Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cleaning Furlough Day

Today was a furlough day for faculty. I took my daughter to day care, after letting her sleep in, and then I cleaned my studio. Sadly, I thought I could both clean my studio and clear off my desk, but I will have to be content with one clean space per free-day.

As you can see, the space was pretty terrifying. The annual catastrophe that is the start of the school year and then end of the summer occurred once again, taking me by surprise and leaving an array of half-finished projects, half-recycled clay, boxes of returned work or packing materials from work that has gone out to holiday shows, glazing tools, and epoxy around the studio.

I had dirty towels in a box because they'd never made it to the laundry room (approximately 4 feet away) and a pile of sculpture parts on the floor because I only finished the work moments before I had to be somewhere else. There were things in the room that came from other parts of the house or yard but stopped in the studio and somehow never moved on to a more appropriate location.

One relatively untouched corner of the room includes the same stash of partially glazed work that was sitting there in September and probably in August, too. Now that I can actually enter the studio, maybe I will be able to glaze the work soon. What? Don't laugh, maybe I will. Finals are three weeks away!

One advantage of my prolonged absence from the studio is that my bowls of dirty underglaze rinsing water has dried to chunks of underglaze that I can put back in a jar and reconstitute to a (dirty brown) underglaze.

I also chose to remove the massive pink blow up chair from the room. During the summer I sometimes sat in it but mostly it just takes up tons of room. I have moved it to a place where it will take up tons of room and get in the way of the person who caused it to be in the house in the first place. I can now open my tool drawers, a fact which was helpful in putting away the various types of epoxy that seem to have multiplied around the studio.

I did get sidetracked at one point, by a set of drawers and a box of papers. As everyone who keeps too much stuff is probably aware, paper materials can be a major time suck in trying to clean and organize. I go down memory lane and get emotionally invested in finding a proper home for each paper and, generally, keeping too many of them. But, I figured, since the papers hadn't been touched since we moved into the house in 2007, I was allowed to tackle them. They did suck time, but I was also able to get rid of some that needed to go, including a whole box of old business cards with a Wisconsin phone number and a few stacks of postcards from old shows. I will offer the business cards to my daughter, who likes to cut up small papers, and I will keep the postcards as give-aways for the Tour of Artist Homes and Studios this Spring.

That's actually a small piece of my motivation to clean extensively today. Obviously it needed to be done, but I also know that I will have people in my studio before summer and before I can really work in the space. I expect I might be able to glaze or clean the house again before April, but I don't expect that I will have very much time at all before then. Carpe Furlough Diem!

And I did make pretty significant progress. I can close the cabinets, I can see the floor, I have at least 3 surfaces on which I can put things and I have a visible, navigable path to my storage shelves. I even eliminated all of the dusty slip and underglaze bowls and dirty chai cups I could find in the studio (only one old chai cup, but it was a little scary).

I did actually sneak in one other errand this morning. I bought my daughter's birthday present. She's been asking for an easel (she saw one in the window of The Bindery a month or two ago) for quite some time now. I think she will be excited. It has a chalkboard, a whiteboard and a roll of paper that she can pull down to paint on. I also got her some chalks and whiteboard markers to augment her paint and crayon stock. The only problem will be waiting patiently to see her open it up. Her birthday isn't until December. I've hidden it under a towel in the studio, so don't tell her about it.

In the meantime she and I will have to be content painting and decorating her cupcake piñata. 

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