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 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!)
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?