Monday, November 18, 2013

Avalanche! Creativity Roadblocks 8

Can we ever have too much fabric? Too many spools of thread, too many books, too many rulers? If we do have too much, are we ever willing to get rid of our supplies? I know it's possible... but I collected all that stuff because I wanted all that stuff. That stuff caries with it the promise of possibility.
I have been sewing all my life, and collecting fabric almost as long. I seldom turn down free fabric. It's hard to walk past a deal on batiks. Therefore, I am drowning in fabric at the moment. 

Can having too much stuff interrupt creativity? You'll have to ask yourself if you have organized it into a usable form. Ask yourself if you like things tidy and put behind closed doors, or if you are stimulated by seeing the raw materials scattered around you. You'll have to decide for yourself how you best work.

I know, you are reading this to get an answer, but like so much of life, the answers really do lie within. Know yourself and know what you need.  As for me, I need both hidden supplies, and scattered supplies. I like having a lot of fabric, but the care and feeding of it is time consuming and a challenge to finding just the right one for a project. It's why I like going to retreats, I only have a usable portion in front of me, and have to make do. It's what my grandmother did, she cut up old clothes and made do. She didn't have to worry about making too many choices as she used scraps. That's sewing, but when we consider the idea of creativity, it's different. We can all sew. What we want to do is come up with the Next Great Quilt.

When I make color choices, I pull out the that drawer of fabrics to choose. I don't go shopping anywhere but in the stash. I feel there must be a critical mass for supplies. Like goldilocks, it has to be just right. There has to be enough to choose from but not so much that you have no idea what you own. Only you know if there is too much and it's getting in your way, or if you need an outbuilding behind the house for storage!

This is a happy problem, isn't it?
other roadblock posts CLICK HERE


  1. Hi LeeAnna!
    A few quotes I found about creativityt!
    "Creative clutter is better than idle neatness"
    "Creatvity is messy, and I am very creative!"
    and this one...
    ..."Creativity is contagious, Pass it on!" - Albert Einstein!
    I wonder what it's like being noncreative? LOL!
    That's a whole nother chapter!
    You write a good Blog!
    Take care,

  2. interesting that is why people go to retreats.... I had wondered about that. I couldn't imagine dragging all my stuff some place just to do what I do here but what you said makes sense. I had imagined myself at a retreat and just sitting around talking and preventing/bothering everybody else from getting anything sewn !

    1. I guess everyone likes a retreat for different reasons, and the chat is a big plus. I love the "preventing/bothering" comment!! so funny

  3. I'm trying to destash what I know I won't use and I really think that the way a studio looks has n impact on what you create. For example, there are all these studios on Pinterest that use ikea furniture and wrap fabric around boards. I was tempted to do this. Then I realised, I don't want to be an ikea clone. My studio needs to reflect me but not be too overpowering so that my mood has space to play into my creativity :) great post! Thanks for linking up :)

  4. Great Blog! I love your drawing of the girl drowning in fabric! Happy fabric collecting:-)

  5. I love my stash and also like it tidy but.....not behind closed doors. I need to visually see it as it makes me happy. Shopping from ones stash is fun! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  6. I moved into a dedicated quilting room about 6 months ago and am stunned by how much creative I feel with less stuff in my room. So as much as I admire studios with bookcases full of stuff online for me it has to be behind closed doors. I definitely fall into the too much clutter is distracting camp. When my room gets too messy I avoid it.

    Re stash I love mine and shop it all the time! I like it organized so I know what I have. If only the rest of my house was as organized as my creative space is!

  7. At this point, I must thank you for an enjoyable afternoon spent going back through your blog posts and apologize for comment-bombing you! That said....

    Can you have too much stash? For creativity purposes no. However, as one who has never seen a fabric that I couldn't think of a use for and not being gazillionaire, I have to say that I am required to maintain the sanity of my wallet by not, for the most part, keeping a general stash.

    When I started quilting most of the "quilt stars" were women who had started quilting in the 70's and 80's when there really weren't a lot of quilting cottons or color and scale variety available. So stashing (buy it when you see it) was a necessity for them and what they taught. But I believe that we are now in a very fortunate era of fabric supply where it is almost impossible NOT to be able to find four or five different "perfect" fabrics for every aspect of any project. Combine that with the fact that fabric companies turn over their lines so fast now (most are not out for more than a year) that there is always something new, wonderful and useful just around the corner. That may change in time but for now that situation guides my habits.

    I buy when I am ready to commit to a project and then cast as wide a net as is creatively, physically and financially possible at that moment (usually initiated because of a sale). If I can put together at least 75% of what I need for it, I'm set. I figure I can always find the remaining 25% once I'm actually in production mode. I like it even better when that is a few years after the original purchases and I get to add some new found bit that jazzes up the selection in ways that could not have been imagined at the time of the original purchase.

    The running joke in quilt circles is "she who dies with the most fabric, wins" but I'd seriously like to try leaving the opposite way --- with everything, down to the last scrap, all used up!