Studio in Shambles, No Room to Work, What's New?


If at any time, as you are reading this missive, you have suggestions for averting, disrupting or halting this chaos of objects and ideas, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post. I am in my studio, confronting decades of stuff accumulated ostensibly to combine into collages. I suspect I was accumulating most of it because each object piqued my interest and I put it in the category of 'maybe I can do something with it.'
This morning I am 'sorting'. 'Sorting' was the word used by a good friend in the audience during Patsy's and my Finding Our Way conversation with Akasha Hull. She remarked that I loved to sort. I agreed and responded with the word 'edit'. To me, editing means putting one thing against another and then another, searching for the moment when suddenly several images and/or objects become more than the sum of their parts.
What I do NOT do well is editing or sorting, in order to organize 'things' within a space. In plain language, this means that it is hard for me to make room to actually do work in my studio. There is simply far too much stuff piled high EVERYWHERE. Sorting for me is like working one of those square plastic puzzles with numbers 1 - 15. Numbers must be moved one at a time until they are in sequence. In the process, nothing is removed, only the order changes.
In the photo above, there is a plastic tub filled with things I used in Second Seating on the banquet table, things I did not sell in Bazaar Bizarre and which I cannot bring myself to give away. There is a black straw hat that used to sit atop the head of a mannequin on the dresser in my bedroom. I changed one hat for another. What to do with this hat covered with tiny pink roses? Hang it on the wall? On the top of the tub is a shadowbox I made in the 1980s that used to hold a variety of brooches I made with tiny photographs in them. I got the photo brooches out of a box to wear for the opening of Finding Our Way.
A shop on West Gray used this display box from which to sell my brooches. I am sure that someday I will fill this shadow box with something new? Back to that photo above. On the left is an entire bolt of Indian mirrored fabric that I bought from...was it Hires in the Village? I couldn't live without it, but I've not yet sewn one thing with any of the yardage. I've used it instead as an overhang on my studio shelving. Except at this moment, it's just rolled around its tube waiting for a new use. I still love this fabric and could make pillows with it or a long full skirt or a curtain. More suggestions?
There are shelves of collages, many in shallow hand painted shadow boxes made for that installation in Marfa in 2005. Other collages are assembled on painted canvases with images from Big Bend, Terlingua and Paris. My collages look like pages from a book. The books still to come. Residing in my head.
Found this folder today. I cannot imagine saving and refiling this for 'later'. I actually collected articles in 2011 on the debt ceiling? Etc?
There are more unfinished collages, elements spread across stretched canvases. I stopped making them mid-stream, after Earl and I showed 'Paris/Terlingua' in April 2013. Rained so hard the afternoon of the opening reception that folks were calling from just blocks away to say they couldn't make it through the high waters. That put a damper on things.
After I semi-organize this studio, I must find places for Finding Our Way framed photographs - the ones that are all wrapped in brown paper because they didn't make the final cut. Thing is, the show is over on November 14 and I'll have to make room for thirty more. And where do I expect to make NEW work, in whatever form it might take? And why am I longing to get into a darkroom again and plow through old negatives and contact sheets? I can hardly wait.
What I really ought to be doing today is assembling those packets of Finding Our Way materials to send on to folks who might offer new venues. That's what should be happening right now. And did I give voice to the idea that I really need an admin assistant? I am floundering. At the same time, I am beginning to imagine new work.


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