy work table

In this age of decluttering and neatness, don't we all want to keep our work spaces in order? Isn't that what we are told--a clean, neat area is more efficient. And who knows, maybe it is. But as my friend Lynn Krawczyk  of Fibra Artysta wrote, work tables are by their very nature messy when you are working. Isn't this part of the creative experience? Let's share images of our own messy work spaces, she suggested. Here is the blog:  After all, it is an artist at work. Let's all share images, she suggested.

Could I resist? Nope. Now, it's not that I don't try to be neat. I do. After all in my new studio the mess is one of the first things you see as you walk in. And I do clean it up regularly--seriously I sorted it last week.

Yes, that is my cutting board that you can catch glimpses of. I have to keep that area moderately clean. It is after all, also my counter for selling.  But then there is the pile of fabric--some has been cut for the new quilt. Others may get used--and isn't it easier to have it out if you want to audition a fabric?

A bit of a mess, isn't it? Actually I do keep most of the fabrics stored in plastic drawers. The studio is so tiny that I bring out the drawers one at a time to sort through to find the right palette for the quilt. The drawers are loosely arranged by color. Greens and browns, rusts and greys. All have their separate drawers.

You can also see the piles of fabric that I keep right by the sewing machine. Those are pieces I may use on the block I am making. First I move the fabric onto the cutting board and make some wedges. Usually I leave the fabric out until I finish the block in case I need another size or color. And yes, I can cut too much fabric to have by the sewing machine--then it takes too long to find.

But still I always cut too much. Bring out too many fabrics. It is much easier and quicker that way. Then I save the extras in the pile next to the cutting board. Why throw it away?  I do go through it to see if there is anything I can use for the quilt. Great inspiration there. Some of the fabrics are the last little bits of fabrics that I have loved.  I can't throw that away, can I? Although once or twice a year I go through it and recycle strips that I know I won't use. I am even considering getting some plastic boxes to store the extras--would the pile grow too large if I do? Would I use what I have already cut?

And as I work I do stash in the drawers the colors that I am no longer going to use. See, these peach colors are ready to be put away. I told you I do try.

 But I guess this is how I have to work. After all, just look at the range of colors in just one block of the new quilt. The rusts, greens, browns, taupe and even a bit of grey.

And you--how do you create order out of chaos? Is your work space neat or messy? Does it change? What do you think? Can you be too neat or too messy?


  1. Great shots Ann, this Messy Table thing has been fun! I put links to all of the participants on my blog.

  2. Thanks for sharing your messy table. Now add paint, charcoal, art pens, collage materials etc... and you have mine. Actually, though I blame it on mixed-media, I know it would be messy with only fabric too. Now I feel compelled to post pics of mine all cleaned up. Best get started!

  3. Great pics! There is a growing pile on my table, too, because auditions aren't over until the piece is quilted.

  4. Love it Ann! Messy workers, unite!! :)

  5. Fabulously inspiring mess! And I love your quilts!