Fibre Art Versus the Tidy Home!

How I THINK Fibre Artists homes should look!

I love hanging out with Fibre People! But as a reasonably new Fibre Artist, not many of my Fibre Folk are the kind of old friends that I am used to inviting into my home. Home friends, in my world, are the kind of folks you welcome with “Mind the Cat Puke, I have Wine!” Hence, my rediscovery of the pernicious art of Anxiety Cleaning!

So earlier this week, I was thrown into an absolute tizzy, by those ill fated words “I’ll pop around and pick them up, shall I?”

Now Fibre Art sounds like a single hobby. But it’s not! In my case it is a combination of several hobbies, some of which feed, and share SOME supplies and resources with each other, but not all. They are; Fleece and Fibre Prep, Dyeing, Spinning, and Felting, Knitting, Crochet, Embroidery, and Sewing, depending on whether what you are making is a material in it’s own right, or an end product, with weaving sitting somewhere in between.

And each of these hobbies comes with it’s own, entirely ancilliary hobby of buying materials to feed it! And, in case you didn’t realise, fibre is BULKY, and fibre tools aren’t much better. But, you see, materials and tools are Inspiration, and Inspiration is Life!

Now when you add to this the fact that I get bored with working on one craft, or even one project per craft at once, I am rarely working on one thing, or even half a dozen things at any one time, you have a recipe for a perfect storm of mess!

I will confess, I’m hopelessly addicted to those magazine features about the lives of people who run creative businesses, where elegantly eclectically dressed women waft through bijou country cottages full of thier own works and impeccably curated vintage finds and ethnic textiles, and no-one ever finds an empty wine bottle, a single abandoned male sock, or a lump of VM or Worse on the living room carpet! And I imagine myself as one of those women, right up to the point where I start working and making something.

Perfect! Or is it?

I have a Pinterest Board somewhere with “Perfect Craft Room Ideas“. And these perfect craft rooms all have one thing in common. They look like nobody has ever made anything in them EVER! If I ever manage to win the lottery and build the perfect craft room, I will never make anything ever again, because I would be so terrified to mar it’s pristine beauty with the kind of flinging stuff about and moving things from one place to another, less inconvenient for the moment, place, that my typical creative process seems to require. And that assumes that a dedicated craft room is even a thing!

My typical creative process, complete with Neighbour’s cat!

While we have a good sized house for two people, if we are to have guests, ever, my designated craft room also needs to be the spare bedroom. It’s also the room with the linen cupboard, AND the room with the rail of LARP Costume on it. When the spare bed is up, there is about two square metres of unoccupied floor.

Simple, I thought. We aren’t using the Conservatory. I’ll put all my fibre, my tools and my desk in there. It turns out, there’s a good reason we weren’t using the Consevatory, which faces South East, and is mostly made of glass! To enter it on a sunny day, between the hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, any time between April and September requires a deep breath, and the kind of protective clothing they issue to fire fighters. I had one of those digital thermometers on my studio table. It stopped registering the air temperature one day in April about 11:00 am at 48 degrees C, at which point, it was still comparatively cool in there. So if you hear me airily mention my “Studio” remember that what I am talking about is a room typically hotter than Satan’s armpit during the hours of daylight, for six months of the year, and colder than Siberia the rest of the time. So what was a pristine and inviting space is now somewhere where stuff gets hastily shoved for storage, or to dry!

I decided that April, that none of my expensive wooden tools were long for this world if they stayed out there, so into the living room they came, and they’ve been there ever since.

This IS Tidy. It’s even clean. Don’t go there with what is out of shot!

Now there IS an underlying structure to my mess. Most things not in use have a designated space, and I usually remember to put them back there when I’ve finished using them, but “finished using them” remains an elastic concept, and besides, I can only really put stuff away in the conservatory when it’s night time.

However, it turns out, that as a fellow Fibre Artist, you are much more welcome in other Fibre Artists home, if you precede your intention to descend with the stern instruction, “Don’t tidy up!” Through my British Guild, and through my adventures visiting Fibre Folk on my trips home to New Zealand, I learned that most Fibre Folk share similar issues, and I started to feel better about my place.

So my Guest? I did sufficient Anxiety Cleaning to find the pieces of paper work I needed to give her, at the same time discovering various useful items I hadn’t seen for a while, like my passport, my Engagement Ring, and my car Log Book, which was nice.

Then I sat her down at my new Majacraft Aura, and told her to have a go! She and her husband were so fascinated by it’s elegant simplicity, that they didn’t get a chance to notice the rest of the place, and the visit went swimmingly!

It was only when showing them out again that I realised what they had meant by “Well, we knew we had found the right place!” There, on the path, just in front of the door was a single, dyed Wensleydale Lock. Rumbled!

So, I’ve finally learned to invite people that I don’t know that well into my house with out a three day bout of Anxiety cleaning. Hell, if I really like you, I might even pick up the empty wine bottle!