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CRAFT: Make Space for Crafting

Today we visit the craft space of Ann Martin, known for her beautiful quilling and paper crafts on her blog, All Things Paper. (You may remember Ann’s Quilling 101 on CRAFT earlier this year.) Since paper is such an easy and portable medium, Ann gives us a peek into how she crafts at home.
Read on after the jump for more photos and a Q&A with Ann!


CRAFT: What kinds of crafts do you do?
Ann: Mostly I quill (which is the rolling, folding, and shaping of narrow paper strips to create a design) framed pieces. I also like to make greeting cards and dabble in calligraphy.
CRAFT: Where do you craft?
Ann: I move my work station from room to room, cat-like, always in search of the sunniest spot. Good light is essential, so one of my favorite locations is our porch which has lots of glass. In the winter I quill upstairs near a double window.
Annmartin Craft-Space Drawers
CRAFT: How do you keep all your craft supplies organized?
Ann: I’m probably not the right person to ask about organization when it comes to quilling. There’s no awesome craft room in my house, but I have to say my method works for me. Because quilling requires so few supplies – just paper strips, a quilling tool, tweezers, and glue – there really isn’t a lot to store. Some quillers don’t use a tool, but instead just roll the paper with their fingers – the most portable supply ever!
Annmartin Craft-Space Floor
I stack sheets of paper and other items fairly neatly – ahem – in the corner of one room under a table that has a few drawers for small things. I use the top to display finished work.
Annmartin Craftspace Tangle-1
When a project is finished, I place any leftover paper strips in a box which honestly is quite a tangle, but actually this doesn’t cause a problem despite how shocking it might look.
Quilling strips come packaged as a skein in a plastic sleeve and are attached to one another with adhesive at the top and bottom. They look innocent enough at first, but eventually become a jumble if you’re not careful.
Here are a couple of tips from other quillers about paper strip use and storage (Do as they say, not as I do!):
When opening a new package, cut off the adhesive from one end of the skein and place the skein back in the sleeve. While quilling, reach in and break off one strip at a time. Keep the label that shows the manufacturer and color number inside the sleeve for future reference.
CRAFT: How do you motivate yourself to keep your space organized?
Ann: I don’t like wasting time hunting for supplies, so as long as everything is kept in one location, it’s just a matter of putting my hands on it.
CRAFT: What’s one organization tip/tool/trick you swear by?
Ann: Even though I move my work station around the house, whenever I finish a project I always bring my equipment back to the storage spot. Quilling tools are really small and because my most favorite one can only be purchased overseas, I’m careful to keep track of it.
CRAFT: How do you feel when your space is organized? Unorganized?
Ann: My system might seem the antithesis of organization, but my subconscious seems to enjoy the challenge of creating something beautiful and precise from a bit of a mess! Rifling through the box and pulling out just the exact shade of paper I have in mind reminds me of a treasure hunt. Running a rumpled strip between my fingers a few times straightens it perfectly well for use. 

CRAFT: Describe your dream workspace. Ann: My dream workspace would be a room fitted with lots of cabinets, a big, sunny window overlooking a quaint English village (hey, it’s a dream), a comfortable chair, and a spacious table with room at one end for my computer so I can check mail and listen to Pandora while I work.
CRAFT: How does the way your craft space is organized affect your crafting/creativity?
Ann: I enjoy starting a new project with a tidy craft space and brand new skeins of paper. There’s something so pleasant about a fresh start. Usually I work on a glass-top table as glue can be wiped off easily.
Annmartin Craft-Space Cluttered
It doesn’t take long for the table to become cluttered with little snips of paper, but because everything is relatively contained, it’s never so overwhelming that it affects my creativity. A one inch strip can be useful when quilling, so I save even the tiniest pieces.

CRAFT: How do you organize your craft space to allow for quick pick-up-and-go crafting?
Ann: When teaching, I organize everything ahead of time by packing the essentials in a sturdy box with a lid, count out cards, background papers, strips, non-stick trays for gluing, etc. and then add extras so we don’t run short.
CRAFT: When you have to craft on-the-go (while you’re traveling, in the carpool lane, at family activities) how do you organize your craft supplies?
Ann: I pack a ziplock bag with paper strips, quilling tool, and a fine-tipped glue bottle. When I quill in public, people are usually curious and come up for a closer look which is nice – I love to introduce quilling. After the coils are rolled and shaped, I prefer to assemble a design at home because it’s where I get the neatest result.


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