The Book and Mise en Place

It seems pretty easy–the photo shoot is coming up, so I have to ship everything I need to the publisher so I can draw, collage, sew, paint and write my way through a week of photos for the book.

misenplaceIt gets complicated fast. First you decide which projects your are going to show step-by-step, (which you do from an approved outline),  then you make a list of everything you need for those projects, cross out the duplicates, and start packing.  That part is still fairly simple. I learned the process from my husband, who is a chef, and who uses the term “Mise en place,” a lot. It’s French for “things in place” or “get your $h!| together.” Which is what I had to do.

It gets complicated because I am teaching a class at the Anthem (AZ) library tomorrow night. Friday, I am driving down to Tucson to teach Monsoon Papers, which is a project in the book. So there are some items I will have to

  • repurchase
  • take on the plane with me
  • pack and send quickly next week

Since the materials cover a lot of ground–fabric, ink, paint, brushes, thread, iron, watercolor pencils, and about 20 more pounds of things, you don’t just plop them in a box. First I made a giant pile on the floor. Then I sorted them into projects and packed them by project. The ink went into a separate box-within-a-box, lined with paper towels and wrapped in plastic.

When the box was taped shut, I looked around a studio that looked like the vandals (and the Visigoths) had been through it. I won’t be able to do art for another week. It was the first time in a long time I realized how much I shape by identity with my art, and by extension, the tools that make me real.

—Quinn McDonald is writing a book. The writing part is almost over.



6 thoughts on “The Book and Mise en Place

  1. I recognize myself in your blog today. I teach a parenting class a few times each year and have to take everything I “might” need while there, along with dinner for parents and kids, handouts, my notes!, visuals, things for parents to fidget with while I am talking, video equipment etc. It all has to be packed in order or stuff gets ruined or left or never found again. It gets packed much like you described and one by one as it’s completed it goes out to the car. When that class is over it all comes back inside and gets put back “mise en place”. I do this once a week for twelve weeks. It’s the only part of the classes I really don’t enjoy.
    I hope you have it all once you arrive on the other end.

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