Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Shedding, some light.

When I first left college, many moons ago, I acquired a habit which at the time I couldn't explain. When I had a big commission to do, instead of getting started, I would spend half a day cleaning the house. I know, mad. People around me couldn't understand it, and I wasn't at all sure about it myself either, but it seemed to get me prepared, mentally, and focused me into the right head space, so I just got on with it (and hey, the bathroom was sparkling..). This evolved over the years and usually I'm content to completely clear my desk (often a gigantic task..) before starting a new work.

But this weekend I really surpassed myself, and had such fun doing it..  I am holding a portfolio course. There is much to prepare for this intensive course (not least my supply of  hula hoops) - props, materials and projects, all to be squeezed into the car and transported to the venue.

just about room for the dog
Luckily, I have A Plan... Firstly, tart up some of the props and throw away the unused ones... Some of the white-painted objects were looking a bit grubby so I gave them another coat, and hung them in the garden to dry, and decided they looked rather like...well, Art.

Then, on the morning I traveled, time to attack the props boxes themselves. These are all stored in The Shed. I have a room at the back of my garage which I call The Shed - I think rooms are defined by what we call them. This room houses an extra fridge and the washing machine, but Utility is the wrong name for it. It's a bit rough - old lino on the floor, half-painted walls, pipes everywhere, and lining one wall above the Belfast sink there are wonderfully makeshift shelves full of the previous occupants bits and bobs.. Truly, A Shed.

Can you tell that I love a hardware shop?
I love the Silvo tin. The sweet tins are filled with screws, obviously. 
The props boxes are filled with the broadest imaginable array of potential drawing fodder, from shoes to car parts, plus some 'stuff', and sorting through them provided me with the most delicious cleansing experience,  getting rid of so much extra clutter that I totally emptied two boxes.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that moments later I found myself getting stuck in to clearing the shed as well! FanTAStic! I struggled and heaved until I got the broken old Singer sewing machine out, (which was taken to the dump, in spite of its highly drawable iron legs.. but I couldn't bring myself to throw away the '50's instruction manual with its wonderful illustrations and strange sounding, provocative words and titles like Blinding Plackets, To Oil the Bobbin Winder, French Fold, Shirr, Zipper Foot, Oiling the Ruffler, and even, perish the thought, The Blind Stitcher..). In no time I'd also hauled a half-broken chest of drawers out too, which my son happily axed to shreds. And lo, such new space! A couple of trips to the dump, then I drive across Ireland to County Clare... 
The Girls... 
I reckon you can tell a lot about someone, by looking in their shed. And you know that thing of everyone being in the kitchen at parties? They have it so wrong... Best place is.. the SHED!

Upcoming courses - water colour, portrait drawing and art for teenagers.
email for info


  1. all that cleaning before starting a project is really just clearing away distractions. That way you can't feel guilty by telling yourself I really must do that ironing,etc and you can really concentrate on the job at hand

  2. luckily, I never feel guilty for not doing the ironing..!!