Artistic Clutter and the art of tidying up vs the creative muse.

January is almost gone, with it’s abundance of to-do lists, aspirations, plans for the months to come. I made a list as long as my arm of wishful hopes for this new year, though I’m struggling to find the energy to put my plans into action.

Looking at my work space – tidying it being the first line of my to-do list – make me I want to bury my head in the sand, or at least under my fluffy duvet, for at least another few weeks.

  1. Tidy Work Space.

Now by tidy, this first means making a path from my ironing board to my sewing machine. Collecting up the discarded bits of fabric into one box. Putting all my cotton reels back into one space. Scrapping blobs of beeswax off the floor…. you get the picture. My work space is a veritable symphony of untidiness and whilst I will never be regularly tidy, having a bit of long term order in the clutter feels like something I really want to achieve this year.

Looking at all the STUFF I have in this small work space of mine, it does make me wonder if as artists we are destined to work from a cluttered space – does having lots of things around and about us, out of place, juxtaposed in unusual ways, make for productivity, creativity, inspiration? Would the same ideas flow if we were forever confined to a neat and orderly space? Would I consider putting fabrics together in patchwork in quite the way I do if they had not happened to fall haphazardly together while I was rummaging through the bag of cotton scraps?

I’m still puzzling it as I avoid the job of sorting and tidying that I know I must get started on soon. What do you think? Are we too busy having creative ideas to be tidy? Or would our creativity flow easier, faster if we had clear spaces around us as we work? How do you keep your work spaces clear, or do you work in a cacophony of clutter?

I want to know!

P.S Happy Belated New Year.



Green Packing – Packaging the Earth in Plastic, and how I’m Trying to STOP


The plastic problem. No one can be truly oblivious to the problem of plastic ┬áin our world anymore. When sea creatures are washing up on our shorelines with a half a tonne of plastic in their bellies we can’t walk away from a catastrophe that is of our own making. Stepping away from plastic straws in pubs and polyester clothes on the high street is one thing but what about when I want to get my beautifully handcrafted zero waste solution to a customer without it getting rained on?

Seeing Chris Jordan’s albatross chick pictures had such an impact on me, and really made me feel for a while what on earth was the point of trying to help people find zero-waste solutions to plastic problems, if the rest of the world was just going to sleepwalk into ecological disaster. But giving up isn’t an option really, so onward I go, making tiny changes all the time. This month I’ve been looking at my packaging for TPGS and trying to work out how to make it better.

My other half is a postman, so I’m well aware of the damage a bit of weather can do to a parcel packed in paper, so I’ve never considered using paper to wrap my packages if they’ve to be posted. Since I began The Phoenix Green Store I have been using recycled plastic packaging – basically saving the packaging from anything delivered to us, and collecting the same from friends and relatives to keep it out of landfill a little longer. The zero-waster in me felt that was a good option but now I’m thinking, is it enough? I still use the evil sellotape, or brown plastic packing tape for bigger parcels. So there’s still plastic that’s ending up in landfill/the sea. I’ve thought about buying eco biodegradable bags, but would have to charge for postage then, which I currently don’t. And it feels really important to continue to make zero waste solutions as financially accessible as possible. Such a quandry, and one that I’m still muddling through, trying to work out the best solution.

Today though, I discovered Tesa ecological paper packaging tape, so I’m going to order a roll and see how it stands up to Royal Mail’s delivery systems (and the weather!) I’m not sure how to move forward on the whole plastic packaging side of things, but I’m hoping for some customer feedback and will see where that takes me. If you get a parcel packaged with the new paper tape, do let me know what you think!

I’m determined to continue in efforts to make a difference to the tide of plastic that is literally taking over our planet – accepting that the steps to being plastic free are many and small is helping me not feel so grim and despairing! Are you on the zero-waste journey? Come and join the conversation in a new group set up to MOBILISE our ACTIVISM. It’s called STOP (Stop Trashing Our Planet) and you can find the link here.


My blog and everything in it will always be free to inspire and support people to live with less plastic, live more sustainably, live with less, and work to reduce the impact of climate change. It does, however, incur running costs. If you are able to contribute to these costs you are welcome to leave a tip in my tip jar here. If not, please consider sharing this post on your social media platforms. Thanks and love, Kate.