Sunday, January 11, 2009

Time to Organize

One way to encourage yourself when setting out on a new art venture is to have an easily accessible set of supplies.

I am one of those people that is continually trying out new ideas. I will read about a certain type of pen or new way of doing something and I want to try it. This is great fun, but it also leads to having many, many supplies and materials.

I often find myself with time to work on a project only to arrive at an art table buried deep in stacks of magazines, or piles of pens or the remains of the last kid day. OR if the art table is cleared (miracles of miracles) and I get to work on my project, I spend half the time trying to locate a specific paint, or picture or rubber stamp. I have reorganized any number of times and still find that I am not organized.

This time, through the yearly Big Organizing Push, I have decided to put each project that I am currently working on in its own bin. I use the big clear boxes that salad greens come in from Costco. (See project bins in the picture.) They are a good size and the clear plastic lets me see instantly which project is inside. They also have nice lids. For example: I have just started a project in needle felting so my bin has swatches of roving
in several colors, three or four felted balls, a packet of felting needles and some yarn in the right colors. When I want to work on this project I just grab the bin, I don’t have to locate the needles or stop and go get the right color of roving. I just poke along!

Another way to use my bin set-up will be to collect the stamps, paints and ephemera that I want to use on a project - before I start - and keep them together until the project is done. This way not only will I not be searching for the pieces, I will remember what I wanted to include in the first place. In the case of the afore mentioned Girlfriends Altered Book I have fragments scattered through out the art room and am surprised and chagrined each time I accidentally find a piece that I spent a couple of hours making last year.

Just recently I came across a brilliant book by Gwen Diehn, she has more than one book out, but this one is The Decorated Page, Journals, Scrapbooks & Albums Made Simply Beautiful. (See under My Favorites in the sidebar.) Among other great tips, techniques and illustrations, the author has come up with an organization system that works really well. She has:
1. Everyday Supply Kit
2. Supply Kit for Customizing Books and Preparing Pages and
3. Travel Supply Kit.

In the book she lists what she keeps in her kits, and these lists can be easily modified for your own needs. In the same section of the book she also clearly says how to set up a workstation. The idea is that when you walk up to your art table or when you have a moment to do art, the supplies are waiting right there all in one place for your use and you valuable time is spent creating, not searching.
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