I am an artist. Many of you know this about me. I like to paint, sew, make jewelry and even sculpt if I have a supply of clay on hand (get it? Clay on hand? I am also an amateur stand up comedian!). Most of my art is something that creates a passive income for me on top of what I earn as a Shamanic practitioner. Something that my fellow artists always comment on is how “organized and tidy” my art studio space tends to be.
Although I do like to throw paint around now and then, I do not believe that my creative space needs to be looking like a bomb went off in it. This is part of my Aquarian nature, actually. I am creative and calculated. I can make something absolutely astonishingly beautiful and no one would be able to tell that I had been there doing it.
I don’t like when things pile up and I have to search for anything. There is a place for everything and everything is in its place. That way, when I need it, I know exactly where to find it. I could be in the middle of painting a picture and suddenly need to add a bit of sparkles. The paint will only be wet for so long. If I spend my time searching for the sparkles, then it is too late to apply it. So I know where everything is. And that way it is always just a small reach away when I need it.
I am not judging those whose art studios do look like a bomb went off in them. After all, creative people are most often quite messy people. It is not uncommon to find gobs of paint on a hardwood floor in someone’s art studio space. But I am the type who really appreciates hardwood floors, so I personally would drape said floor. A friend recently came into my studio and asked where all the mess was? She then looked behind the curtains of the closet, only to find stacks of drawers and baskets, all perfectly organized. “OMG!” she exclaimed, “Even the CLOSET is tidy!”
I think that my tidiness also has to do with my dyslexia. You see, for me, when I look into, say, a utensil drawer, and all the utensils are mish mashed in every direction, I cannot actually perceive what utensil is what. My cooking utensils are in a drawer beside the stove. ALL THE HANDLES MUST FACE THE LEFT. I even have a sign on the inside of the front of the cooking utensil drawer to remind others who may be putting clean dishes away to organize that drawer properly. My step-son thought at first that if it was not organized that way I would have a seizure. I laughed. Then I said, “No, just a ROYAL MELTDOWN.” He is very good at making sure all the handles go to the left. When handles go every which way in direction I can spend 10 minutes looking for the utensil I need when it is right there in front of me. But I can’t see it. That is how my dyslexia works. It is not always about having letters scramble on the page you are trying to read (something that happens if I am reading when I am tired), it is also about how the brain can process the information it is being given. So my coping mechanism is that I have become anally retentive in my organizational capabilities. My closets, my drawers, my kitchen, my china cabinets, my art studio…it is all super organized so that I CAN FUNCTION. If anyone needs to find something I can tell them things like, “In the bedroom, in the large chest of drawers, in the cupboard to the right, top shelf, right side, near the back of the shelf.” And they will find exactly where it is…if they listen to what I have said!
I also do not leave messes lying around. This is because if I do, then the likelihood of the mess increasing in size is quite large. It is natural that people will just “give up” and add to a mess, thinking that if one person started it then it is alright to just add to it and “somebody” will eventually clean it up. But when the mess grows I end up short circuiting because I can’t see what is where. So when I am done with my creative time all that I have used during that time gets put away.
Other artists have often walked into my creative space and said, “Wow! How do you even function creatively in such a tidy place?” Well, I can ask the same of them when it comes to their creative chaos. To each their own. Someone recently said to me that my art studio has the feel of a Zen Garden. Yes, the first thing I placed in there was a Buddha. Maybe that has something to do with it. And perhaps also the fact that the shelves that are visible are not littered with clutter, but have plants and ornaments strategically placed. All the “clutter” stuff is behind curtains in the closet. And even then, there are plastic drawer, baskets, and bins so everything is put away neatly. My beads are all hung in packets on a peg board in the back of the work table. That is how I can see what is available and where it is.
But it really doesn’t matter what sort of work space you have for an art studio, the point is to have fun creating. So do THAT. Art was, after all, one of the first shamanic practices. That’s right! The Ancient shamans would go into transe and paint an animal on the cave wall. This would allow the shaman to tune into the animal’s spirit. Once out of the transe they would say to the hunters things like, “Over the third hill to the south you will find a heard of deer. Be careful to not take the doe with the speckles on her hind legs. She is pregnant.” And so our people would survive the Ice Age!