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Monday, June 23, 2014

Teabowls from the last three years

I used to make teabowl pieces more often, but for the last couple of years the only ones I have produced have been for the Chawan Expo exhibit, now in it's 16th installment. It's been interesting to see the shape my work has taken in a few years, when demonstrated by looking only at a few pieces from a given year.




Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Dividing Work and Home Life by Getting Organized and Designating Space

It's been about two years since I've been making work at home, and I've reached the point where changes need to be made. I desperately need to figure out a way to create a distinct working space for myself so I can both have a better work/life balance, and better organize things and my time for my business. I love working at home, and don't want to change that, but it has it's challenges. I can see my studio door from my bed. Work is always there. It's always on my mind, and while I don't mind my work being so closely intertwined in so many parts of my life, everyone needs some division between work life and home life, so that is something I am working on. I need to not see to-do piles on the tables, and other reminders of work when I'm trying to relax in the time I'm not working. I've found myself dreaming of the days when we buy a home and my studio will have space for an office and a packing area, in addition to the much-anticipated gallery/showroom space for visitors.

The trouble is that because there is currently no space for these things, they are everywhere. Now, for full disclosure, I am a naturally messy person. I've always had organized jumbles in various areas. Stacks of various to-do piles, things placed somewhere with intentions for another time. Things look chaotic, but I rarely loose track of something, so while it would be a simpler, less cluttered world if I wasn't that way, I am, so it's good to be realistic about it.

What that equates to is various work things on the end, coffee, entry way, and dinner tables, whichever I have been sitting at with the laptop/paperwork/books/etc. At some point, the house needs to look like a normal place and not a crazy person's before said crazy person can address all the various items, so things get rounded up into a larger pile, and placed somewhere else. Then I again sort through, make piles, and deal with things. It's a lot of wasted time because I don't have a good spot for things so there is a lot of shuffling. If I had a dedicated work space instead of having a nomad office, my piles would be in files, drawers, baskets, and other things that declutter.

My packing supplies are stuffed in my studio closet and get dragged out each time I ship something. My basket of small supplies like pens, tape, and biz cards gets moved to the kitchen table with boxes and padding and I box things up there since it has the most table surface for large projects like shipping pottery. Afterwards things get hauled back to the closet and reorganized in it's space. It works, but again, so much time is wasted shuffling things around and repacking them into where they go. Often times I know something else is going to be shipping out the next day, so I leave the supplies around the table area, saving some time, but also leaving a pile of work.

packing pots on the kitchen table
I do have file cabinets and a desk, but they don't get used. Why? Because it's not convenient. They are in bedroom in the house that gets used so little, the door stays shut. It's got a desk in it, but no one has sat at it since we've lived here besides unpacking moving boxes. It has shelving on top, which is nice for storage, but it leaves very little room on the actual desktop. The closet is full of random storage stuff, there are two small shelving units that hold various craft supplies, and open floor space for an air mattress for when the occasional guest is staying here. So the room is kind of all over the place as a space, and doesn't get much actual use. It's not comfortable to use, and there isn't room to work as is. It's unfit for what it needs to be, and that is going to change shortly.

The plan is to reorganize this room into a more suitable work space, but it needs to be realistic. If I won't actually use it, then it's all a waste, so it needs to be the right fit for my needs, while still maintaining the ability to easily be ready for guests that will stay in the space. I'm still figuring things out but I've got a few ideas.

The desk in the room currently won't work because of it's limited surface area. I'm going to look into removing the top or finding another desk with more space to use that will accommodate paperwork and such getting shuffled around, along with room for a paper organizer on top, for those various stacks and to-do's.

I need a comfy arm chair. If the chair isn't at least as comfortable as the couch, will I really go sit in it in the office instead of the couch like I have been? Remember, I'm trying to be realistic here so this actually works. It needs to be something besides the desk chair, roomy enough to sit cross legged on to have a lap for my task, and comfortable enough to sit in for hours. This needs to be a space I want to be in for hours, so comfort is just as big a part as function is. A small end table next to for papers and such would be nice, but a small folding table could be just as well.

The packing area will be a 5' folding table I have, which should give me enough space to leave my supplies out on top in some baskets, and stack some boxes underneath. The table should be able to double up as a photo area with it's large, open surface, and it will also be able to fold up and clear out easily when guests need the space.

I think these plans, along with some simple decorating could be the key to saving time, being organized, shuffling less, and hopefully, improving my work/life balance by designating an area for the business side of my work. I'm even considering leaving my phone in the office at the end of the work day to help make that division. I look forward to these changes, but I'm interested in what other people who work in a creative space at home do about the business side. What do you do to help organize your business in your home? How did you make the division of work and life more distinct for yourself?