Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Studio Filofax

 Dear Diane,
I cannot believe it has been so long since I posted here. You know there has been illness and a holiday, but really - how can those two events,both of which gave me time away from the day job be an excuse? We were talking about rituals to get us started in creativity and so I have applied one to blogging and am at the very table at which this blog was conceived in Cafe Boc Boc with tea and doughnut, trying to do better!

There has just been a little girl at the ice cream counter whose attitude to life sums up creativity ( and female guile) well. Her father ordered her a single scoop of icecream and told her to choose her flavour.
"Pink Mint"
"The pink is strawberry and the mint is green. Which do you want."
"Pink Mint"
"The mint is green."
"But I do pink." In this she was telling the truth, judging by her pink trainers and pink trousers and pink backpack.
" Don't be silly. Which do you want."
"Pink Mint!"
The father rolled his eyes at the waitress. "Give her a scoop of strawberry."
The girl put her hands on her hips. "With one of green too. I'll mix it up in the pot. Pink Mint."

One thing you mentioned last time was that we should post about our creativity notebooks. Ho, ho! I think when you suggested that, it was before we both rediscovered Filofaxes. (Should I explain to readers how our Inner Eighties- Professional discovered the Philofaxy blog and asscoaited links, burst forth into the shops and how we now both own multiple new beautiful leather binders and spend time on SKYPE discussing leather flexibility, paper inserts and top tabs? Whats that? It makes us look obsessive? Ok. I won't mention that in public then.)

Except to say that part of my illness recovery has been to set up my Cherry Classic A5 Filofax ( bought for a song from Amazon warehouse because the box - but not the product - was damaged) as my studio Filofax. Using it has quickly become just the starting ritual I was looking for. My eagerness and excitement about creative possibilities can at times turn into a stumbling block. Where to start? Where to focus my energies? How to absorb all the information? How to be realistic about what I can achieve in the time available? Applying the business like organised side of my personality to my creative life has turned out to be both fun (in the stationery- nerd sense of the word) and practical.
Want to see where I am so far?

First of all I blinged the cream dividers that came with the Filofax. As my primary source of inspiration is Africa, I stuck in some eyecandy on the front and back of each divider. I am using Ivy stickers which are just the right size for the tabs to label them, rather than the recommended permenent marker, all the better for being able to easily swap their order in the future. The extra tabs are Post It Index tabs (why do they cost so much?!). Tucked in the front pocket are some L shaped pieces for card for use as 'viewfinders' to isolate parts of a picture for design purposes.

Right at the front is my activity section. I find it useful to track how much time I spend on various activities. This is both motivating, given I set a varying weekly target for studio hours and also educational as it help me better estimate how long a task takes and so to plan better for the future in terms of what I can commit to. None of the Filofax diary inserts were perfect for this so I Printed out these monthly sheets and simply use plain paper to record my activities, summing up at the end of the week and transferring total to the diary. I guess once you have worked in a law firm where time recording is king,  the habit never goes away! This sheet is more detailed than usual as I am at home for a full day.

My first tab is Finances. Here I manage my ( generous) monthly budget for quilting supplies and it is also useful for tax purposes to have a detailed record of how much things cost so I can calculate the  profit element of a quilt. I use the preprinted Filofax expense sheets but I am not going to show you the incriminating evidence thereon!!

Next the Learning tab. There are so many techniques in which I am interested but not yet proficient that I can get quite excited-dizzy with the options. So I have set out clearly my ' personal learning plans' i.e a list of goals with realistic target dates. I have top tabs for each section, currently, Photoshop Express, Working in a Series classes, Surface Design and Portrait making. each section has a yellow sheet setting out my goals, the resources, I have or need to acquire and the aimed for completion dates and how I define completion. I also list the steps I need to take to achieve each goal.  Blue pages in each section contain notes.

I have a tab for Calls for entries.I do save full details and entry forms electronically on Evernote, but it is very useful to have a summary here for planning purposes. However, I find it helpful to have a visual overview of the year so I can see entry dates and when quilts are to be delivered ( and therefore finished!). Filofax do make a year planner but there is very little room to write on it so I made these templates myself using Word. I have the same template with the self imposed target dates for my personal learning plan too.
Behind the next tab 'Forms' I keep entry forms and labels for current shows.  Need to buy a top opening envelope insert for this section. The 'Pattern' Tab is for when I write kit patterns for The African Fabric Shop or for magazines and is a space for me to jot down the steps I took making a quilt ready to be turned into coherent instructions.

 'Articles' is a tab with a list if ideas for magazine articles.  The 'Quilts' tab is ironically empty as this is a new set up, but will contain a sheet for each quilt with a photo, and records of size, cost and time to make it, where it has been shown etc. 'Travel' is for quilt show related travel bookings and tickets.

I have an ' Inspiration tab' but that is empty at the moment.Not because I am not currently inspired but because I am using Pinterest and my Cuban Filofax together with a traditional notebook for my current themes. I may use this tab. I may ditch it. Lets see. That's the wonderful thing about a Filofax system - the flexibility. Finally, the 'Website tab' has notes on my website settings and blog topic ideas.  There is nothing behind the alphabetical tabs yet but I intend to use them as catch all area for notes and clippings : G for Galleries, E for El Anatsui and so on.

So, thats the business end of my system. Then comes the Brown Cuban sketchbook Filofax and its companions Chocolate Classic and the traditional notebook. But I think I will save those for another day! Now its your turn to show me yours!


1 comment:

Nancy said...

Very interesting! I like your use of different-colored pages to highlight project outlines. I'm just getting to the point of planning/tracking projects, so examples like this are very helpful.