Sunday, July 1, 2012

Creativity is Messy

I know that a lot of us love those studio photos where the supplies are all in color-coordinated totes, labeled cubbies, and stylish organizers.  We swoon over Cloth Paper Scissors' Studios issues and Stampington's Where Women Create.  We click through the workshop images on our favorite bloggers' sites, and dream about how we can incorporate their ideas into our own modest spaces. 

But at the end of the day, there is a reality that we all know and cannot escape:

Creativity is messy! 

I spend plenty of time clearing off my work table, and after one evening of working on a project, it is a complete shambles again.  I clear away stacks until only a few papers remain, and yet from those papers, great towers grow within days.  I make every effort to limit the mess to my craft room, and yet at any given moment, you will find evidence of my art and craft-making in the kitchen, the family room, the living room, and sometimes the dining room.  In the war against creative mess, I fight many, many losing battles!

But I look like the paragon of neatness and cleanliness in comparison to one creative space I visited this weekend.

When we moved into our house seven years ago, my husband brought along a pink wing-back chair that he had inherited from his parents.  I was dubious about the color, but within a few months, it faded from my notice and the chair came into heavy-duty daily use.

Fast-forward to the beginning of this year:  spots of fabric that had worn thin suddenly gave up the fight, and bits of white chair stuffing started poking through.  Trying to keep my three-year-old from picking at them was a lost cause, and the poor chair went downhill fast.  When my husband finally determined that the chair had become an embarrassment, he found a local upholsterer, and we went in on Saturday morning to select a new fabric for the chair.

As we walked into Oh & Son Upholstery in Havertown, this is the scene that greeted us:
To our left was a wall of shelves containing heaps of books with upholstery samples for us to consider.  (Thankfully, Mr. Oh helped us whittle down our options based on the chair's style, as well as our color preferences, level of chair use, and budget.)

To the right was a true MOUNTAIN of chairs and other furniture awaiting reupholstering.  I have no idea how they manage to find the piece of furniture they need to work on, or how they ever plan to get to the bottom it.  (You can see my daughter Bayla sitting on our chair, blocking the one walkway through the store.)

At the back of the store, we could see people at work on some of their projects, including ironing (steam-cleaning?) fabrics.  (I have no idea what goes into the process of reupholstering a piece of furniture, so I can't really attest to what they were doing back there!)
While my husband and I were agreeing on fabrics, our daughters were playing on the floor.  Bayla managed to collect a pile of about twenty large staples, and I left feeling grateful that she wasn't a toddler anymore, popping anything and everything into her mouth.

And yet, in all of this, I left with complete confidence that we had made a great choice for our chair.  I have no idea how those people manage to work in this disorder and messiness, but I found this environment so fascinating.  Somehow it gave me more assurance that we were going to get an honest job done than a sleek and shiny showroom would. 

Creativity is messy, to be sure.  Some people live more fully in that reality than others, I guess!

What do you think?  Does this scene rival your own creative chaos?


Anne's Mail said...

My space is messy, but not that messy! The photos make me feel better about the appearance of my crafting space, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing :)

Jewels said...

Pretty darn close though I don't have stacks to the ceiling. I'm with you - if my work space is "clear" I've either gone momentarily insane or its been mandated by husband (who obviously does not get it). Messiness leads to creativity I say LOL

Carin Winkelman said...

Ha, I feel like the queen of cleanliness and tidiness now. (But only compared to those pictures.)
By the way: I think a studio that is all tidy and neat is a studio where no work is being done. I'm somewhere in the middle myself. I like things to have their place, but I need them at hand as well when I'm working.

Jo Murray said...

OMG.. I like some mess... but surely SOME organisation is require to run a business! That is just TOO much.

laurie said...

i have a mess wherever i create - my craft room, my kitchen table, the table by my couch, everywhere!!! i clean it up once in awhile but it doesn't take long for it to pile up again. i'm glad to know i'm not the only one. :-)