Thursday, July 24, 2008

The stash diet

This moose track was found in the field after some rain we'd had. The moose have been so frequently wandering across the planted field that barriers and electric fences have had to be erected to keep them from trampling/eating plants.

My art cupboard is burgeoning under the weight of art supplies. Papers that I haven't touched, well, except to fondle in passing. New sets of pencils that have barely been sharpened that sit in pretty tins waiting to be used. Canvases, paints, gesso, brushes, books, magazines, the list goes on. And I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation.

I draw regularly - daily - and I use mostly a few sketchbooks and some larger stock paper. My main tool for drawing is a mechanical pencil (and yes, I have a half dozen of those too) yet I go to an art supply store and come out with something else. Or I see something new in an art forum or online supply store and I want to try that.

So I've decided that I'm going on a diet. A stash diet.

From now until 2009 I will not buy any new art supplies, but only use what is in my stash. The only exception will be if I run out of a staple, such as basic paper or a sketch book (like that will happen she says). I will make a dent in the supplies in my cupboard. I wonder what's in there these days? Let's see....well a quick look shows me what's there in paper.

4 pieces of smooth Illustration board
Bristol plate 500 & 400 pads
A pad of Canal paper
At least three pads of Bristol vellum and smooth
A roll of white Stonehenge paper
Somerset paper
A pack of Colourfix paper
Ampersand panels
Sanded Sabretooth paper
three watercolour pads
scads of canvas panels and stretched canvasses
and more......

I think I have some work to do - or hold a garage sale? Confession time. Do you dare reveal what's in your art supply stash?

Does anyone else want to join my stash diet? The rules are simple.

1. Work only with the supplies you currently own until December 31, 2008.
2. Do not buy ANY other art supplies between now and January 2009.
3. The only exception to rule # 2 is if you are COMPLETELY out of basic supplies such as general drawing paper (or whatever your main support is), your favourite pencil has died or the dog crunched up the last of your only Alizarin Crimson oil paint tube. (but I suspect you have another tube stuffed away somewhere don't you?)
4. You may wander in art supply stores in real life and online, but you cannot buy anything. Remember you are reducing your stash. Doing this, of course, can be a form of mental and physical torture so wander wisely.
5. As an added incentive, you can put away a little cash each week so that by the time January rolls around, you can hit the sales for new art supplies! I'm aiming for about $10 a week. That would give me about $220 to play with in January. And a much reduced art supply stash at home.


"JeanneG" said...

No thanks. I don't like that much pain. I will keep my stash. I will be going to the supply store tomorrow in fact.

Jennifer Rose said...

I need to do inventory for taxes so I am going to do this too :) I have lots of pencils that haven't even been used yet and lots of paper that I should have used months ago. Def. wont be going into any art stores for a few months or even years lol the temptation to buy shiny art supplies is too much :p

E. Floyd said...

Great idea about putting some money aside each week. I started a "stash diet" a few weeks ago after completing a mini inventory of my studio space and all the other areas around the house where I have accumulated art supplies, however did not make a plan of how to save for when I decide to get off of my savings plan...

Jeanette said...

I just need to use up some art supplies Jeanne, not collect more!

Oh yes, the temptation is always there, but unless they're virtually giving it away, I won't be buying.

Its amazing how it mounts up, isn't it? Yes a stash diet is needed from time to time. :)

Michael said...

Four years ago, I moved into a 21 foot motorhome with my wife and two cats. We have now expanded to a 30 foot motorhome but it is still pretty tiny.

Bottom line is that we have spent years on a stash diet. With so little space, we have no choice but to keep as little as possible.

And I have to tell you, I am much happier and more creative for it. We only have the barest basics of what we need.

1. Complete set of Prisma Color Colored Pencils.
2. Collection of various graphite pencils.
3. A few pads of paper for various art situations we find ourselves in.
4. A set of Derwent watercolor pencils.
5. A set of cheap pastels.
6. A couple of drawing boards
7. A couple of portfolios.

That is the extent of our art supplies. We also have various books, but we only keep them as long as we need them to learn the techniques. Then we give them away.

tracywall said...

What a great idea! I know I'm guilty of accumulating "stuff"; it's high time its used. I'm trying to use my "stuff" too, but mostly because business has been slow over the summer and $ is tight. The challenge can be kinda fun to figure out how best to use the old materials. Then again, sometimes yo realize exactly why it's been lingering in the closet for years.

Lisa Purcell said...

I just stumbled across your blog and wow, that is amazing. A fellow art stash junkie. I have something coming from as I write this. I also have to return something to the art supply store (because I already have an unopened box of the same item). I admit, I am a junkie. I will go on the diet too. (I will just put the stuff I want but don't buy on a Christmas list.) I am going to allow myself to exchange the item I am returning rather than simply getting cash back. :)) I do even sound junkie-like. Nice to make your acquaintance.

Robyn said...

I'm joining your diet, Jeanette. I don't have time to list my supplies, and the shame would be too great. I'm hoping your strength will motivate me to abstain. I will confess if I weaken.

For far too long I have been buying supplies that I never use. It's pathetic. I was never more productive than when I was only drawing in graphite and I had three mechanical pencils with different leads, a ball of blu tac and a click eraser. Now every nook in my tiny studio is packed with stuff.

Jeanette said...

Michael, space really does make you cut back and determine what you REALLY need, doesn't it?

Tracy, I hear you. I have some gems in the back of the cupboard that will likely be there forever until I give them to the goodwill shop. :)

Welcome to my blog Lisa. Always happy to see another addict. :) But aren't all artists stashaholics?? It goes with the territory I think. I just need to keep on top of it now and then.

Robyn, come on in, just push those canvasses off the chair and sit down... Yep, we're all in this together. I was only brave enough to list my paper stash. Then there's the 'other' stuff. Sigh.
Simplicity will become my trademark - and I'll have more money in my bank account too!

vivien said...

I'm an addict - hopelessly addicted to art materials so no chance! but I'd love to be let loose on your stash!

BJK_Art said...

Oh my gosh - I don't even want to go upstairs to my "art" room. Unfortunately it is also sort of a craft room, too, and it is so full of stuff I can hardly get around in it. And - I am ashamed to admit, this room is about 12' x 25'.
I not only tend to collect art supplies (which of course includes many, many frames as well as tons of matboard), but I also collect just "things" that I always see and think, "I could make something out of that!". But. . I never do. . . Or at least I seldom do. I keep making that same "diet" plan but I can't seem to stick to it. Maybe this time since I would be in good company?
Thanks for the impetus! :)

Jo Castillo said...

Stash diet is pretty tempting. I have cut down in the last few years so I don't feel too guilty. Guess I'll pass and go to the store with Jeanne G. :)

leslie said...

I found a box of 'supplies' I hadn't touched since moving, and in a coffee can at the bottom, I found a sea sponge from college pottery class, circa 1972.
I ran it under water, and it was like it had always been. I gave it a few more moments of its underwater vacation, and decided to keep it. It's sentimental.
Now, as for the paper drawer... :)
Great post, Jeanette.