Decluttering the printing surface

mess, lots of it
messy studio with pens and inks all over the table
A bit messy, hmmm…

I thought I’d share a few pics of my workroom.  This is what my printing table normally looks like.   As though an art supply shop had vomited all over it.  With some haberdashery chucked in for good measure.

mess, lots of it
Too much, too much!

Every so often I have to have a good clear out or it gets too much to create anything there, it seems to mess up my head as well.

studio with clear printing table
Nice and clear on top, just don’t look underneath!!

One afternoon I decided to clear everything off and put the dropcloth in the washing machine.  This is what the print table looks like underneath all that clutter.  Wow, wish it looked like this all the time!

A diagonal view

I have a large piece of MDF laid on top of the table, and a piece of carpet underlay over that, which creates the soft surface for printing.

table with dropcloth for ink stains
The dropcloth is a heavy twill fabric

Here is the table with a clean dropcloth on top, bearing the dyeing marks from a previous printing session or ten!

Wish I could say it still looks like that now, but unfortunately it is more like the top photo again… that clean table top lasted less than a day.  But it definitely unleashed some creativity…

12 things x 12… a bit late!

I got so inspired seeing all the Facebook pictures of 12 things to celebrate the 12th of the 12th 2012 yesterday that I decided to do my own … pity I was a day late but never mind!  I had so much fun finding groups of 12s in my studio and rediscovering a lot of nice arty things I’d almost forgotten I had, that I went mad and did more than 12 so you’ll be seeing some of them here in the future… 

12 black pens

1.  12 black pens for making gocco/thermofax masters for screens with.

12 inks

2.  12 inks.

12 beads

3.  12 round beads.

12 handmade beads

4.  12 hand made beads.

12 buttons

5.  12 brown buttons.

12 reels of vintage thread

6.  12 reels of vintage Sylko thread.

12 thread labels

7.  12 thread labels.

12 glass pins

8.  12 glass headed pins.

12 stamps made from fun foam

9.  12 stamps made from fun foam stuck on card.

12 carved stamps from erasers 

10.  12 stamps carved from erasers or that pink rubbery stuff.

12 print gocco ink tubes

11.  12 Print Gocco ink tubes.

12 wooden printing blocks.

12.  12 wooden printing blocks.

A tour of my studio

I rearranged my studio a few months ago and thought I would take a few photos and post them … it is perennially untidy and disorganised and I still can’t remember the new places I stored everything but hopefully it will stay this way for a year or two at least.  I do seem to enjoy moving my stuff around as much as I do using it!

This is my printing table, with a large (8’ by 4’ I think) piece of MDF on top to make it big enough to screen pieces of fabric without having to keep moving them along.  It is comparatively uncluttered in this photo, believe it or not – you should see it at the moment!  The MDF is actually resting on two tables at right angles to each other and my sewing machine is on the other half of the second.  There are quite a few things stored underneath the tables too!

studio photo

I keep lots of stuff on these shelves and in the ‘column’ which my husband acquired from his office when they changed their filing system.  It holds lots of sewing and knitting equipment – knitting needles, patterns, thread, needles, zips, ribbon… those shallow drawers are quite useful for small items.  I have printing and stamping stuff on the open shelves and an assortment of stuff in the filing cabinet – electrical things like heat gun and soldering iron in one drawer, skeins of yarn in another.

studio photo

These wooden shelves run the length of the room – my books are at one end, brushes and mark making equipment at the other and fabric in the middle…

studio photo

studio photo

Here is some of the fabric (a small part) all rolled up so I can see it end on.

studio photo

My design wall is in front of these shelves and it is on wheels so I can move it to get to them.

studio photo - design wall

All my paper and gocco accessories are in these stacking baskets in the corner of the room.  And by the window, more stacking baskets with paint and stuff like that – of course, they always overflow on to the floor as well!

studio photo

studio photo

Wall tidy

I thought I’d put a picture of the only thing I’ve sewn in the last few weeks (apart from turning up the hems on umpteen pairs of trousers and mending DS2’s coat).

It is another sample for the ladies of the sewing studio in Zambia for Health Help International.  Ron is there now and took it with him.  It is one of those wall tidies which you can hang on the wall and use to store small items in pockets. 

wall tidy made from Dutch wax prints with elephant motif

I have been busy this week, tidying and organising my studio yet again (well, I prefer to think of it as continuing the tidying rather than reorganising everything Yet Again….).   Instead of organising my cotton fabrics by colour, I decided to do it by value.  Reading Lisa Call’s blog inspired me.    I ironed them all and folded them into approximately the same size.  Sorting them was relatively easy after that.    Looking at them, I have come to the conclusion that I have far too many in medium values and not enough at either end.  

After that I was energised (inspired, no doubt, by all the fabrics I had forgotten I had!) into sorting all the other sorts of fabrics, which previously I had organised by colour, into each type of fabric… the rusted fabrics have a container to themselves.  I enjoyed stroking the silks and rediscovering the shiny fabrics, the velvets, the scrims, the sheers….  now I just need to use them in something and not just return them to the shelves….

Photos to follow….