Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kilnroom and hoarder redflags!

I have great news of great progress! The kilnroom of Mudfire Clayworks has been cleaned, organized and rearranged! The new layout is more spacious - more open - more inviting - more usable! A few more tweaks will be finished soon but members can already enjoy added shelves, wider aisles and easy access to their work. Dedicated shelves for bigger pieces are coming soon as well as the maiden voyage of the new large bisque kiln. Many items were found for the upcoming yard sale on Saturday October 19th at Mudfire! Tons (literally) of ceramic and other tools, equipment, materials and mountains of treasures are up for grabs! All yard sale proceeds will be put toward purchasing wheels for the workshop room, which kicks off future plans to allow studio access for members during all workshops!
I am really proud of the new kilnroom! In addition to delivering the good news, here are some helpful hints and cautions for anyone organizing, de-cluttering or setting up a work space.

I'm one of the Mudfire Residents, Kevin Bennett. 
I am also a recovering 
art supply pack rat.

- rediscover supplies you forgot you owned.
- discover supplies you have no memory of ever owning.
- are known by name at a thrift store by someone that is not even an acquaintance.
- keep the same materials in several places to increase the chances of finding them.
- have accepted someone's entire art supply cache before seeing what was in it.
- have a substantial amount of a media you dislike or do not know how to use.
- realize that things you are taking to Goodwill were actually once purchased there.

The urge to collect is one drawback of an artist's mindset. Everything begins to be a possible resource once you become practiced enough in turning a material into something greater. Even the most starving of artists can soon find themselves buried under harvested goods without proper control and good organization. As a miniature Kevin, I spent as much time categorizing my toys as I would playing with them. I saved my allowance to buy organizers for my Lego collection. I became practiced in problem solving, sorting and classifying...which became a great help when I later grew into an attention deficit sever enough that there have been many times in my life where a shiny object has almost been the death of me. Even if you feel no personal shame over the size of your hoard, a squared away storage or work area will help you accomplish a task before you forget what the heck you intended to do or how you intended to do it.

Chose a common denominator! Pick a way to group things that will work for you. Would it be better to put all the tools with tools then kinds of materials together? Should you separate according to activity where everything in the painting family, for example, shares a home?

Know what you are unwilling to compromise! Decide in the beginning what part of a space must be used for and what items must stay in it. You can make problem solving easier when you reduce the number of puzzle pieces by knowing what has to remain constant.

Start with a clean slate! If possible, move items into another room.  Determine what can be donated, gifted and what is just plan trash. Separate the remainder into groups as you go. You will notice possible uses of space when there is LESS IN IT! It also helps motivation when you see progress!

Set time limits! When faced with a tough decision of whether or not to keep a material, factor in how long you have been keeping it for a special occasion. I have a two year rule. After that...I feel better about putting it up for adoption. I set a “use by” date for anything older than two years that I cannot bare to part with...it helps get the ball rolling.

Balance availability, work space and storage! Using one area for many things gives you more storage space. More materials kept in storage until needed enables you to have more area to work in. BUT supplies kept out of sight increase the odds of forgetting they are there at all.

Don't over organize! Creating an overly detailed system that you know in your heart you will never stick to is a waste of time. If I can get away with it I will usually stop at groupings like “Things that cut” instead of making smaller individual homes.

Don't fight your instinct! If you notice things that commonly stray out of a grouping and into another, it may be time to find a home for that herd.

Give tours! Chances are extremely high that your perfect organization makes no sense to someone else. Especially in a shared space, show whose that will be working there the logic behind your decisions. Everyone can then benefit from the new efficiency and can help with upkeep!

Stay tuned for more updates from Mudfire Clayworks. The yard sale is October 19th! 

Special thanks to everyone that helped in the kilnroom cleanup and 
all those that have shown their appreciation! 
-Kevin Bennett


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