You may be like me and after conducting your art and craft supplies audit, you have unfinished art and craft projects and supplies in your cupboard that you’ve gathered over the years. Now you need to do a process of elimination to sort through those supplies and find your art niche.
You need to think about why you bought your supplies and why you kept them. Will you still use them?
What to do with your stash?
If you followed the steps to organise your art and craft supplies, you’ll know what you have in your stash, and you’ll have a clear idea of what interests you. Yet you may find that you have too many arts and crafts interests and not enough time.
What can you do? How can you manage it so you can to pursue your art and craft dream and find your niche?
Let’s do that in a process of elimination.
Elimination – The second step in a 2-part process
You organised your supplies in the blog ‘12 steps to organise your arts and craft supplies‘. This blog is a follow-on and will show you how to look at your audit results to help you manage your art and craft interests.
This is a process of elimination and will refine your art and craft interests. To do this, you will need the ‘art and craft supplies audit list‘ you created when you organised your supplies. You will use this list to help you complete an ‘Emotional vs Physical’ audit. This sounds difficult, but do the steps and take your time, and you’ll see results.
An ‘Emotional vs Physical’ audit template is available to work through. You can access it by clicking the button below.
Too many interests and not enough time?
I found that after I conducted my arts and crafts supplies audit that I had a wide range of art and craft interests. I found I had interest in six different drawing mediums; seven different painting mediums; hand and machine embroidery, sewing, knitting and crocheting; fabric dyeing and airbrushing.
Perhaps you found a large stash and many interests after your audit as well.
How do you make order from a large variety of art and craft interests? Where do you start on what you want to focus on with your limited time?
The sheer size of organising your art and craft interests can be intimidating and scare you into putting your supplies straight back in the cupboard where they came from.
Stop! Don’t put them back in the cupboard
Let’s think about why you have your supplies, why you bought them and why you kept them. Let’s go through the process to eliminate those supplies you no longer enjoy or can use.
I will tell you an experience I had which has stayed with me.
Some time ago, I was looking through an online market place for art and craft supplies. I looked through the sewing listings and found an entry from a local storage lockup.
The auction entry was for an abandoned lock-up. It had a photograph of the goods to be auctioned. The photograph was of sewing supplies. It had fabric, an overlocker and a sewing machine. It had accessories and other bits and pieces for sewing. The picture looked like nothing had been touched since it went in to the lockup.
You’ll get to them ‘one day’
I thought – ‘why would someone have all that sewing gear in a lockup?’ Perhaps it belonged to someone who had downsized from their home, or who had most likely become ill and entered a nursing home. I didn’t think that the person had died when the goods went to the lock-up. But I figured that they probably had died since. The lock-up bills had not been paid, the goods had not been claimed, and were now being put up for auction.
Maybe these supplies were left over from a loved past-time – or maybe they were supplies that were ‘one day’ projects.
What happens to your supplies once you’ve gone?
There in that one picture I saw someone’s lifetime of sewing supplies and interest. I saw it discarded and sold to the highest bidder. There – I saw myself, and my art and craft supplies kit – and what might happen to it should I downsize, go to a nursing home – or die. At least these valued sewing items were being sold. In many cases – they end up in a skip on their way to landfill.
So how can you do that? How can you cut through your art and craft interests, with your limited time – and focus on what interest you now so you can enjoy them NOW – and to avoid them going to the tip?
How can you find your art and craft niche?
Enjoy them now!
Here’s what you do – you enjoy them now!
You will look at your supplies and work through a process of elimination to choose what to keep. The items left after this process will form your art and craft niche.
It’s a process of elimination
This blog will flesh out the results of your audit from ’12 steps to organise your art and craft supplies’. Also, it will show you how to manage your supplies so that you can use them now. It will show that you can pass the mediums or supplies you no longer need, or no longer interest you to others to value.
This is a process of elimination. Let’s think about what to keep in – and what to take out.
You need to conduct an ‘Emotional vs Practical’ audit of your arts and crafts medium (or interest).
