Patti Edmon Altered Attic: S.W.A.P.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


In my lexicon, swap has come to mean "stick with a project," as in, meet the deadline. I always finish and mail the piece but my tardiness has become unacceptable. I tend to assign blame to my illness, after all, having to go to bed at 9:00 and sleeping until 9:00 with a nap or two does erase a few valuable hours from the day. But it's not all due to time, or lack thereof, or the needs of my children and ever-messy house. Disorganization has haunted me all my life and now is an enormous, unsavory beast that trails around behind me, taunting, from room to room, pointing, sneering at the piles, the clutter, the projects I should have done last week, last month, last year?
I suppose the key to organization is getting that way and sticking to the habits of tossing, having a place for everything and replacing them when finished. OK, so now I'm laughing so hard my side hurts. This confessional brings to mind the fabulous conversation I had with the intrepid, gifted artist Karin Bartimole, who has way more valid reasons than I to procrastinate. We hee-hawed about being chased by piles of papers (think Michelin Man) and tripping over the remains of the last art project. It makes me wonder, are artists as a rule, so caught up in creating and doing enough laundry so everyone will shut up so we can go back to the studio??
I've never been brave enough to read Somerset Magazine's Where Women Create, though I've seen enough to cringe at the airy, sunny spaces organized with drawers and bins and shelves... a bin for papers, one for lettering... enough to make me pull the quilt up over my head.
I asked my daughter once to help me, thinking she'd love the vast assortment of buttons, lace, paint, papers, packaging (to recycle as art of course), and her solution was to grab her dry-erase board and scribble, "Danger, do not enter unless you are Patti." Thanks.
I have decided to divide this holy terror of a task into small pieces and remedy the chaos, clear the clutter and turn this house into a comfortable albeit fung shui'd home. And, since maintaining my sense of integrity is highly important to me, I've decided to stop swapping - after I send a huge jug of cool, fun, amazing items to the next person on the list, and mail two packages overseas.

Along with my meeting deadline issues is a tendency to put off saying thank you and showing off the fabulous treasures that have come to be in my possession through a variety of means. For example, this fabulous piece has been waiting to be acknowledged so I can find just the right space to show it off. I entered a drawing on What Whitney Made Next and won this fabulous bowl. Take a look at her site and you'll be amazed, as was I, by her gorgeous art. In a recent post she claims to be the messiest person in the universe but I think I'd be a worthy challenge.

Oh, remember One World One Heart - the incredible global blogathon organized by Lisa, the Whimsical Bohemian? How she pulled it off I'll never know. I signed on and got totally blown away by the tremendous number of responses I got. I tried, really, to enter as many as I could but I think I only managed twenty or thirty. Once it was over I visited blogs and saw the unbelievable array of art won by those who spent a bit more time leaving comments than I did. But then, by a stroke of luck, magic really, I got a note from Dawn Simpson, an artist from Northern Scotland. One look at her site, Crafty Ramblings, and it's hard to believe all she manages to accomplish. She's busy moving now, and will live closer to where she works, and in the photo link she sent, it looks just the way I've always pictured it, lush and green and magical. My ancestry is Welsh so one day I hope to visit.
Getting back to Dawn, she told me I had the winning comment in her OWOH drawing and could I send her my address. I did and when I opened the package, I felt as though I'd hit the jackpot, won the lottery.... A canvas, tags, cards... an overwhelming number of amazing pieces that she'd made and that, again, I'm just now getting around to acknowledging. I didn't photograph all the cards and I've used a couple but she sent nearly a dozen and the complexity, detail and stunning originality absolutely blew me away. So far that I waited a couple of months to post them? Well, that's the issue then isn't it. Take a look at her work and you'll see why I only needed to win one drawing.

Thanks for 'listening' and I'm sure there is more than one head nodding in agreement about the difficulty of mess. I'd like to hear your stories, maybe I wouldn't feel so bad:)


Karin Bartimole said...

