Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Swim Upstream or Go with the Flow?

It has been a while since I have posted, and the longer the time in between posts the more difficult it is to create a coherent topic- so much to say!

First, I'm going to share a story about swimming in the Arkansas River when I was a child. My mom, my brother and I were visiting my mom's friend in Kansas. There were several surprising things about this river, the first being its name. It's name is pronounced as it is written,  Ar- Kan-zas, and not Ar-kan-saw like the state that shares its name. The second surprise was how shallow it was. We waded far from the bank, and it seemed like we could have walked all of the way across without going in over our heads! The river's current was not too strong where we were, but it was still moving enough that when my brother and I tried to swim upstream, we paddled and paddled without getting anywhere, like we were on a water treadmill. We thought this was pretty fun, but we did get tired. Not too far from where we were playing there were large posts which held up a bridge that crossed over the river. Mom's friend had warned us that the water was deeper around these posts, but I guess we weren't paying attention and strayed too near. One moment we were playing, the next, my brother's head suddenly disappeared under the water, like he had been sucked down a drain. There was a second of panic, but my mom's friend had grown up swimming in that river, and he dove down, pulled my brother up onto his chest and then floated gently out of the eddy. He told us if it happened again, we should not try to swim or struggle, but to relax and float so the current would take us out. Go with the flow.

I mention this story because I thought of it last night when I left my studio and came to bed. Sometimes when I am feeling really overwhelmed and behind, an image of swimming upstream, or even drowning comes to mind. (Yes, I know I can be a bit dramatic!) I have always had a habit of working on many projects at once, and at times I try to fight this, feeling somehow it would be more efficient for me to work on one thing until it is finished, but I am beginning to think it is not so much a habit as a personality trait as I just keep doing it! It can be frustrating at times. This month, for example, I have been spending many hours in my studio, but just last week I was near tears looking at my plans for January, and feeling like I had done nothing! On the list were studio reorganization, finishing some orders, finishing the 20th Anniversary Bear mentioned in the previous post, and making the bears for Silly Bears to take to Hugglets! The reality was that I had done much, but had finished nothing! I can't seem to change the way that I work, so I think perhaps I need to change the way I think about it. To go with the flow, so to speak. I have done a great deal this month; I have reorganized most of my studio, reorganized my basement storage area,  I began to sculpt some dolls for the Quinlan show, I finished the first four bears of 2014 (apart from accessories), and three other bears are well on their way to being finished!

Here are a few photos of my studio. It has not changed completely, but the few changes I have made will make a big impact on my work flow I think!
Looking in from the stairs. 

Another view from the stairs

The Ikea Hemnes desk and sofa table shown above are not new, but arranged together they are one of the best purchases I have made for my studio. They provide great storage and a large work space! In fact, I like them so much I bought another sofa table! To the right of it is my new "walk-in closet" under the stairs. This has always been there, but it was previously so stuffed and so poorly arranged that I had to nearly everything out to get something from inside it. Now I can walk in, see at a glance all that is there, and get what I need without dismantling the whole thing.
New sofa table and walk in closet!

The addition of the shelf and hanger bar to the closet makes a big difference. The other contents of the closet are on a small bookcase which was formerly on the short wall where I have the new sofa table now.
Cute suit case boxes from Michael's 

Small bookcase in closet

My sewing station

This little chest of drawers was holding my CDs, but after looking at some "re-purposed" drawers on Pinterest. I doubled the storage by turning the chest and its drawers into shelves! I plan to repaint it at some point.
Four drawer chest with Christmas motif

The drawers stacked on their sides still hold my CDs.

The chest now holds baskets with work in progress.

My painting and sculpting station has not changed much except that I have moved all the necessary supplies to the adjacent shelves.( Many things were previously tucked elsewhere in my studio!)
Sculpting and painting station

Work in progress

An extra large sculpting stand becomes a rotating tool holder!
My mom did the painting for me!

The little sign on the left used to hang on the studio wall, but I am making a new sign...
Let whatever you do today be enough!

And for those of you waiting to see BEARS on this blog, here is my work table now~!

It's messy, but I'll clean it later!

Waiting for accessories.