In my art I use a lot of stuff, and by stuff I mean paper, beads, canvas, leather, wood, clay, and of course the requisite dried slices of acrylic paint. I have a wonderful work area devoted to jewelry making, and as soon as I sit down at my work table I can dive right in to the work of making new pieces. In the artistic process there tends to be much shuffling of stuff. It is easy to get so involved in this process that the work area becomes a chaotic mess of stuff.
There comes a time in my work process that I simply need to
stop, put everything back in order, and start up again. Curiously, I find that this brief time of setting things back in order is also the time when I get my best ideas and inspiration. It’s like getting a breath of fresh air. Once that occurs, I am eager to dive in and start the work all over again.
I know artists who seem to thrive amidst the chaos of their work. For them it’s "the messier the better." I know other folks who won't even allow themselves to delve into the artistic process because they don't want to get messy. Somewhere in between these two extremes there is a balance, and that balance is where I need to be in order to produce artwork of quality.
Art is, after all, an organization of elements to bring about a visual representation. It's all about bringing order to chaos. “Art is the triumph over chaos” according to John Cheever. As such,
an art piece can be a reflection of balance and order, or the lack thereof.
I derive satisfaction and grow in anticipation from the simple routine of setting up of paint, textured papers, pencils, brushes and water dish in preparation for painting. With jewelry making, as I set out of the color groups of beads, papers and paint films so all is at my fingertips, the inspiration starts to flow. The setting up process is akin to setting the stage for a great production. (Of course my cat tries to help by taking over my newly restored and organized work space. Sometimes that is a problem.)
At the end of my work time, I always take the time to clear off
the table so that next time I can have a fresh start with a clean slate.
Before leaving for a weekend show, I clear the table and leave
myself a card that says "Welcome back". For me this is all part of working in the balance between chaos and order.
In what order do you set up your work space? Is there a relationship between your physical set-up and the outcome of your work? How do you best function in the balance between order and chaos?