Well, you know at least one of your readers has the same problem, and has arrived at the same conclusion of needing to decline swap temptations! and I don't think I've ever shared the beauty and gracious gifts bestowed upon me by my fellow bloggers - should I feel guilty about that now, too?! dang, i better turn the page and start another list :)
I hope you know, everyone feels you and your art are worth the wait! Sometimes it comes down to "how important is it" - fur balls and clutter will always rank far below a creative surge that must be followed!! keep on keepin' on...
xox K

La Dolce Vita said...

great post Patti! LOL! and loved what dear Karin had to say! well don't we all feel as though things are cluttered up and pet fur... well that is another story!! but in the big scheme of things when we finally croak, I just don't think we will be saying... geee I wish I had dusted more!! I think it is a safe bet to assume that we will have said, I wish I had created, played and connected!! and as for swaps, I love em, but the deadlines just stress me out!! xoxox

Sherry said...

for every one thing I finish, ten new things go on my to-do list. I try to put things back at the end of each project and I'm fairly successful with that. But the new purchases/finds aren't so lucky.
Right now I'm trying to figure out a new way to store all my paper so I can see it/use it more easily but mainly so it's easier to put away when I get more or finish using it.
Good luck ~ Sherry

whitney-anne said...

The whole creating mess and clearing it up again just mirrors the cycle of life/Universe . . that's what I tell myself anyway . . . see it's just holistic really!!

jill Zaheer said...

I had to smile throughout your whole post- because there is a bit of me throughout! It's always so hard to keep my areas clean, find places to put everything- that i keep buying cabinets to put everything in-and then i look around, and somehow, have more papers and supplies than ever. How lucky you are to receive such wonderful papers and artfilled designed items- t and wow -that amazing bowl! Thanks for sharing all of these items and your thoughts. Hope you are feeling totally complete now- and feel filled with energy to move forward again!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I can't work in clutter, so I clean up each day and start fresh the next morning. But that is just me. It works for me, but would drive others crazy, just like working in a messy environment stifles my creativity. It is what it is and it's how each person reacts and adapts to his/her environment.

I was hosting a swap a month for the longest time. Now I've had only one swap this year. I've really cut back because I want some "me" time. I totally understand. In fact, if I hadn't been the swap host for some of my swaps, I would have not made the deadline. I guess I'm learning I have to make art under pressure, something I've never done before. Thanks for your insightful post.

Anonymous said...

okay lady, you want to see mess? i shall send you some photos of my studio. i laughed so hard about the only doing enough laundry to shut people up. i don't even do that anymore -- just a load of my own stuff when i run out. i don't do dishes anymore -- i'm painting! i don't dust -- i'm sewing! etc. i cook. and... yeah, i cook. it's amazing my boys love me so much 'cause most people would murder me. on saturday i asked my little man to get his toys out of the living room and he said "sure, but could you get all of those paints and crayons and glue and that basket of papers and four pairs of scissors out of here too so i feel like we accomplished something?" he's seven. i need to take lessons from him apparently. there is a light at the end of the tunnel though. i've been kicking my arse to get this place (studio) totally tidy and organized. last week it looked like a hoarders episode. not enough space, i tell ya! but now it looks like an earthquake at ikea. not as bad, but not quite there yet. i have lots of new bins and boxes and boy do i love them! sorry for the novel... but my tip is don't look at the room (or rooms) as a whole. break it down into tiny tasks, like "pick up all paper recycling and take it out". then "organize all paints" -- i break that down into sub-categories like golden/good paints, basic acrylics, cheapo craft acrylics, oils, watercolours... done. you can do it, sweets! :) we can motivate each other.

Summerland Cottage Studio said...

I found your comment on Sherry's blog and came over to visit.
Please don't feel so bad about your creative chaos,
when looking at WWC, I know for a fact that is not how most of the studios look on any given day. Those girls go in a panic and invite friends over to help them and they have plenty of advance notice. I wonder though just how many boxes of misc are removed from the room for the shoot...and how many days later it is scattered back in at arms reach or mislaid and repurchased because it is easier than going back to find it !
When I actually get around to cleaning it is one tiny area at a time, and even then I tend to come across something that stirs my creative juices and
a new project is completed instead of the dreaded task! I'm sorry, I'm no help here at all.
As long as I am creating there is going to be inspiring bits, bobs and tools of the trade spread about, that is a fact. Fortunately I have it all corralled in one room, well, most of the time.


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