In high school I was lucky enough to have a small studio in my parents’ shed. I had everything I needed – space to work, space to store supplies, a radio, a radiator (for those cold Massachusetts winter nights), a small rug… and turquoise walls with orange accents, a chalkboard painted cabinet* and tons and tons of “inspiration” (ie. clutter) tacked to the walls. EEK!

I am again lucky enough to have this work space (and I really mean that), although this time I share the space with a chest freezer. That said, it (clearly) needed a little bit of updating and decluttering. It was a fun afternoon project. I covered the bare plywood work bench with a sheet of Masonite for decreased risk of splinters and ease of sliding paper collage pieces. Above that -and below my blue, orange and chalkboard storage cabinet- I tacked a piece of canvas over the turquoise wall. I took down most of the things that were hanging from the wall and ceiling, rearranging what was left into actual compositions. I pulled out extra nails that were sticking out of the walls. And I went through everything in the whole area. It’s really strange to be so engulfed by this space and these relics of a past self that no longer exists. I split these things into several piles (see below). Needless to say, there were some gems.


TRASH – including an old, unfinished painting, damaged in transit, that I thought I’d already trashed… and the Johnny Depp part of a Pirates of the Caribbean poster… (Kiera Knightly and Orlando Bloom were MIA, although I know I had them too at one point.)

RECLAIM – several canvas boards with really bad sketches of things representing teenage angst that never became paintings -thankfully- c. age 15. (To be gessoed over and then added to the “donate” pile.)

DONATE – Things that are still perfectly good, but not things I will/ can use, ie. giant pads of newsprint and lots of clay – sigh, no kiln. (To go to someone/ someplace that needs them.)

KEEP BECAUSE I WANT TO – bead loom, personal sketchbook from my last year of high school/ first year of college, clay tools, etc.

KEEP BECAUSE I SHOULD – a sketchbook from age 12 and another from age 15 or 16. Both of these are just as embarrassing as the middle school journals that I also keep but also cannot look through. I’m just glad there are fewer of these sketchbooks and that most of them aren’t very full.

BELONGS ELSEWHERE – my parents’ kitchen scissors, c. 2003, a cd I have never seen before…

GIFT/ REGIFT – beach glass, an ocarina that is actually a geode that I found on the beach (pictured below), a four pack of stinky votive candles, gimp (Seriously, 15-year-old self?)

and GAG GIFT – This pile was BIG. And I’d list some of these *prize* items, but if I did that, you’d know what you were getting the next time I have the opportunity. (Gimp might actually have ended up in this pile.)


*the things that I wrote on that chalkboard were not fully erasable, so I have lists from that era to remind me of what I needed to do and song lyrics of songs I haven’t listened to in years.