Sunday, June 16, 2013

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle or Release

I've lived small before, in Europe, where I am originally from, space comes at a premium. I've lived in a small apartment for years, in 4 story housing where every box looks the same and you are forced to put your couch in the same spot as your neighbour. And where you can hear everything, music, people walking on the floor above you, arguments and laughter. Yes, I have lived small but not for a while now. Living in a small space requires special skills - skills of storage maximisation, control of viral outbreaks of books, clothes, shoes and other items that typically appear in multiples. But living in a small space also requires tolerance and perhaps a period of letting go.

In thinking about how it would be to live on a boat, I have had to work through a few things that I may have to let go - there just is not enough space for everything you amass when living in a house. In the past week, I have questioned myself constantly - can I do without this? What does it mean to me to have this? Can I let it go if I have to. And if the answer to that is positive, what do I do with it. Do I reuse it, do I recycle it into something else or to I release it to the world. In preparation for the Big Move to the boat, I am going to have to reduce some of my possessions. Let go of clothes, resist the sales (I am a good buyer, I never pay full price), reduce my consumption of books, purchase of wine, furniture and decorative items. But most of all, it has dawned on me that I need to do something with all my art materials.

I have a glass workshop with a kiln, I have a studio room with lots of storage full of materials and I have clay all over the place. From a practicality and safety perspective it is not possible to have a glass workshop on a yacht, nor a kiln. So that makes the decision easier. I need to let that go. The piles of magazines are not a real issue, I have transitioned to digital magazines and this has reduced the space I am occupying already. Some technique books can come, the ones I use the most I suppose. But the beads, and the threads, and the sculpts, and the leathers, and yarns. What am I going to do with that? The obvious answer is create more than I buy and start selling the work.

Pondering these issues bring with it very interesting questions about identity and personal values.  If you strip away all these things, what is left of me? How can I keep true to what is most important to me (creativity and I didn't say who is most important to me as that would be a trick question) and do that in a space constrained environment? Are other people doing this? Are there things that are non-negotiable for me? What are the practicalities of an art practice on board? Should I keep working, can I keep working? Many questions that I do not have the answer to right now.

There is some time.  And one of the benefits of starting this process early is a form of simplification of life. We drown in things, literally, our planet is drowning in the stuff we make, transport and discard. I feel a huge sense of mind space when I remove clutter, except in my studio where I seem to need some - I actually cleaned up the workbench today and it is feeling rather strange and empty. But the removal of complexity and possessions is I believe a very liberating act.

Space. The Final Frontier.

1 comment:

sylovelyrita said...

Hi Bianca,

Thanks very much for your comments on my blog.

Everyone who's going to live on board a boat goes through the same thing. Get rid of most of your possessions. I found it very liberating.

Our situation is not comparable because I started beading after we left. I'm used to tiny space and storage. It has its advantages because I know exactly what beads I have. Like you said: use what you have and then buy new things. Like you I love to recycle. I'm always looking out for things I can use whereever we are. It's such a fantastic thing to do, beading. It really enriches my life.

When exactly are you leaving and on what kind of boat? Where are you heading? Wouldn't it be great if we met somewhere in some exotic anchorage?

I could go on and on but for the moment this will do.

Greetings from Karin (SeaBeads).