Sometimes Messy is Better

August 24, 2016

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From the time we are small we heard one variation of this or another…

“Go clean your room.”

“Pick that up.”

“Stay inside the lines.”

“That is so sloppy.”

“Look at the mess you made.”

“Don’t be so messy.”

And OH YES, as a Mom and a Grammy I have said those very thinks a thousand times.

But sometimes messy is better.

I posted yesterday that we were all born to create but somewhere along the road we stopped.  Just flat out shut down our creative side.

Maybe hearing the comments above too many times contributed to that very thing.

Sometimes messy is better.

I love having a clean and tidy house.  In fact I worked all day on Monday cleaning a spare bedroom where I had unpacked my large displays and stashed various other things from the studio while reorganizing it.  But I just couldn’t stand it any longer.  The spare room just had to be neat again.  And it is and I breathe, awwww.

But sometimes messy is better.

I read a magazine article probably 3 decades ago that said that the best dressed women have the messiest bedrooms and closets.  Hmmm, that would indicate that the process of creating the best outfits in the world require, or result in, the messiest outcome.

Sometimes messy is better.

My youngest son is an artist at heart.  My other children are creative, but he is a true artist.  Once when he was showing a nephew how to color he was showing him that sometimes coloring outside the lines was better.  I was watching what he was doing and realized that he was right.  There was something about the color escaping the black lines of the drawing just looked better.

Sometimes messy is better.

When I first started doing beaded jewelry years ago I would clean my work space and loved it when it looked so tidy and neat.  I would get it all tidied up and sit down to create.  And then – nothing.  I would sit and try to think of something, anything to make.  A design, colors, styles, and there would be nothing.  My mind would be as blank as the tabletop.

Then there were the days I would go shopping for tons of beads and focal pieces and would come home and just dump them all out on my table in one big mess to look at my prizes.

And that is when my creative mind went nuts!  I would see that this bead lying next to that bead looked amazing.  And another that I had never thought would go with that one was just perfect together.  And suddenly I would have so many ideas I couldn’t get them made fast enough.

Sometimes messy is better.

Give yourself permission to not be so neat all the time.  It really is ok.  I’ve seen people sit down to scrapbook, or bead, or do some other craft, and they are so preoccupied with the mess it is making and constantly cleaning it up that they just can't relax and enjoying being creative.  Tell the mom in your head that right now, just for today, just for this moment, it is better to be messy.  Tell that voice in your head that you will clean it up later, and you will, but for now it is ok to just be messy.

Most of you know that I just finished a huge gallery show for which I had to make over 80 pieces.  I was in a time crunch because of a broken ankle.  First thing when I got back into the studio was to reorganize.  Cleaning just came with it, but not on purpose.  I needed to function better and more efficiently in my studio.

Then the whirlwind came and I worked feverishly for weeks to get the pieces done that I needed to get done.  I am going to be real with you now and show you pictures of my studio after the ‘storm’.

 Jewelers Bench

This is my bench top and is actually much cleaner than usual.  I actually picked up about 6 pair of pliers, my saw, and a few other tools the last time I was done.  When I am in the middle of a project you can barely see the wood.

Drill Station

Another 'mess' I just left.  I will tidy up my drill bits, but I have my diamond bits laid out in just the right order to drill into a stone to set another stone or object.  If I put them away, I'll have to make a note or some such thing to remember just the right order.  Which I will probably do, but then finding a note in this studio?  And my Smith Little Torch is shoved way over from where it usually sits.  I have no idea why.  And that wad of paper towels?  Thrown down at the last minute.  They will go.  Way to close to the torch.  But for now it is ok.


This is a new workbench which was created when I reorganized prior to working on gallery projects.  It is usually much cleaner and one space that I need open to work.  But I I have been getting stones in and just laid them there.  Also I was looking for something so I have stuff just laying where I left it.  But that is ok.  I'll pick it up when I sit back down to work.  I give myself permission to do that.


This is a place that is usually clean.  But I bought some stuff and dumped it and it is still there.  I'll pick it up - eventually.  I'll put my metal and wire away and the inks and hammer.  Once I get my stump moved in the anvil will go on that.  But it is ok for now.

Shipping Area

Now here is the real catastrophe!  This is a work table that I use for odd ball things.  The short end is my shipping area!  Ha Ha Ha - what a horrible mess.  Now that is going to get cleaned because in the middle of all this mess I have to have a clean area when i get ready to ship.  But right now it is a dumping ground.  I had to make new displays for the gallery show and all the bits and pieces of so much mess is leftover there.  But it is ok, for now.

Studio Wet Room

And here is the bathroom off of the studio.  I do tidy this room from time to time just because there is so little space and I can clutter it up real quickly.  But this is about average and that is ok.

There is a lot that needs to be put away and put back.  But honestly, really and truly, I can go in there right now, right as it is, and just sit down in the middle of that mess and create.  I’ve seen tons of jeweler’s benches and studios.  I’ve seen tons of artist’s studios and they are all messy!  I love seeing the pics that other artists post of their studios and benches.

Sometimes messy is better.

Give yourself permission to be messy when you have the desire to create.  Just let go, be free, and enjoy.

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