Hi Friends! When I recorded this vlog the other day I had no idea that so many people felt the same way I have lately about our “stuff”. The word hoarding has negative connotations but when you are a crafter and artist you selectively build a stash of supplies so you will have options when it comes time to work…but if our stash overwhelms us to the point we are too stressed out to work or our supplies become too precious to use it is a problem. Our tools can become our trappings. Let’s chat about that in today’s video.
If you are feeling overwhelmed you are in good company, just check out the comments left on the YouTube page of this video. I actually rent a year-round booth to sell my work in so it doesn’t pile up in the studio, since I do a video a day and often extra practice pieces you can imagine the pile-up of projects. Sometime I look at a stack of supplies in multiples and think “If I didn’t teach classes I would not need all of this” but I like teaching and even if I don’t get to teach in person as much as I would like because of my schedule I am not ready to let it go.
I like having the options of a full stash, I never have to run to the store for a bottle of glue or spend $100 on craft supplies for my kid’s school project at the last-minute. On the other hand I have to be honest, I was just going through my oil paints because the drawer I had them in was too heavy and I had a lot of huge 200ml tubes of paint from when I used to teach oil painting…then I found my travel oil painting box with more huge tubes of paint. I also had oils that people had de-stashed to me. To make matters worse some varnish or linseed oil leaked in the drawer it was stored in so the labels looked yucky but since I knew the paint was perfectly fine I could not toss them. But then I was kinda happy because I was like, hey, I can just use these, make a huge painting and have fun with them since they are not prefect looking and precious. They will not go in the museum of pristine art supplies, so let’s have fun!
Luckily I have the shop to put my creations in, online sales won’t work for me, I can’t be surrounded by all of the finished art AND the supplies or it would suffocate me. It’s how I cope with so much stuff that I really do like and enjoy. This is where hoarding art supplies is different from hording other things I think. At creatives we see potential in everything and it is tempting to stock up on new supplies because we are not buying supplies we are investing in our creative future. But if we have so much stuff that the task of making art is daunting you probably have too much. You deserve to enjoy the things you bought. Creating should be a positive experience and if you find yourself with feelings of overwhelm, stress or guilt when you go to create it’s time to take action for your own sake.
I can’t tell you how much stuff is OK, we are all different. My sister only keeps supplies for current projects and only buys what she needs and gives away leftovers (usually yo me🙂 when she is done, I love having lots of supplies at my fingertips but even I can feel oppressed if I have too much (this usually happens when I have supplies arriving for a class and other freelance projects entering my studio all at once.) Supplies are meant to be used, you deserve to enjoy the supplies you have collected but if you don’t want them or feel guilty about having them because you don’t like them anymore let them go to a school, church or senior center so they can be enjoyed. We don’t know how long we have so we might as well use up that pretty gold paint and gorgeous scrapbook paper!
I want to give you all a big hug, if you have read this far you have probably experienced some of these distressing feelings of craft supply overwhelm. You are not alone in this. Ironically I have no trouble getting rid of other things like clothes and nick-knacks elsewhere I my home so I know I don’t have a hoarding problem. If you do feel like you have no control over your hording or feel obsessive about your supplies you might need help from a professional therapist. I care about you and creating should be a source of joy and positivity in your live and you deserve that:) Let’s continue the chat in the comments below. Til next time happy crafting!