Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Organization for Fiber Artists and other Creative Entreprenuers: "ROCPAS"

Creative minds are not always organized. The creative types I know, including myself, are often seekers who look for pattern, color, inspiration and stimulation throughout their environment. Having multiple projects going at once is often the result of this seeking, experimental personality type, which doesn't exactly lend itself to tidiness.

So while creatively minded people are often in swirl of energy and excitement, there is also the very real need to be a responsible, career-focused professional...at least in my practice as an artist! If you pursue art for profit as I do, you may also need to go against type and spend at least some of your working hours taming the creative mess that is all around and about your creative space. I mean, where did I put those papers that I have to turn in to the museum shop next week? I'm sure they were put somewhere logical and safe...I just haven't seen them in awhile. Can you relate?

The Nestle And Soar business office, dusted and swept!
Here are a few of my favorite attempts in the past few months, along with the amazing inspiration I have pulled from others, as I endeavor to organize my life as a fiber artist. I offer these images with the hopes that you will share some of your best ideas and successes in this matter of Responsible, Orderly Conduct in the Pursuit of Artistic Success: ROCPAS. Like many things in life, it all begins with a dream.

The paperwork involved in running a small business doesn't always feel small -- it often feels overwhelming! Keeping my business papers organized is an ongoing endeavor around here.

Ideal fabric storage idea from Bee in My Bonnet

Like most fiber artists, handling fabric is a tactile joy for me! Even though it is fun to remind myself about all of the fantastic fabric I own and stockpile, I have never taken as much focused effort as the entrepreneur Lori Holt at Bee in My Bonnet. Her fabric stash makes my list of Responsible Orderly Conduct because it allows her to know exactly what her inventory of fabrics can yield in terms of quilted goodness. She probably doesn't have to buy fabric because she cannot find the fabric she thinks she bought 6 months ago. Has that ever happened to you?

Speaking of paperwork, I have this daydream that involves my family and how they would be able to look up details regarding our shared life paperwork without having to step into my studio, asking me to help them. In this daydream, no one begins a request with the dreaded, "Do you know where those forms are for that big important project we've been talking about?" I would rather just keep sewing and tell them to go look in the baby blue binder. Right?

This daydream remains a dream for me because I haven't made myself, or anyone else, work toward a sorted, labeled, updated binder system like the one I've found here. I do own a label making machine and a credit card for Office Max though, so I feel like this is a doable project. Someday.

My last organizational tool that seems to be working well here at Nestle And Soar is the use of compartmentalized sorting devices. In my studio, as well as in my home, I seem to have enough storage options. That being said, I still wasn't being organized about how stuff was placed inside of those drawers, closets and shelving units. I was using the "Jam it in Somewhere" technique, which isn't sustainable, and not all that helpful.

When I think about being a successful creative entrepreneur, I don't imagine myself having to hunt and dig through jumbled drawers to unearth the key ingredient for a custom fiber art piece I have agreed to make on a deadline. No, I more envision myself opening up a drawer organized like the one shown here, where compartments have been used to trap and keep the vintage buttons my client is counting on having used to embellish her four made-to-order decorative pillows. My creative work continues to be more like play when I don't have to go on an expedition to complete a simple task!

So how do you and I pull off all of this Creative Mess/Responsible Order balance? I would love to know what you think. Perhaps we give some of our good energy once a week to organizing specific parts of our creative space? Or perhaps we always use the inspiration of more organized people as our game plan? Or, maybe we make sure that one of our high-energy friends comes over to visit on a regular basis and we bribe her with food and free stuff to just save us from our disorganized selves? I think all of these techniques are helpful, and getting a little help is a good thing.

Thanks for stopping by,

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