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Sep 6, 2023

Make Room for What’s Next

Have you heard of Rent the Chicken? It’s an entrepreneurial venture, an all-inclusive chicken-rental service.

Are you still with me?

This would surely have piqued my interest in my egg decorating days, but what caught my attention about the New Yorker piece (July 3, 2023) was the company’s premise:

[To] Provide a growing number of families in the Hamptons with the chance to enjoy farm-fresh eggs and a pet that can be returned by Labor Day.

For a mere $1200 you can have, delivered to your home, a chicken coop, 2-4 egg-laying-ready hens, plenty of feed and complete instructions on the care and maintenance of the birds, which the company will pick up come early September.

This resonated for me because, over the past year, I “rented” a couple of art forms and am also “returning” them before the new Fall semester.

I wrote about the excellent Color Theory class I took this summer. I wanted a refreshed understanding of how color works. The materials list directed me to purchase acrylic paints, brushes, paper, etc. For over two months, to fulfill the weekly homework assignments, I measured, mixed and painted for about 10 hours a week. I loved every minute of it and learned what I needed to know about its relativity. I have several completed colorful exercises demonstrating these skills.

But is painting with acrylics something I want to continue? If I were still living in my house in Connecticut, I might relegate these supplies to the basement imagining I’d use them again. However, there’s something about turning 75 and living in a NYC apartment that makes prompt decision-making and space-saving essential.

I don’t have unlimited storage, and I do want to focus on my textile art. So off went those purchases. Even though I’d spent over $200 on materials, I boxed them up and gave them away to a grateful aspiring painter.

I’m currently working on a wall hanging that demonstrates my newly acquired understanding of color theory. I’ve arranged my wools by value, grouping the swatches from light to dark. The palest tints I wanted to feature were absent from my collection of felted wool.

I considered purchasing white wool yardage and dyeing those pastels myself. Last summer I learned this skill set and bought the equipment I’d need to accomplish that on my own. I’ve spent only two days since then implementing my know-how. I was thrilled with the results, but those supplies remained untouched, taking up precious real estate in my pantry. I knew I had to “return” that experience as well. 

Through Instagram, I’ve met a wool-dyeing expert who can either send me the colors I need from her inventory or create the desired palette promptly as she did for my current project.

Last week, I took out my step stool and lowered the canning pot, jars, dyes, chemicals, and buckets from the top shelf of my pantry closet and listed the lot on my local Buy Nothing group. Within minutes I had a taker who picked it all up shortly after. 

I’m now happily at work on this wall hanging. With no distractions, no clutter, and, more notably, no guilt, I’ve committed to my Visions Group that it will be completed in two weeks.

When we clear the space – both physically and time-wise – we make room for what’s most important. Right now, that’s a piece of art that is flowing through my fingers. Watch my progress on Insta and/or stay tuned for my October dispatch.

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