Submitted by Cathryn Miller: Professional Craftsperson: Paper

I have been a professional craftsperson for almost forty years, first as a weaver, most recently as a book artist. Over those decades people have frequently said to me “You are so efficient!”  and “You must be so organised!”

I have a dirty little secret: when pushed to meet deadlines, I stop cleaning up.

There was a massive amount of work involved in producing the pieces for Word View. Although it was spread over a period of about three years, the last four months were intensive — working seven days a week, often ten or twelve hours a day. During that time I also met a number of other deadlines.

But I did not clean up! Things got left on the floor or piled on one of my worktables.

This resulted in spaces that looked like this

and this.

I am spending this week clearing and sorting and filing and throwing out.

I calculate that it will take about one full workweek to eliminate the incredible mess, but I also estimate that I would have spent at least three times that many hours if I had kept things ‘tidy’ as I went along, hours that I really didn’t have.

It takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude to work in spaces that look like the aftermath of a tornado. It also takes a good memory: I last saw the scissors … ?!

I don’t actually recommend this as a regular approach to the maintenance of a studio space, particularly if you work with potentially hazardous materials, but it has worked for me.

Can anyone tell me where I left the shovel?

Cathryn’s exhibition “Word View” can be seen in the Affinity Gallery from September 27-November 9, 2013. Reception Friday November 8, 7-9pm.

The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Saskatchewan Craft Council.