Sunday, 11 June 2017

Hanging-up on the floor


Britta has just done a post which includes some of the latest de-cluttering fad self-help books. One of them is called something like, 'Get Rid of the Fucking Lot'. Another has a cover picture of a room with bare walls, a plain bed and a lap-top. I wonder if the writer has considered the possibility that the lap-top must be the most cluttered thing that anyone can possess. They hold the clutter of the world, no matter how many labelled albums everything has been filed away in.

This is how it goes in my workshop. If I am working away from it, I always try to make sure I don't arrive on site minus an essential tool or material which I would have to travel an extra twenty miles plus to go back and get, so I usually take three times more things than I will need.

When the job is done and I return with a car-load of stuff, I open the door to the workshop and pretty much throw everything inside, then lock up and go to the pub.

If - as I have been for around a month now - I am working on stuff inside the shop (I cannot bring myself to call it a 'studio'), then I spend all day tripping over airlines and cables in my hunt for tools which are buried under a deep seam of other tools which are unsuitable for the job presently to hand, but would have been for the previous job, when I could not find them because they were buried under the tools which I need right now.

When you work with Plaster of Paris (which I have been for about a month...) the problem is tripled, because you have to work very quickly indeed in the last minute before the plaster sets hard, and cannot afford even seconds to look for a tool.

When the plaster has set, you have the excess sitting in the bottom of the rubber bowl (you always mix too much) waiting to be broken out and thrown on the floor on top of all the other ones, then you cover the lumps with finer material which you have scraped and filed away from the sculpture you are working on. Quite often a vital tool will become hidden underneath this detritus, as you throw it away to pick up another before the plaster sets too hard to model. If you use expanded polystyrene as a core, then you have another deep but drifting layer of granules covering the plaster.

When you consider that I am the sort of person who always puts the lids and caps back onto the tins, tubes and bottles of stuff before I begin working with what I have squeezed or poured out of them, then you can imagine the sort of added chaos which would ensue if I were not.

My patron's estate manager once visited me at the workshop, and I apologised for the appalling and embarrassing mess as I let him in.

"Oh well," he said as his eyes adjusted to the gloom, "Some very nice things come out of this mess, which is all that really matters."

My point exactly.




14 comments:

  1. I occasionally visited a motor bike repair man's workshop near Farnham, where most of his smaller bits and pieces were pressed into the earth floor. He knew EXACTLY where each piece was, and would go to them faultlessly.

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    1. I used to visit a motorcycle repair man's workshop in Guildford (BMM) and the first time he let me in through the back it was pitch dark. He apologised and turned the light on for me. It was then that I understood that he was totally blind. That man was a legend, and he used to feel his way through the repairs.

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  2. The cartoon is of my desk and the description of your "shop" matches the state of my husband's workshop. Incredibly we get much done, but could probably do more if we were more organised. Mind you if plaster was thrown into the mix(!) all would probably be lost.

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    1. Throw plaster into the mix and come to a complete standstill?

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  3. I thought you were describing my sister's studio. She has refined the technique a tiny bit--it looks organized. But when her fruitless search does not reveal the tool she needs, she buys another one to work on the job.

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    1. That's exactly what I do. I have about 5 of everything. You know those people who say, "I know it's a mess but I know where everything is, so don't move it"? Well I'm not one of those people.

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  4. I always think messy people are the most interesting and tidy, organised people are apt to start tut-tutting about mess which makes them very boring. I stand and wait until they have finished without speaking and then start talking about something else.

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  5. Wish I could think like this Tom. Unfortunately I am fanatically tidy and with the house in uproar as it is at present I am not a happy bunny.

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    1. Just wear your scissors on a ribbon around your neck.

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    2. Never mind Weave, all will be neat and tidy again soon! Moving is never a smooth transition.

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  6. Do you ever get it cleaned up and organized? Just wonder.

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    1. Every 20 years whether or not it needs it.

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