I have developed a template that will help you to undertake an ‘Emotional vs Practical’ audit of your art and craft interests.
Get out the results of your ‘art and craft supplies audit’ and we’ll take the next steps.
If you haven’t completed this audit, read the blog post and use the free Art and Craft Supplies Audit template which you can access from the button below.
1. Look at the results of your arts and crafts supplies audit
You carried out your art and craft supply audit and you know what you have in your stash. Now you need to think about yourself, your age, your emotions, and your abilities. You need to be practical and eliminate those supplies you no longer like or physically use.
Your art and craft supplies audit result may have shown that you have art and craft interests and supplies for which you don’t have space; or which you don’t have time to do – or you are not interested in anymore.
2. Did you find lots of supplies for one medium compared to others?
Did you find a lot of supplies for one art or craft medium in your audit that was way more than the other crafts?
This might be what you love.
Perhaps this indicates your true art and craft interest. When I was wishing to do art and craft full-time in my latter years, I purchased coloured pencils. I loved their colour, their smell, their ease of use, their longevity, and I felt happy and young around them.
They were also easy to use. I could put them away and start using them again quickly. I also wanted to continue to learn to use coloured pencils and bought courses and books that showed me how. It’s where my interest lay at that time. It’s where my interest still lays today.
What else is on the list that you love?
You may find that the next item on your list also reflects your art and craft interest. For me – second to coloured pencils was fabric and fabric painting.
Keep the mediums for which you have lots of supplies for on your list – but only if you love it.
3. Do your supplies reflect a time in your life?
My audit spreadsheet showed that I had arts and crafts supplies that reflected my interests at various stages of my life. I drew and painted, but mainly knitted garments and sewed clothes in my 20’s. I did some painting in my 30’s and 40’s, and then in my 50’s – I purchased drawing, painting and some knitting supplies.
Think about when you bought your supplies, and if they are relevant to you now. If no they are longer relevant to you – eliminate them from your audit list and stash.
4. Do your art and craft supplies still interest you?
On a practical level, as I have aged, I no longer sew my clothes or knit garments – and haven’t done for many years. I don’t have the temperament, time or space to make large items. I know that I won’t pursue that craft medium and I am happy to remove those supplies from my stash.
What supplies no longer interest you? Identify them and eliminate them from your audit list and stash.
Make a list of which art and craft interests you
Your art and craft supplies audit will identify the art and craft mediums which do interest you, and which you can continue to pursue.
Mark the arts and crafts that do interest you. You will keep these items aside and see if they meet other elimination process criteria below.
5. How much time do you have to do your art and craft?
How much time can you find to do your art and craft? Think about your weekly commitments. If you want to pursue your dream you need to find out how to do that in your spare time. You need to consider how much time you have available to commit to your art and craft dream.
Not working doesn’t mean ‘not busy’
While some may think that people who don’t work means they have lots of time to spare, this is not so. Many people who aren’t in the paid workforce have commitments that include studying, caring for children, grandchildren, managing family, looking after ageing parents, taking holidays, home downsizing, community volunteering and taking exercise. Not much time remains after all that.
Be realistic – only keep those art and crafts interests you can do in your allocated time
Do you only have an hour a week to do your art and craft? Can you complete a task – or complete a project in your favoured craft in this time? If not, then you need to consider if that craft is feasible.
Did you identify arts and crafts mediums that will take too long for you to complete, or complete an actionable step in your schedule? If so, then eliminate them from you stash and put them aside. Sell them or gift them to others who will value them just as you do.
Only keep the arts and crafts in which you feel you can accomplish something in your allocated time.
6. How much space did you find to do your art and craft?
In your audit, you identified the amount of available space to do your art and craft. Did you find you have a shelf, as opposed to a room?
Think of other ways to do things
Do you like painting, but don’t have space for a standing easel? If you love painting and want to continue – think about the options that can help you pursue your painting dream in a reduced space? For example, would a desk easel and quick drying medium such as acrylic paint or gouache help you pursue your dream?
