Creating a working environment

Creating A Working Environment | Textile Art

Creating a working environment

Creating a working environmental that is right for you can make a huge difference to your creative output. Many people work from home now. I have the luxury of using the garden in the summer months and sit looking out onto it for the rest of the year. It is my inspiration for The Natural Collection.

Creating a working environment
Garden workroom and inspiration

I use my floor, bed and sofa as large surfaces on which to quilt works and the outside wall of the house to photograph finished pieces. A space in which to work with good lighting is necessary for longevity. Whatever your working environment you need to be organised and have all the elements of your inspirational library easily accessible to you.

Creating a working environment
Easy access to my research library and embellishments

Being able to house it behind doors or screens is ideal because it creates a restful space in which to sew. Delve into it as a resource when creating new projects and gathering embellishments. I enjoy being swept along in the excitement of new possibilities but do not want to be distracted when planning and concentrating on hand sewing.

Creating a working environment
Old folding doors hide my research library in the sitting room where I sew

Let us explore storage for fabrics and embellishments, creating a visual library and housing your textile collection.

STORAGE – Fabrics

I have a huge hoard of fabrics stored in the loft. Large transparent plastic boxes with lids allows you to sort fabrics into colour combo’s and create projects for the future. Sort fabrics according to size with large pieces for backing and variations in length and remnants for detail. Zip lock plastic bags are great for creating colour palettes with scraps for tatty matting. Always label your storage. Paper labels can be edited and replaced. Sealed plastic prevents fabrics from becoming damp and dusty.

Creating a working environment
Plastic boxes and zip lock bags make great storage for fabrics and projects

Storage – Embellishments

Glass jars create a stash of visible embellishments for small jewels, beads and buttons, ribbon and lace.

Creating a working environment
Glass jars makes embellishments readily visible

But if you do not have a large storage space, cardboard boxes are ideal because they can be stacked. Use a coding system for quick access.

Creating a working environment
Stack cardboard boxes for compact spaces

Pretty purses and bags can be used for flat storage and are inspirational.

Creating a working environment
Use purses and bags as flat storage for small beads and buttons

For larger volumes of the same type I use old metal containers and bread bins with lids. I store my collection of buckles in an embroidered sewing bag I made at school.

Creating a working environment
Large buckles are stored in my embroidered sewing bag

Vanity cases and hat boxes are ideal too to create themed collections.

Creating a working environment
Old vanity cases make great storage for creating themed collections

I keep a random mix of sewing threads, ribbon, lace, elastic, curtain header tape, tools etc in an old desk and a wonderful piece of furniture designed specifically for sewing. It’s a great workable unit with a removable top section for your everyday sewing kit. This treasure of a bygone era was found on freecycle.

Creating a working environment
Old sewing table with removable insert

It’s fun to create an eclectic mix of objects to house your textile hoard. Explore charity shops, car booties, flea markets and freecyle for hidden treasures. Seeing them grouped together can inspire creativity.

Storage – Creating a Visual Library

Collecting books on artists you admire and subjects to inspire…

Creating a working environment
Themed library of artists and inspirational subjects

manuals on technique…

Creating a working environment
Magazine subscription from the eighties – my mams ring binder techniques

and magazines which are on trend…

Creating a working environment
Garden magazines to inspire seasonal abstracts and flower design

…is a great source of visual stimulation to get those creative juices flowing. Having an organised space where you can create a library of topics is valuable in time management. I cannot work in chaos. Building a collection of ideas in journals and sketchbooks, collecting scraps in jotters…

Creating a working environment
Collecting scraps from magazines in folders creates a themed resource

…and creating large mood boards which can be rolled up and tucked away captures your thoughts to be revisited later.

Creating a working environment
Mood boards are cellotaped to preserve colour and avoid tearing

Our memory and imagination are great assets. We can tap back into our thought processes when we revisit visuals we have created. It is a very different experience working with imagery you can hold and have created yourself to having images collected on screen (Pinterest boards and folders of photographic images transferred from phone and camera). I use all of these methods to provide a stimulating library.

Housing your Textile Collection

My wall hangings are rolled and housed on large metal shelving units to accommodate weight, maximizing space from floor to ceiling. Some works are very large and need to sit over two shelving units. Having open ended units allows air to circulate and work is easily accessible. Pieces waiting to be photographed are separated from finished work. Label according to theme. Folding wicker panels protects against dust and provides a tranquil setting in which to work.

Creating a working environment
Maximize storage with floor to ceiling shelving units hidden behind wicker panels

Being organised is key to being productive. Accessing information quickly and being able to see what stock you have available to you promotes a good working environment which is stimulating for new ideas and practical to allow you to work through the various stages of your textile. Having an ordered home is key in limiting distractions and to keep you focused, especially if you do not have a designated work room. And with no commute you can take advantage of the extra time you have in your day. Setting up a daily routine can be beneficial, though I am more organic in my approach, going with the flow when I am excited. Having textiles at various stages can help to create a more diverse approach. The finishing process can be more time consuming than you realise. Mix it up for a thriving working week.

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