As a mixed media artist I use a lot of recyclables and found objects in both my art and my work as a teacher of art, so I have collected a lot of material and have a huge stash, but as we all know as much delight as it is to collect the material and look at our stash, if we are not actually using it, well it has to go.
So I began my long and difficult journey of the de-stashing process. I started going through it and loading it up, actually letting it go. I was happy to find homes for the things that I knew another mixed media artists would love as much as I do and put the fabric, paper, books, and ephemera to a creative use in their own art. I gave a bin of silk to an artist who plans to make beautiful scarves. An artist who uses photos and collage papers gladly received the old books. I gave large pieces of fabric to a woman who teaches sewing, which I know will be reincarnated into beautiful dresses and projects her students create in their sewing classes. I sorted and cut my fabric and collage papers and now it is ready to give to a Quilt Guild that makes quilts for nursing homes and children in hospitals. A teacher who uses “green” materials in her classes is taking the collage material. I am planning to create collage packages to sell on Etsy and use it in my up-coming online mixed media classes.
I finally realized that I no longer use the files and folders of art projects from the past. I am more digital so I am letting go even though there are such sweet memories of the beginning of the Joy of Art Studio when I did not have a computer, but took notes and created folders from my classes and projects. I let go of a chair in my studio that I lovingly called my comfy chair, (so many meditation moments and books read there) in order to actually start using a beautiful chair that my husband brought me from China. It was not easy to say goodbye to my comfy chair.
Well, the journey was long and arduous but I now have a beautiful and workable back room which was only storage and a wasted part of my studio. Now it is a wonderful project room and a place where I can create so it was well worth the work, the struggling through my resistance, the fights with my husband because of my need to control, the trauma of saying goodbye to my comfy chair. I am very happy and would advise anyone who is a mixed media artist to take this journey… de-stash. Not only do I have a room that was only used for storage, but the area where I teach and downstairs where I store my material is organized and now I will use the remaining material and not just squirrel it away (my nickname is Art Squirrel).
Anyway, I actually feel better and value much more the things that I have and I love my new project space… So…this is my journey of de-stashing… truthfully mixed media de-hoarding.