Look at the list of your art and craft supplies created in your audit. Which of those will fit into your space? Which won’t? Be practical and remove those that don’t fit. Move them on to others that do have space and who would value them.
Only keep the art and craft mediums and supplies that you can complete in your space. Eliminate those that don’ fit in your space.
7. Do those arts and crafts reflect a time in your life when you had more energy or better eyesight?
Are your art and craft supplies recent purchases, or do they reflect a time when you were interested in using them? Did you buy them when you were younger with energy and good eyesight? Do they still interest you? If not – eliminate them from your stash.
Is it physically difficult to do your art and craft?
When you look at your list of art and craft supplies – are these items that you love but you know are not practical to pursue?
For example, do you have arthritis and find knitting is difficult or painful? Or do you find that hand embroidery is difficult due to weaker eyesight? Do you find that although you may find it difficult to do close work, or to stand up to paint, perhaps this can be overcome with tools? E.g. floor lamp or magnifying glass. Or a desk easel.
If uncomfortable to use – sell, gift or toss
If you are unable to comfortably using your art and craft mediums, remove them from your stash and pass them to others who will value them like you once did.
8. How do you feel when working on an art or craft medium?
Do you get impatient with an art and craft medium? Think about how your feel when you work with your art and craft mediums. Do you have mediums that make you feel frustrated or angry when you use them? If so, then it might be time to pass them on.
Do you have arts and crafts mediums that you could happily work with some time ago, but now find that you feel ill when using them? For example, solvents used in oil-painting can make people feel ill. Are there alternatives to using these solvents or mediums that won’t make you feel ill? If not, then don’t pursue that art and craft medium. Pass them on to others.
10. Safety concerns
Are there supplies in your stash that are not environmentally acceptable? Due to toxicity, some dry pigments and paints should be handled with extra care and with the appropriate safety equipment. Do you have the time and energy to work with these items? Do you know how to care for these items?
If not, then find out how to use them, or pass them to a professional art school or to professional artists who know how to safely handle these supplies.
11. Are they messy?
Look at your audit list of art and craft supplies. Are the mediums messy to work with? Do you want to continue to work with a medium that is difficult to clean up? Will cleaning up after your craft take up most of your allocated art and craft time? If the mediums are messy, and this frustrates you – then don’t continue. Take these supplies aside and sell, gift or donate them to others who will value them.
12. Say goodbye to your previous art and craft loves
If you have considered the alternatives that could help you pursue your art or craft interest, but they don’t suit your needs, then there is little use to continue with those mediums.
If you love an art and craft medium, but can’t pursue it for various reasons, then it should be something you don’t pursue. You can still enjoy these mediums by viewing rather than doing.
13. There are others out there who will love them
In the elimination process steps above, you have reduced your list and identified supplies to sell, gift or toss. You may have loved these items in the past, and kept them to complete – but for whatever reason you haven’t completed them – and know you won’t complete them in the future. Yet you know from doing the steps above that you will not use them.
In this case, you can pass your supplies to others who you know would value them. You can sell them online or at a market place, of you can gift them to someone you know will use them – e.g. a school, women’s shelter or a charity. You could even teach others how to use them.
14. What’s left?
Now that you have undertaken the second step of the art and craft audit – this being the ‘physical vs emotional’ audit – you have identified the arts and crafts interests that you wish to pursue.
Through this elimination process, you have removed those items that do not fit your interest, emotions, ability, space, time, health and safety.
What remains are the interests that will form your art niche.
Your art and craft niche
The items that remain on your list should reflect the art and craft interests that you want to pursue.
These remaining items are the arts and crafts that make your feel happy and pleasant. They are the interests that you can comfortably do with your space and time.
They are the interests that will form your art niche – here and now!
I have developed a template that will help you to undertake an ‘Emotional vs Practical’ audit of your art and craft interests. This template can be accessed for free by clicking the button below.
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