A while back, my husband and I had the following conversation:
Him: “Argh, I can’t take it anymore!”
Me (sitting on top of a mountain of yarn): “What?”
Him: “We only have so much room in this house, you know!”
Me (slipping into a swamp of scrap paper, newspaper, and magazine clippings): “What are you getting at?”
Him: “You’re going to have to do something about all this stuff you’re making.”
Me (drowning in a sea of unfinished projects): “Oh.”
After he fished me out, we appraised our situation like the mature adults we are. It was determined, with my full agreement, that I was making too much stuff, and I needed to figure out what to do with this stuff when it’s complete. Something better than “I’ll just set that right here for now” and then leaving it to get buried by piles of mail and library books.
I’ve tossed around several ideas: selling them has come to mind, of course, but that involves the added work of photographing them nicely, putting prices on my precious projects, and then setting up an etsy shop, branding it, marketing it, and filling orders as they come in. You’d think it was a business or something, the amount of work you have to do.
I’ve thought about giving them away, and not only for special events either. Nothing wrong with randomly showing someone how much you care by giving them a tea cozy made from fused plastic bags, or an empty wine bottle decoupaged with last year’s tissue paper. And I’m sure any of my friends would be more than happy to receive my latest anti-consumerism newspaper collage piece to hang on their walls.
Of course, simply “making less stuff” hasn’t crossed my mind in any serious way, and it shouldn’t. We don’t make stuff so we can limit ourselves. We make stuff so that we can express our creativity and our curiosity. We make stuff so that we can push our own limits and develop our own skills. The concept of “enough” is foreign to us; we do not speak in terms of “nothing more to learn.” We do not understand “bored.”
Truth be told, I still haven’t found a solution to my growing mass of finished objects. I can’t put them in a box any more than I can put my inspiration in a box. Seeing what I’ve done and where I’ve come from compels me and pushes me to do better next time, to graduate to more advanced work. Perhaps it’s okay, however, to back off on the quantity a little bit. Maybe this is a sign that it’s time to focus on longer-term, more detailed and in-depth projects. Maybe the days of one-hour “quickie” crafts are on their way out of my life. This could mean an exciting change for me.
In the meantime, if anybody has any ideas about how to keep my finished projects organized and accessible, I’ll gladly take them in the comments. Pretty please?