Sunday, April 22, 2012

Slowly getting organised

I wrote a while back about how disorganised my notes about pieces of my art are; how I scribble on scraps and roughly sketch out ideas in a weird hieroglyphic kind of way, and never seem to have the right notebook in the right place at the right time.

Interestingly that post got me thinking that there must be some way I could get it together a bit better.

I came up with two ideas that I thought I might have been capable of doing/achieving.

The first was to commit to sticking some of those scraps into my notebook, so that they all end up in the same place at some point in time.

Secondly I decided that I would try to carry my notebook with me between the house and the studio. That way I would always have it with me when I was in the places where I usually make notes or have ideas.

As I read that again, I think - well both those things are obvious; but you know, up until I really thought about it, they weren't!

I accepted that I would always have my other little notebooks with me in my bag so I could capture ideas in them if I was on a plane or a train or waiting at the shops.  If I was smart, I could then copy those ideas and past them into my notebook.

So the challenge was set and I found myself actually doing it!  I would sketch notes in my bag-book and then photocopy them and paste them into the notebook.  This is what I did here (above) with Annie's poem Blackbird.

I would carry the notebook back and forth and usually end up with it with me; not 'over there', when I needed to grab it. Here are some ideas for 'a subversive stitch'. I even kept most of the pages for notes for this book together, by leaving a few blank pages before I started jotting ideas about something else. Totally organised!

I also stuck in 'notes to self' about a process to remind myself what I did or what worked well.

I have managed to capture all of the measurements and materials I have been using for different pieces and my commissions, in case I have to repeat them. Like here there are ideas about the latest COMA piece, notes about the colour, a swatch of the colour and some scribbled designs.  I was really pleased this little piece sold over Easter.

I'm not sure how long it will last, but it's been a blast so far and I am feeling quite chuffed!  The rest of the studio is still a chaotic mess; but then who wants a pristine studio?


  1. Congratulations on getting organised, and your sale. Good work.

  2. This approach works for me too. At first i didn't want to glue the rushed notes and sketches into my idea book but it is more practical and actually looks creative. I've long given up trying to have a neat book with carefully drawn ideas. The image second from the end is lovely ... with the burnt text, hand written notes and a glimpse of "stillness".

  3. I wish I could say this is my approach... I have very good notebooks for my (written) research (lots of notes and carefully penned excerpts from books read) ... not so good with my arts practice vis diary..... your vis diary is a thing of beauty!

  4. I totally agree Abigail - how one earth would one do anything?

    Thanks Jo - the sale was a sweet surprise; and getting organised was as well!

    Hi Robyn - it's good to know the system works for you as well. I just can't do 'gorgeous' in my notebooks - my mind is way too scrappy and rushed. But I am finding putting the ideas all in there together in whatever shape or format, does help them grow and I enjoy flicking thru and getting new ones...

  5. You are often an inspiration Fiona. I must get sorted in this regard - even have the large scrapbook ready just never remember to glue all those inspiration bits that are floating around the studio - hidden under stacks and stashes!

  6. I use this kind of approach - glueing in the scraps of paper with quick scribbles - as well. I believe it even shows the development of the ideas more clearly. I love the way your notebook looks.

  7. i wonder what this desire to *organize* is about. (i have it, too) is it that you are taking the work seriously enough to commit to a higher level of structure, there's so much going on you HAVE to keep track of it? well, in writing this i've started to figure it out for me!

  8. Oh Fiona this sounds highly organised to me. I wish I could master making the initial notes before rushing headlong into starting something without thinking it through. That would be my own personal mini breakthrough. You are light years ahead of me!!

  9. This inspires me to get re-acquainted with my journal, which has been sadly neglected lately.

    Congratulations on your sale! I love the barbed wire piece--I'm enjoying your blog since I discovered it recently.

  10. I have a friend, a retired doctor, who takes the absolute best notes on her art and sewing projects. I think it is the scientist in her. Sadly, I'm quite the opposite. Enjoying your blog.

  11. You're an inspiration to me Fiona....I really want to be organized to keep a real notebook that serves as container for my random thought, moments of inspiration, etc. etc.....but even with the best of intentions it remains for most part unused and always "there" and not here. I love the notion of gluing and pasting in the bits...I envision a book that ends up bursting at the seams....thanks again for keeping this goal on the front burner for me! Enjoy!

  12. Thanks Ronnie - it's com in along quite nicely of snow and I am pleased to have been able to master tho approach momentarily. I hope it lasts longer.

    hi Susan - I can imagine there are bits of inspiration under stacks and stashes - it's funny when you rediscover them isn't it? And then off you go again!

    Thank you Stregata - I am really enjoying having all the bits together; it makes it so much more enjoyable; and yes you can track the progress. I look back at my subversive stitch sketches and smile at how they evolved from there...

    Hi v - I thinki tmight be a bit of both - definitely the latter; but also the former a bit. I have realised how people might now ask me to repeat something or makes something like they have seen; and it's such a drag to start all over again; I like having the measurements or colour swatches there to refer to.

    Oh Lesley - you have no idea how many times I start out thoughtless and scramble to catch up to myself with notes! I often don't think things thru fully and get close to the end and wonder How did I think I could resolve it?

    Hi Deborah - thank you for letting me know you are stopping by and enjoying the blog (and thanks for the congrats too!). I have quietly re-focused myself onto my journal/diary and have been reminded how helpful it is...

    Thanks Teri- yes there are such different approaches to capturing and recording those moments or those works, and a lot of it is down to training or work practices and styles I think. I am one who struggles to be organised at times, but loves to be!

    Hi Patti - a container is a great way to think about it. I have given up on the gorgeous-look factor and the beautiful book factor. I have worked out a solid little A5 black spiral bound notebook actually encourages me to stick stuff in and make it look like it is used; I'm not so good with a nice book. It isn't the only container I use by a long shot; but it's working out pretty well for thebig stuff at the moment...


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.