Sunday, June 14, 2009

How to keep organized and productive!

by Camilla of Danagonia

When SATeam asked me to write an article about organization, I thought it was very funny, because though I am very productive and I am very good at consistently uploading new jewelry in my Etsy store, disorganization shows in other parts of my life.

Our house is completely disorganized and I am very inconsistent with routines such as laundry, cooking and cleaning. 

I come from a family where my mother is an artist, and we have always lived with everything in an organized mess. This gives us more time to do our hobbies and the things we really want to do. In the end I think everyone sort of has to choose for themselves, because it's impossible to keep everything organized, and it's okay not to organize everything!

When I create jewelry I make sure I have all the time I need, and then I create a whole bunch at once. This way I don't have to take the time to find all the stuff I need; that's time that goes away from my creating. 

I also often leave my mess be for a long period of time. I like creating in front of the TV, next to my rabbits with my laptop beside me, instead of using my workspace. This drives my boyfriend insane, but I feel like I'm still part of the world, and not just cooped up at my workspace all alone. 

But it also means that our living room table is always filled with my materials. If I have company over, I often tell them, "sorry about the mess, but I'm in the middle of the creative process," and ask them to sit at the dining table instead! I've never had any complains about this, and I think people actually find the clutter kind of warm. They know they certainly don't have to dress up to visit me.  

But without my friends and family's support, I could never create as much as I do. My boyfriend has been irritated at some points, and I have started spending more time taking care of our house, but in the end he wants me to go back to my messy self, and he lives with my beads always lying on the floor. And I really do appreciate his patience.

Sometimes it can be hard to keep up the motivation and find new ideas. One thing I find to be very important, is to try never to make the same piece more than twice. I think that if I mass produce the same item over and over again, inspiration can be lost. 

If I feel like I'm stuck, and just don't feel like making jewelry, I go looking for new tutorials. I often do a search on Etsy for new and interesting tutorials. I just do a "Jewelry tutorial" search and see what comes up...some new and fun techniques always come up. 

I devote at least two hours a day to jewelry making. Not everyone has the time to do this, but devote as much time as you can. It doesn't have to be more than 15 minutes, and you don't really have create anything...Just surf the net for new inspiration, or look through the forum, and just keep updated on everything that's going on. 

It's also a good idea to keep a piece of paper and a pen near you all the time...scribble your ideas for new pieces down, and if you don't have any just scribble shapes, do small drawings just for fun. All of the sudden you might have a great idea. 

I get my best ideas when I'm really really bored, and then a piece of paper is brilliant. I have a note book where I have scribbled down ideas for hundreds of pieces. And if I feel uninspired, I look in the book; often an old design suddenly speaks to me again.

I also spend a lot of time helping out other jewelry makers. I participate in four different forums actively, and it gives me so much joy when I have helped someone else. 

When I have created a new piece the most exciting thing isn't if it's going to sell, it's what are all the people at my forums going to say! And that is what drives me. I also participate in as many challenges as possible. Competitions and things where you have to create within tight parameters make my creativity flow. I have made some of my very best pieces in challenges.

Whenever I get sick of my materials, I like to swap with others. That way I get beads to work with I would never have chosen myself, and it opens my eyes to new possibilities. I always strive to do better and to learn more, I am never really satisfied and that is what keeps me going.

In the end it's also a matter of time and priority. Some can live with the creative mess and some need structure. Find out when and where you create best, and make that your space. And remember, creating doesn't have to take time away from your family. Try doing it in front of the TV, when watching a movie with your hubby, or make the children a part of it. Let them play with the expensive beads, and make it a family activity. Maybe your 7 year old actually has the next brilliant design right up his or her sleeve...It's all about keeping it fun, it should never just be just a job that has to be done.

The SATeam blog features artisan handmade creations by the etsy starving artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current etsy shop owner members can be found at


Cat said...

Great post, thanks Camilla! It feels good that there are other people out there that feel the same about organisation. Isn't the most important thing to stay being true to yourself?

casualgal said...

Great post Camilla. Sounds alot like my house!!!

Bonnie said...

Thanks for the great post Camilla. I won't feel so alone in my "mess" now.

Leilani said...

HA - I can so relate to this article! Creative folk need a bit of chaos I think. :)

Danagonia - Magic Jewelry said...

Thank you everyone... And thank you Cindy for checking the grammar!!!

ALN Designs said...

Your candor is refreshing and inspiring. I often beat myself up for falling back into a state of disorder. I need and like order, but my nature is to fall back into lapses of chaos and disorder.

I guess it's time for me to accept that this back and forth is who I am and mastering the orderly side is not something I can do on a consistent basis.

Lisa Holley said...

i have lived both way and i must live my life with just a little mess in it.

Barb Macy said...

I really need to clean up my workspace. It is embarrassing!

Stacie said...

Too neat & I'm creatively stifled. Too messy & my DH is not a happy chappy. I like the creative mess, but I think my workspace would use a bit of tidying. But I wonder if others find my clutter "kind of warm"? Doesn't bother me at all- I like it. And my kids are just like me ;-)