Jo Packham Made Me Do It INSPIRED Me!

Having a home-studio with enough stuff to fill a storage unit to use in a multitude of different types of crafts has nearly overwhelmed me. I suppose if I just stuck to one type of craft, things wouldn’t be so out of hand around here. But I simply can’t so I and my family have had to learn to live among the goods, which I do my best to keep in my little studio room in the garage, or more recently, the same-size area just outside my studio. As my projects grow, my systems of storage of supplies, tools, materials and equipment have grown with it and have begun to take over all possible working space.

Fortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion that for producing order in the studio, there’s no better coach than Jo Packham. I don’t know Jo personally, we’ve never met (yet!) but she’s been hanging around my place for a few years now in the form of her books and magazines, all on the subjects of studios and the inspirational artists who create in them.Jo Packham is quite clearly many wonderful things based on the praises of many. There’s been much written by her and likely as much written about her as an author, editor-in-chief, designer, publisher, stylist, parent, friend, businesswoman, and co-founder of the upcoming Creative Connection. She’s been on my mind a lot lately, ever since I visited my dad in Texas a few weeks ago. I’d gone to Barnes & Noble for a few hours of WiFi, and when finished with my work I gravitated to the craft section of the store. And there it was, another fabulous book by Jo Packham. This one, though, was co-written with the ever inspiring dynamo, Jenny Doh. Talk about a two-fer! The book is Where Women Create: Book of Inspiration: In the Studio and Behind the Scenes with Extraordinary Women. I bought it, stuffed it into my computer bag and could hardly wait to crack it open on the flight home.Inspired I was. Not just by the unique and beautiful studios featured, but the stories of the women who built them. This book shares their artwork and designs, tips for organizing, tips for creativity, special memories, favorite color themes, and some pretty incredible personal stories.

My favorite story was the very first one, that of Danita, a mixed-media artist from Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. It touched me how she created such powerful color and beautiful images from within her own soul to enrich the world around her while residing in a region that may be considered by some to be just the opposite of beauty. The studio of mixed media artist Pam Garrison might just be my favorite featured in the book. I mean- just look at those shelves! What I wouldn’t do to dig though every delicious box!I also picked up the latest issue of Jo Packham’s Where Women Create (Aug/Sept/Oct 2011). I was so inspired by the story and mission of sisters Melody Ross & Kathy Wilkins and their Brave Girls Club.  I can only imagine the possiblities if my own incredibly creative sister and I lived closer. No doubt we would follow their lead create another amazing wonderland of creative nurturing. Their feature also had me bugging my Mr. Wonderful to surrender the barn and put his boat and man toys to pasture.So, back to my studio…

Having as much crafty stuff (for lack of a more civilized word) as I have accumulated, I’ve had to break the task of organizing into many days. Unfortunately, I’m not always up for  sorting, stacking, arranging, separating, or color-coding, so I’ve been relying on the coach to keep me motivated.I pulled another Jo Packham book from my own library shelf, Organizing Your Craft Space, and have been sourcing it daily for prompts and pushes to keep going towards a functioning, yet still attractive studio space. This book is one of my favorites, and right now it’s only about ten bucks on Amazon! I realized the other day that it’s very likely that an image in this book may be completely responsible for my cigar box storage obsession, but I’ll let you decide.

Image from Organizing Your Craft Space:

My (newly organized) shelves:As cool as boxes upon boxes of colorful vintage tobacco product packaging can be, it does inhibit a good amount of organization if you have a lot of them. I could alphabetize the contents, but seriously, that would last a day. I have resorted to a lot of clear storage bins from Target for the things I need to get at the most and now have stacks of them on my shelves in addition to vintage boxes, cubbies and drawers. It really does make things more efficient, it just may take a while to get used to.I appreciate all the encouragement that can be found in the words and images of Jo Packham’s books and magazines. Giving motivation when I need it to keep my studio a pleasant, inspired and functional place to work and play. Thank you Jo! I’ve even procured a part-time studio assistant to help me with things like sorting and organizing buttons. I only have her for a couple more weeks until school starts. (That’s my daughter, Sarah!)This photo is taken from above the stacks of cigar boxes in the previous image. This is the area outside my studio door that I use now to keep much of my craft supplies.

So, how’s your space looking, whether big, small, on the kitchen table, in a cupboard, corner of the bedroom, off-site facility or plastic tote in the closet? Are you able to keep it up?

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