Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Needlework, Organization, Reality


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Well, you asked for it. You didn’t ALL ask for it, but some of you did! Remember last week when I mentioned my workroom, where I do most of my needlework?

I received quite a bit of feedback and quite a few questions. I thought I’d show you a “reality” picture – pretty much what things look like at the end of a day.

Needlework Workroom

So this is the picture that seemed to garner a bit of interest. Remember, this was after a clean-up bout.

And here are some of the questions:

Does your workroom always look like that? (Um… no.)

Do you have a clone? (Do you know where I can find one? … for free would be nice.)

Are the insides of all the cabinets as organized? (This is why they have doors.)

Needlework Workroom

Yep. Reality. End of the day. Time to call it quits. At this point, this is when I should have done a little “clean up” before retiring from the room for the day.

This day, the reality was that I snapped the photo, walked out, shut the door, and didn’t look back.

So that’s the myth-buster!

While it would be nice to have a perfectly clean workspace every time I walk into that room, I also know that there are limitations. Not every day is a perfect day. Life gets busy, things get hectic, and disorganization happens. That is reality. I try to take care of a little clean-up and organization every day, but it doesn’t always happen. That is reality. Perfection is often the enemy of the good. It’s true that there’s nothing wrong with striving for perfection, but in reality, we can’t be perfect. Sometimes striving for perfection can cause us to fall short and then get discouraged and quit. Instead, I prefer to strive for good… and sometimes, I fail at that, too. But the point is to keep trying.

And you know, I can live with reality! I like it.

Speaking of reality, it’s going to be a busy week! Among other things, there’s a guest post on flat silk coming up, thanks to Anne Gomes! I think you’ll enjoy it!



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(15) Comments

  1. It’s good to see Your real workroom! Your previous photos of studio seemed to be so empty. You doesn’t have to clean every time. I understand keeping threads, patterns etc. in order, but I don’t understand hiding all the things from the table, during working on them. That’s the point of having workroom, You close the door and leaving Your work 😉
    Have you ever seen “Brodeuses” (“A common thread”)? It’s a story about Claire, pregnant girl, who starting a job as embroiderer at Mrs Melikian. This film is wonderful and very inspiring, and, of course, full of embroidery 😉

  2. Doesn’t look too bad, but then I live and study in my workroom. 🙂 Our need for perfection can really mess up the enjoyment that made us start in the first place, not so?

    And: no. I do not want a clone. ONE of me is messy enough, and we’d constantly fight about whose turn it is to vacuum! ^_^

  3. I just can’t change the picture that I have in my head. I see you sewing in your living room. I can’t quite tell if you have a fire or not or even a fireplace but there is a rose colored overstuffed chair with a small table next to it. That is where you sit when you work. You have a cup of tea on the little table next to you. I think the TV is across from you. Sometimes you have to get out the lights and camera and it’s all too big so you have to slide it out (across your rose colored carpet, of course). Using it on your white sofa. The one that has little rosebud sprays on it. That is my picture that I’ve had for so long I can’t make it fit reality. LOL It’s interesting isn’t it? How we see people the way we want to to be rather than how they really are. Just so you know…My Mary is always sweet tempered and teasing. Never gets out of sorts or cross. She might cry when she needs to but, only for a little while. She never has to be cross with her students either because they love her. A hurt look or, at worst a stern look is enough to make them apologize and repent of their naughty ways. Hope your day really is rose colored!

    1. Hi, all – Thanks for your comments!

      Golly, Heather. I don’t think I should burst your bubble! I sound so nice, who’d want to change the image! 🙂

      Yes, Tessa – that’s exactly it!

      Sylvia – I have heard of the movie, but I haven’t seen it. One of these days, I’ll look it up and indulge! Yes, you’re right – the dedicated work space is just that: somewhere where you can keep your work out!


  4. How sterile. Couldn’t you find a drape or something to put on a window – a needlework piece (I am sure you could find one) or something to put on the wall?

    I would put a comfortable chair somewhere too, but I know some people stitch in straight chairs.

  5. Mary, I agree with Heather – that is how I saw the picture too from your early posts. Other than that, I’m overly impressed with the picture because I can see the floor – which in my case is such a rarity to see!

  6. I did admire your pristine room but to be truthful I like the reality version ever so much better. When I clean my studio so that it looks pristine (well, as pristine as it gets!) I hate to work in it so it gets messed up! If I want to accomplish anything I need to live in reality.

  7. Your end of day shot didn’t look that bad to me, and now I know a bit more of how you get those great close-up shots of your work.

    Sterile? Not to my eye. Compared to my sewing room, I’d say it’s…. “calm” comes to mind. A matter of personal style and taste I suppose.

  8. Mary, what do you call the camera tripod with the “jointed” arm?? I LOVE your set-up for taking photos & this is giving me great ideas! I need to take photos of fabric in the sewing machine at various stages of projects & that is hard to do. But the angled tripod would be a BIG help. I just have a regular upright tripod. Did not know there was another type.

    I guess I’m just too right-brained, but I can’t work in a clean, everything-put-away workspace! I can find everything (well, mostly everything) but it’s all out where I can see it. I do keep many things in plastic bins, trays, etc. so it is organized, but it’s by no means “neat” to most observers! But when I put things away I truly can’t create; it drives me nuts. I’ve got to see and feel everything and often there are items I never planned to use in a project but then something catches my eye, and, oh! it’s a bit of unexpected inspiration. I guess “out of sight, out of mind” and I need to see all the possibilities to be at my most creative. Maybe that’s just me…

    Thanks so much for sharing the photos!

  9. I once heard someone say, “Every act of creation is an act of destruction.” I won’t go cosmic and extend that principle to God, but every time I cut into a perfectly coiled skein of floss, every time I pull apart my own (differently — to say the least — I’m not nearly as neat as you are!) organized sets of materials to think about how to start a project, I feel like I’m destroying something that was orderly and creating a bit of disorder. It’s essential to my working process, though. I can’t work out a design on a computer or use a program to pick colors and fibers for me. I have to touch things. Look at them in different lights. Live with them for awhile. There’s too much time invested in creating something I will be proud of when I’m done to start with materials I don’t feel committed to.

    So, yes, I’ve gotta have a bit of chaos before I can create, too. Cleaning up is what you do when you’re done.

  10. The second picture looks inviting, and stirs up creative juices.I dream of having any type of workroom at all. My workspace is basically some shelves in a corner. I have to sit in my living room to do my stitching.

  11. Hahaha I like the reality a lot better! When things are cluttered and a little messy, you can see that someone’s living and working and enjoying themselves there.

  12. Well, if that’s as messy as it gets, you are doing great! Alas, my studio looks that good when it’s cleaned up and you probably don’t want to know what it looks like right now, nor at its worst!

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