Linda M. asked: My first question has to do with space (room). I have found since moving into a much smaller home that I am less apt to take out any of my art pieces in progress. There is no space for even a small design wall, under bed storage is already used for home canned goods, etc. My only work area is our small, full dining room, and as you know it’s extremely difficult to put away something that has our creative juices flowing full stream. Do you have any suggestions that would make it easier to put a WIP (app 2′ x 2′) safely away when mealtime or company comes?
Linda, you have no idea how lucky you are… the larger the space the more to worry about! I am not trying to be funny here – despite my wonderful custom built studio I often look back at my humble beginnings: A kitchen table in our master bedroom. Mind you, I didn’t quilt in those day. My primary focus was on embroidery and smaller projects. I did spread out into the living room and dining room table eventually, and I claimed a hall closet for storage. The best part: it was easy to stay organized.
When we first moved to Saskatchewan I had to practice patience (not my strong suit). My studio supplies and library (previously accessible in almost 700 square feet of our finished basement) were packed away in 100 + copy paper boxes. The building of the studio structure took close to nine months. The solution: I brought my main sewing machine into the house and worked on the dining room table. This worked just fine as long as my quilt did not exceed the 2′ x 2′ size you refer to. And then there were the new neighbors and friends that dropped over for coffee…
Eventually I realized that I would save myself a whole lot of stress and upset if I worked smaller. I focused on small pieces that could be framed. It also meant that a large Rubbermade lidded container would provide ample storage for those days we were expecting official company for dinner. I was able store everything in the container, push it into a corner, drape a nice fabric over it and place an over-sized vase with branches on top, making it look like a side table. Artful baskets with flat lids also work for this. I have a number of them around my living room with my spinning fibers and knitting yarns.
I think by now you understand what I am trying to share: Art can be created in any space, a motto presented by Constance Howard, a forward thinking, emerald haired and accomplished post-world war British embroiderer.
Clearly identify what it is you need and want to create. Are you making large quilts every time you plan a new project? If the answer is no and you only create one or two larger items, save these for the time you attend a retreat. That is what I continue to do. Large tables at retreats are perfect for large work.
I hope this helps – a little at least. I know it is difficult to switch gears. Making it as painless as possible is key. That ensures continued enjoyment of your passion!
I am sure many of you readers can relate and may even have a story or two to impart. Feel free to leave your contribution in the comment section below. Happy Sunday!