This week, I did an uber clean up of my studio. I had a studio visit with two tourists from Chicago. It was super exciting to have them come for lunch and a great discussion about fiber art. I learned a LOT. One of the visitors has been making fiber art for more than 20 years. It was an honor to have her in my creative space.
My process is very simple. I cut.
I even had a show by the name Cut-Stitch-Press at the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska.
Here is what the studio looked like prior to cleaning. I have an L-shaped cutting station which grows mounds of fabric.
I am constantly shoving bits out of the way. They amass into scrap mountains.
Of course, there comes a time—several times a day—when I need a particular scrap. So, I dig and dig until I find it.
Then there comes that time when I can’t find the scrap I am looking for. Sometimes I change course, and sometimes I clean up my scrap piles.
When I am sewing strip sets, and I get to the end of a seam, I snip the leftover bit off. I collection these under my sewing table.
And some point I must decide what to keep and what to discard. This is my descision. The ones on the left stay, the ones on the right go.
If the fabric is particularly precious as in a hand dyed given to me by Anita Reid Guerrero, I keep the tiniest bits of bits. Can you believe my good fortune to have hand dyed fabrics gifted to me? If you don’t keep your hand dyed scraps, I know where you can mail them to.
Vintage fabric bits are also treasured. I have a particular pink that I might just have a memorial service for when she is gone.
When I sort I create 12 piles.
The neutrals—grey, brown, black, and white.
Then the pink, red, orange, and yellow scraps.
And finally there are the green, turquiose, blue, and purple bits.
This cleaning session, I placed the scraps in plastic bags, because as soon as the studio visit is over, I will be pulling these bits back out again.
Chawne Kimber aka Catchy Complete chuckled at how LARGE my bits were the other day when I posted this image on my Facebook artist page.
You can visit her blog just to see more images of just how small she goes. Or to put it another way–My bits are BIG. It is all relative. My scraps are her yardage.
Then another Facebook reader asked about ironing scraps, and I knew it was something that we all might like to talk about.
Yes. I iron and fold my scraps. When I am organized and working, they exist in piles sorted by color.
When I am disorganized and working, they grow into massive jumbles.
And when I totally organized and clean, they go in their bit bins until the next time.
What is your scrap strategy? What do you keep, and what do you throw away? How little is too little? Are any of you scrap takers or scrap givers?