You may be a Creative if..

..you like a good mess.

I've often read of the connection between messiness and artists. There is apparently a direct correlation between dis-organization and creative thought. More than one study has shown that creative types prefer chaos to order. Messy desks/work spaces promote thinking outside of the box. 
In one such study, research conducted by Kathleen Vohs, PhD, of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, found that cluttered environments help induce greater levels of creativity. 
According to Vohs: “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”

As a creative person myself, rather than bask in the knowledge that I keep great company [Steve Jobs loved a good mess. Albert Einstein, Mark Twain and Zuckerburg..all known to live in untidiness.] rather, I find these articles to be somewhat shaming. Humph! I say as I toss another bottle of ink in the general direction of the growing stack of bottled alcohol inks, tripping over my [what I thought was lost] flipflop as I do so. [tiny self deprecating joke]

I didn't grow up in a family that thought messiness was a virtue. A stamp of creative genius. I remember as a teenager, my mother pleading with me to clean my room only to come home from school more often than once to find my room as neat as a row of pins. The mirror gleaming, the bed neatly made and clothes folded and stacked in my dresser, blouses and skirts hung in the closet. 
Of course, I protested, just to protest [what snots teens can be] and for a short while, I enjoyed the order. But that night as I climbed into my carefully tucked bed I would feel like a stranger in my own room and within a few short days the floors and dresser would once again be lost to the flotsam and jetsam of teenage girls. 
You might say all teens have messy rooms. The trouble is, this love for everything where I can see it rather than put away into neat rows or stacked into cupboards has followed me well beyond the teenage years. Well beyond. For years I've been running behind myself trying to keep up a facade that is just not comfortable.

This is not my studio. It's a wish and a want. I *think I could stay neat and organized with these in my work space. Aren't they gorgeous?!

The Original Scrapbox
One of the reasons my studio can start to get out of hand is that I like to have everything out where I can see it. Colors, textures, images all serve to inspire and spark ideas. A chaotic jumble to the novice eye, but not to an artist. So, while I need to see things before me, for sanity sake, I also need to constantly work at keeping it all sort of tethered and ‘hierarchical’.

Rotating caddies, or what some call a 'lazy susan' are a wonder. They provide a spot for a menagerie of supplies while still allowing you to see exactly what's at hand. A wall of some well thought out shallow shelving will allow for this sort of management as well. Nothing so deep that things get pushed behind and forgotten. I have more than one pair of tin snips and spools of wire in gauge 20 to attest to this.

One really wonderful way to view, while at the same time providing storage, is to create displays that showcase your work in a unique manner. I make glass beads and jewelry using skinny rods of imported soda lime glass. For my work space in Canada I was lucky enough to come across an antique wooden crate previously used for shipping wine bottles. My colorful rods of glass, the exact length of a wine bottle, filled the spaces perfectly and made a very pretty display in the corner of my little studio. 

Torching work station used for making handmade glass beads

Above is a photo of my torching station here in my studio in Qatar. The ceramic tile sitting on top of the tin holds separate little heaps of crushed glass used to roll molten glass in. There are 3 different groupings or selections of glass rods laid out on my desk top, starting at the bottom right. I have differentiated them by arranging each group at slightly different angles from each other. That might be missed by those who see only kaleidoscope of glass rods. There is order to my chaos.

Sometimes the beast just cannot be entirely tamed. I have one rebellious part of my room [the making jewelry desk] that tends to fly apart no matter how hard I try to keep it in check. Keeping it all corralled and confined to one area and not the entire room is an ongoing discipline but there's a fine line between comfort zone mayhem and hair pulling chaos. That crossed line does not breed anything close to creative thought.  

Now here I am, all the way into my senior years and at last beginning to understand that messiness doesn't need to be shame worthy. 
It may not be a character flaw, but rather, a  human  characteristic to be held to the light and built upon.

Privately, I’ve always taken comfort in a quote that I came across some years ago:

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”  ~Albert Einstein 

 Enjoy your week everyone! 


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