It's cloudy again. And winter, although we've seen only a light dusting of snow here in Delaware. The rare days of sun, even those days were the sun is out for a five-minute pass-through, these days fill my soul during the interminable grayness of of January and February.
So, I stay inside, reading and writing, and the unending drudgery of unpacking boxes. Usually unpacking means simply "to put away." but in this new apartment I have coalesced 20+ years of living and accumulating in a large house into a 1000 square foot apartment. And what has coalesced into the remaining boxes in the attached garage is purely and simply "art supplies."
The life of an artist is fraught with the overwhelming realization that everything is "art supplies." empty toilet paper rolls? Art supplies. Old earrings? Art supplies. Crumpled tissue paper? Art supplies. You get the idea. My Art Supplies garage runneth over. There's no room for the car, but there is room for more Art Supplies. And the part that whelms me over, is that sorting through all of those are supplies entails handling them, individually, and usually more than once. This takes "Swedish Death Cleaning" in a different direction.
Usually the above-mentioned Swedish Death Cleaning involves making hard decisions about purging possessions that the Heirs definitely do not want, need, or desire. Such as grandmother's china; the silver; crystal; furniture that has been in the family for aeons.
Sorting Art Supplies is much more fun. The question of "does anyone in the family want/need/desire this old brush" is moot. This is now a personal loss of Extreme Magnitude, because I can still USE that brush. Along with 79 other brushes I have collected over the years. Collage papers, printed instructions on making quill pens from goose feathers, trying to decide if dried watercolor tubes can be rescued, sorting water containers, old acrylic mediums, emails about shows -- all of this requires introspection, thought, and more than anything else, decision and letting go.
Now, granted, much of this is just "stuff." Replaceable, duplication, and more-or-less unimportant. Clothing, furniture, kitchen ware, this can be recycled to someone who can use it. Much of Art Supplies is unimportant to anyone else unless they are also artists and creators. And getting rid of, recycling, giving away, re-purposing, donating, call it what you will - being shut of - Art Supplies feels like a denial of one's own Creativity.
It's hard. It's tearful. It sucks. It's necessary. It's drudgery. It's January.