(warning: this is a bit of a long post!)
I’m a rather messy and absent-minded person when it comes to my workshop. I’m getting better at organisation but it’s a slow process. It stems partly from having far too many ideas at once and not waiting to try each one out (and thus not always *putting things away* properly before I move onto the next project), and partly from not respecting my workspace as I should (being brutally honest, this is a self esteem issue, and I’m working on that too ^_^). Being a creative hurricane at these times can be exhilarating but I need to learn to temper it with some self-discipline.
A lot of my experiments don’t work terribly well. Some I scrap entirely, immediately, in shame; and some I salvage the parts that I thought looked good out of the disaster and put them in a selection of boxes and tins to be reused later.
You might have guessed that with my constant drive to try out ‘new’ stuff… I rarely come back to these boxes. I’ve been working this system for five years now so there’s rather a lot in there, and some of it’s getting pretty OLD – some of what I thought was reusable and good back then really doesn’t look the same to me now as my work has changed and evolved. Sometimes diving into the boxes is a revelation, but more and more lately it’s a reminder of the failures of previous work and poorly-thought-out projects (particularly as I tend to cannibalise the really good bits and leave the so-so behind – the average quality in the box can get worse over time).
I recognised yesterday that these have become little storehouses of regrets, and they’re all over my workspace!
I took the opportunity yesterday afternoon to start going through these boxes with a very critical eye. The aim is to keep what can *easily* be reused (any appropriately-sized pieces of sheet silver, plain silver discs, good sturdy headpins, wire big enough for ring shanks etc) and sell the rest for scrap, as now is a good time to be doing that with the skyrocketing price of silver. This has a three-fold purpose: recycling what I’m not using, ridding myself of regrets past so I don’t have to look at them anymore… and raising a bit of cash to pick up a few tools I’d like to try out. My hope was that the end result will be something that brings me joy rather than being a subtle reminder of the things I haven’t done well.
While I was pulling out these various little boxes and tins I also found a few little boxes, baggies and vials of wire offcuts and other bits and pieces that I used to save up for melting projects when I was starting out and beading more than smithing. Bonus! Into the scrap tray with those as well.
I have to say that the end result of my three hours’ work was a shock (net weight, but there’s still a weeny bit of copper and other stuff to pick out of one tray):
This is a little more ‘regret’ than I’d expected to shed. Probably four times as much, and I’m not finished yet. Liberating!
I don’t think I’ll be spending it all on tools for myself, that’s a bit greedy. I think I’d like to put some of it toward funding local crafty events or holding some workshops or something of that sort – chances to create lasting and positive personal memories out of these little regrets.
If you have ideas for where I could go with this – July or later if possible, given my (very pregnant) personal circumstances – I’d love to hear from you! ^_^