Friday, June 24, 2011

I have been Summer-ized

A year ago, my friend Summer came over for coffee and a chat. Summer is the Costume designer (among other administrative and teaching titles) at Gonzaga University. She is a kindred spirit in terms of her creativity and appreciation for quality, but she has something I don't have- the "O" gene. A year ago Summer offered to help me organize my space to make it work more efficiently. At that time, I really believed that chaos was part of what made my creativity thrive. I turned her down, and she politely accepted that.
I spent the last year working in my 10' by 12' studio, winding it up like a slow motion tornado. I even enjoyed the thought of myself as akin to a natural disaster. (Tempted to analyze that right now - but I won't do it here.) Draw a pattern, cut it out, shove it aside, sew it up, scraps shoved aside - don't throw them away, save them for the crazy quilt! Fabric for the next project was handy - and often, in the way. Lots of fabric, lots of visual stimulation. Almost everything had a place, but I am the only one who could find anything. Sometimes it took me a couple of days to find a specific ruler. If I couldn't find something I really needed, I would buy another. Things that didn't have a proper place got hung on the peg board - jewelry findings, buttons, mirrors, they came packaged to hang in the store, I will hang them too. Then there was the drapery: twill tape draped on the pegboard, spools of chain, ribbons, elastic, a shoe lace, (I am not sure why)luggage tags, zippers. Anything hang able was hung there.
A whole year of making (and making a mess) passed. And then, I couldn't make any more. I began working at the kitchen table. I avoided the studio. I was still producing but not as much as I knew I could if I were organized. I found an empty box of sewing needles, but I could not find a single needle to sew on a button. That was the last straw. Finally, I cried for help. Summer was there for me. She came running and ready to work. Summer is full of practical suggestions and the sensitivity to let them sink in. I told her which piles were important and which hadn't been looked at in the last year. She sent me outside to weed the garden (We agreed it was best if I didn't watch this part.) while she hauled out 6 or 8 big black bags of giveaway and garbage (that is, my imaginary crazy quilt.) I came in, and joined her in going through boxes and being a lot more realistic than ever before in what to keep and what to toss.
We moved my big beautiful dresser out, and went shopping for shelves. It happened to be the first day of an incredible sale at Lowes on this shelving, so I spent about half as much as I had planned. Sweet! We went to lunch.

At lunch we talked about my sewing ADD and how maybe that was caused by over stimulation. Above is the shelving that replaced my big dresser, less stimulating and more efficient. I marveled as Summer told me about sewing more than 300 costumes between September and May. My jaw dropped when she informed me that she has over 800 patterns catalogued and stored neatly in her studio at Gonzaga. I got inspired by her efficiency, her ability and her humility.

Summer's layout of the room is so much better than the "L" shape I was using. I have more room now for everything. Just in case there is anyone reading this who finds they have worked themselves to a standstill, I want to invite you to get Summer-ized. If you are in Spokane, Pullman or in the Seattle area, chances are Summer can schedule something with you - before school starts up again at Gonzaga. I highly recommend her as an organization maven, and not just for sewing rooms. She is working with a local woman on her whole house next week. Summer has all of the right stuff and she knows how to use it. I love how my studio works. Thanks to Summer.

An organized and uncluttered peg board. Small stuff in small drawers and labeled.
My shipping area. I will organize the closet more, but right now, I am really enjoying how well my space works.


Cindy said...

Nice job! I definitely was born without the "O" gene too. Fortunately, my daughter takes after her dad and has our craft supply closet well organized.

Your workroom is beautiful!

Laura said...

Terrific Cherie and Summer! I'm planning a redo of my sewing studio soon, so I'm on the lookout for tips. UFO's have either got to be finished or sent out to loving homes!

StudioCherie said...

Laura, what is a UFO?

osovictoria said...

Whew! I have the O gene! I love organizing once everything gets to a state of utter chaos. What a great friend.

Tracey said...

How wonderful!! I posted photos of my 'tragic' studio space in Jan or Feb, thinking that might embarrass me into action!! Nope.

I might have to call Summer or Victoria (above) too ;)

Great post. You're lucky to have such a wonderful friend!

Anonymous said...

OMG I am so jealous of how organized you are! My studio? Yeah... I would be wayyyyy to embarrassed to show any pictures of THAT on the internet! lol!

StudioCherie said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies. It continues to amaze me how much better I am working now - more focused - more productive. I have 2clothing patterns coming out! Yay