29 Jun Creative Spaces: Can they be too neat, tidy and pristine?
If you were to look on Pinterest or Instagram, it would seem that everyone covets a creative space that is neat, tidy and absolutely pristine. In the photos there is seldom an unused paperclip on view, let alone a slew of markers and pencils, note pads and books on display! At first I found myself envying those creative spaces, but then I realized that what those photos show aren’t showing creative spaces at all. Being creative is a messy process, it requires us to let our guard down and try new things. Sometimes that means making a mess!
It occurred to me that for all the images of roll away closets full of unused art supplies, there should be an equal number of photos of messy tables, desks, sofas, cars and workbenches where creativity is in the process of being practiced. I love reading or hearing about creatives who ingeniously pack up carving supplies and sculpting rubber so they can carve a new stamp while waiting for their child’s swim meet to run, or have the water pens in their purse so they are equipped to create a quick watercolor while between appointments or enjoy a cup of coffee, and wonder what their work spaces at home must look like?.
I agree that if a space is really messy, then it makes starting something a new rather daunting task, although the workbench at the right does give complete permission to carry on making as much mess as you wish! I also think that when we are at a low ebb, ‘visual clutter’ can make us feel that starting a new project is too big a task to take on.
For me a happy medium is what makes for creative spaces. Having some pens, paint and paper out just invites you to stop, sit down and pick them up. Even if you aren’t sure exactly what it is you want to do, some supplies at the ready gives you something to use while you deliberate. It is necessary to tidy up from time to time just to clear more work space, and it is helpful to put supplies away so you know just what you have. I also try to vacuum around my work space as I end a particularly messy project, as I know I will start to avoid the space if I feel it is nagging me to clean it! (I also hear my mother’s voice in my head urging me to ‘tidy up’…)
So, what does your creative space need to look like? Are you comfortable with leaving some things out, or do you need to clear everything away at the end of a crafting session? Does it make a difference if you have a dedicated creative space – will you leave that in more of a mess than a public area of your home? I urge you to experiment and find what is a comfortable level of order and chaos for you to feel inspired to get busy and create!