Thursday, January 20, 2011

Back on the Roller Coaster

I started school again on Tuedsay, kicking of my second full year here at CCA. I'm excited about my classes (jewelry 2B, enameling, sculpture 1, history of jewelry and metal arts) but am already feeling very overwhelmed.

Last semester was so intense, so much work, so crazy that I don't think I can handle a repeat this semester without a breakdown of some sort. I can control some aspects of my workload (i.e. how complex the projects are that I choose), but for the most part the assignments are set and the pace can't be altered. I don't really know how to explain what it feels like to be in art school as a second-degree student. The best approximation is that it's as if I were a contestant on Project Runway while having to deal with running my own business, not to mention "real life" and all of its obligations at the same time. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with no brakes, and all I can do is hold on, work as diligently as possible, and take things one day at a time in hopes that I don't fall off.

Part of what has me feeling so unsettled is that my home office/studio/dressing area is really cluttered. I'm on a constant battle to get organized, but despite all my efforts I've not really mastered the beast quite yet. It's a challenging room to tackle because it serves many functions: a closet and dressing area for me (Rico's stuff is upstairs in the small closet in our bedroom), storage area for all of my photos (back when I actually organized them into albums) and select childhood mementos, an office where I do schoolwork and take care of the administrative side of my business, a creative space for school projects and my own jewelry work, a photography studio, and my little corner of the house.

I have purged a lot of what I own, trying to keep only those things that I need and use on a consistent basis. Still, it's a lot of stuff. Art supplies for school, beads, wire, jeweler's tools, office supplies, books, shipping supplies, jewelry displays, photo equipment and lighting...not to mention my own clothes and jewelry and shoes. I desperately need a better framework for organizing everything. I need some more shelves and a bookcase. I need a way to organize my tools so they're accessible but tidy. Ufff. I bought a jeweler's bench over break which hopefully will help isolate some of the jewelry stuff and give me a dedicated work area for metals projects, but it will also make my room more crowded.

I can't express how much I want a clean, organized "home base" from which to run my business and plow through my school work. Just knowing that my space is cluttered makes the craziness of the school semester that much harder to manage. Bit by bit I'm trying to find solutions, and Rico has been quite helpful. He's going to build some shelves for me and put in new flooring so I can do more studio-type work at home without worrying about the carpet getting impregnated with metal shavings or, once I get a soldering station set up, catching on fire!

I know that fundamentally everything will be ok. I'll get through the semester, I'll enjoy my projects, I'll learn new skills, I'll eventually get my office/studio area organized. I just wish I had a magic wand to wave so that it would all fall into place tomorrow.


Marcia said...

Oh Ali, all I can suggest from a distance without seeing the space is zones for everything, keep things where you use them (daily things on desk, other things in drawers or shelves) and do regular (quick, daily) maintenance.

Let me know if you need any help (and send photos).

Well done to Rico with the shelving,e tc.

Ali la Loca said...

Thanks, Marcia. I like the zones idea and will do some thinking about how to implement it without making my desk feel cluttered (I use a TON of supplies on a daily basis to do all my homework and projects). I'll try to remember to take some before/after photos.

Wish I could just import you here for a couple of days to help me out! :)