Hello, My name is Robyn, and I’m a paper addict.
Recently I decided to undertake the big project of destashing my paper collection. I’ve realized that I am just not using the decorative, art, and vintage papers that I have, like I used to. At least for my artwork, I’ve been choosing my own painted and printed papers more and more instead. I’ve also realized that it’s such a BIG PROJECT because I’ve have had no self control and have never tackled it before so the paper hoard just grew and Grew and GREW! A few people on instagram said that they destash every few months or when their collection STARTS getting out of control. How smart of them (pounding my head against a wall that I didn’t think to do this myself).
My modest and humble paper collection originally started with a little accordion folder and the papers sorted inside. And then there were little ikea shelf of drawers that I had purchased to hold my entire collection, you can see them below my stereo in the picture below. The collection overflowed to the large flat shelves that stores magazines, calendars and old clipart books, and the book shelve in my studio that holds vintage books and old paper sample books. THEN when we moved to our house in 2011 I had something like 5 boxes of random papers that had no place to go, so they just sat on the floor of my studio. Over the years I was able to consolidate and get it down to just 3 boxes, but 3 boxes is still too much. I’d like to get it back down to a what’s on the flat shelves and then in the ikea drawers. Once it starts expanding, then I need to start making cuts again.
A picture of my studio when I first unpacked it in 2011, with the boxes of paper conveniently pushed out of the frame.
As I sort and get rid of paper I’m beginning to wonder if I don’t use any of it because it is just too overwhelming to even look at. I’ve offered paper packs of ephemera in the past. The first couple rounds were awesome and sold out quickly, but the last version I listed years ago, just sat in my shop.
It was distressing me to think of pitching my own paper collection, but I felt like the hoard was closing in on me and I know I work so much better with room to breath. I remembered when I was in college taking some fiber arts classes and the teacher had these boxes of random papers that we could sort through and use however we like. It was great! When I remembered those boxes and bins of paper in college I had the idea that I could just donate MY paper to the art school and I’m sure some college students would be SUPER HAPPY. Even if they are putting it in a blender to make recycled handpulled papers, it is being used, which is more than can be said for it on the floor of my studio.
Sadly, I’m at my end, so I’d really just love to take those boxes straight to the college but I can’t. The biggest problem is that I’ve been sloppy with my paper collection. Interspersed amongst beautiful art and fascinating vintage papers of all kinds are a variety of treasures that should not be donated. I’ve got three ongoing piles, one to donate, one to keep and one to pitch.
So far, I’ve found (I think) 6 Polaroid i-zone pics, and two photobooth strips. I have a whole container for photographs with specific individual bags for polaroids and photobooth strips, so these should not have been amongst the papers, but like I said, I’ve been sloppy.
I’ve found COUNTLESS notes to myself, to-do lists, and grocery lists. As I mentioned in my last post, I used to write and draw on loose, quartered scrap papers all the time, and naturally many of those papers made their way into my stash. I’ve also found receipts, and paystubs, and bills, oi. Above I found a sketch and a letter from a friend.
One thing I wish I had started keeping were all the fortune cookies fortunes. There have been so many and they could have just been taped onto a sketchbook page.
The piles of paper I plan on throwing away sometimes look so beautiful that I have to take a picture. I have a moment where I think I just want to keep it and start making stuff with it. When this happens, I’ve stepped away for a while. BUT THEN I found this box of the teensiest, tiniest, beautiful scraps. Everything is like 3 inches or smaller.
Crazy starts talking to me again and I think, I should start a photograph series documenting the piles because they are so beautiful! The paper may go in the garbage but the photographs are pieces of art on their own.
Ok, I have to admit. This box (the contents of which are in video and many pictures above) has been my brick wall. I might just make room for most of its contents in the Ikea shelf.